2012 Sustainability Innovation Winners

Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge – 2012 Winners

  • Harvesting Heat: Changing Waste Heat into Usable Electricity (Grand Prize Winner)
    Dante DeMeo, Ph.D. Candidate, Electrical and Computer Engineering, School of Engineering
    Corey Shemelya, Ph.D. Candidate, Electrical and Computer Engineering, School of Engineering
  • An Integrative Framework for Foodshed Scenario Modeling (Runner Up Winner)
    Graham R. Jeffries, Master’s Candidate, Agriculture, Food and Environment Program, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy
  • 2011-2012 Honorable Mention

Check out the Dow website: here.

Harvesting Heat: Changing Waste Heat into Usable Electricity

Dante DeMeo
Ph.D. Candidate
Electrical and Computer Engineering, School of Engineering
Corey Shemelya
Ph.D. Candidate
Electrical and Computer Engineering, School of Engineering

This proposal for the Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge is an interdisciplinary effort to develop a long-wavelength thermophotovoltaic energy harvester to convert radiated heat into electricity. This novel device would be able to create usable energy from a variety of waste heat sources ranging from industrial processing such as the glass and steel industry to combustion engines and remote wireless sensors. This device can also increase the potential applications of photovoltaic technology beyond the traditional scope of solar energy to include more constant and reliable sources. Initial results are promising, showing electricity generation from thermal sources at 500°C and below. This thermophotovoltaic research is performed by Dante DeMeo and Corey Shemelya (Ph.D. students in Electrical Engineering at REAP Labs) with a collaborative effort from physicists, material scientists and crystal growth experts at the center for High Tech Materials at the University of New Mexico and Fraunhofer IAF, as well as thermodynamics experts from Tufts Department of Mechanical Engineering.

An Integrative Framework for Foodshed Scenario Modeling

Graham R. Jeffries
Master’s Candidate
Agriculture, Food, and Environment Program, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy

The sustainability of food systems in the U.S. and abroad depends on adaptation to the present and imminent challenges of climate change, energy scarcity, and fulfillment of dietary needs of growing populations. Eating “locally” has adsorbed to popular understanding of sustainable living, but the notion that “local is best” goes largely untested. The relationship between food system scale and sustainability is not well understood. The present project offers a novel geospatial modeling framework for studying food system sustainability as a function of scale through an interdisciplinary systems perspective. Foodshed scenario models enable policymakers capacity of potential re-scaled foodsheds across the coterminous United States. Current efforts have established a modular programming workflow for estimating agricultural production capacity and dietary needs of populations in more than 85,000 unique foodsheds of different scales and locations. Future work enhances production estimates, models distribution systems within re-scaled foodsheds, explores the impact of changing diets, and communicates results through visual media.

2011-2012 Honorable Mention
Gold is the New Green: Driving a Sustainable Economy with Low-content Gold Catalysts

Matthew B. Boucher, Chemical and Biological Engineering
Joseph D. Lessard, Chemical and Biological Engineering
Ioannis Valsamakis, Chemical and Biological Engineering
Branko Zugic, Chemical and Biological Engineering
Timothy J. Lawton, Chemical and Biological Engineering