Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Year in Review: Engineers for a Sustainable World

From solar energy to water waste management, Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) projects are making an impact on our planet. ESW at UC San Diego creates more sustainable, socially and economically responsible communities. ESW at UC San Diego was awarded the National ESW Chapter of the Year Award this past spring and six teams from the organization were selected to present at Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) in April 2016, including Lotus and Solar Chill.

Check out some of the 2016 projects below!


Lotus is a project aimed to clear human waste from rivers and oceans by filtering waste from rivers — all without use of external energy. This waste includes chemical waste, most commonly runoffs from urban areas, and solid waste, such as any items from garbage cans. According to Ayat Amin, a senior computer science student and leader of Lotus, this waste begins in land, moves through rivers and falls into the oceans.

“We rarely think of it this way, but the oceans are the world's biggest natural reserve, but they are quickly becoming the world's landfill,” Amin said.

Within the past two years, Lotus is almost at a fully designed solution; she hopes to design solutions for “frustrating” global problems. “It will never solve the problem entirely, but it's always a step in the right direction,” Amin told the Jacobs School of Engineering.





SIBRE is focusing on developing affordable, safer batteries that are also the most sustainable in the market. Batteries are one of the most economical forms of compact grid energy storage. In particular, the project aims to improve established zinc-based batteries as well as promote newer batteries made from high-density magnesium, aluminum, potassium, and sodium. Ryan Toh, bioengineering senior and leader of the project, notes that the team projects $60/kWh, in comparison to Tesla’s projection of $200/kWh. As the project moves forward, testing of power, capacity, life, and cycle count will take place. In addition, the effects of discharging and recharging on performance will be taken into account. Once batteries have run through the entire recharge cycle count, they will be recycled to make new batteries. Low-cost batteries have the potential to play a large part in future energy storage and rechargeables.


Solar Chill began as a solar charging station that would allow students to recharge their electric batteries while resting on sustainable seating. Structural engineering students Cyrus Jahanian and Ellen Potts were the inspiration for the project as they had seen numerous hammocks in Costa Rica, which were part of the initial design that were eventually removed.

Third year chemical engineer and ESW Outreach and Finance Solar Chill Lead, Cynthia Chan, described her experience on the team as rewarding, especially in having the opportunity to work with individuals from various backgrounds. In addition, progress on Solar Chill has been almost entirely by students.




Learn more about Engineers for a Sustainable World at UC San Diego at https://eswtritons.wordpress.com/

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