An interdisciplinary team of undergraduate and graduate UT College of Engineering students traveled to Washington, DC, on April 15-17 to compete with fifty-five teams from across the U.S. at the EPA’s National Sustainable Design Expo held on the National Mall.
The National Sustainable Design Expo brings together professional scientists, engineers, and business leaders to view innovations designed to advance economic growth while reducing environmental impact. The researchers’ work was also a contender in the Environmental Protection Agency’s People, Prosperity, and the Planet (P3) award competition, which was part of the expo and offered winnings up to $75,000.
The project started with a small grant from the US EPA to conduct a design study of personal transportation options for lowering the environmental footprint of commuting to work. The scope of the project was further extended through funding from the UT Student Environmental Fee Fund and cost sharing from the UT Office of Research.
There were eleven UT College of Engineering students who attended, along with one of the faculty advisers, Paul Frymier, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering.
Starting with a commercially available chassis and body kit, the students built a small, one-person electric vehicle for commuting up to thirty miles round trip and also designed a fuel cell version of the vehicle. They road-tested the battery electric version of the vehicle on a closed circuit for two weeks and then performed a sustainability analysis of the two small vehicles, comparing them to two other commuting options: a Toyota Camry and a two-person Smart Car for their environmental, social, and economic impacts and benefits.
There were fifty-five university teams from all over the U.S. competing for additional funding to extend their projects. The team earned an honorable mention award at the competition.
For more information, visit the EPA P3 program website.
To view a composite video which features the team at the Expo along with others, visit http://www.epa.gov/ncer/events/news/2011/04_18_11_feature.html.
Student team members include Theodore Ansink, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Matthew Atchley, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Virginia Browning, Civil and Environmental Engineering; Yue Cao, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Michelle Everett, Materials Science and Engineering; James Hall, Jr., Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering; Ray Henson, Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering; Eugene Ng, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Michael Pickelsimer, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Justin Ridenour, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering; Scott Teeters, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering; and James Wilson, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
Faculty advisors include Paul Frymier, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering; David Irick, Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering; Leon Tolbert, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Chris Cherry, Civil and Environmental Engineering; and Robert Counce, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.