Our focus areas combine discovery (research), learning (teaching), and engagement (service). They include:
• The Village Empowerment Project involves the development of low cost, reliable systems appropriate for use in developing countries and which are sustainable in terms of energy,environmental impact, and economics. Both graduate and undergraduate students develop such systems as parts of service-learning projects in courses and graduate degree theses. The Center has organized two-week trips twice as year since August of 1998.
• Service-learning integrated throughout the College of Engineering SLICE Program. Its goal is to integrate service-learning (S-L) projects into mainstream required courses in the engineering programs so every student has at least one course every semester with a service learning component. Another objective is the recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups in engineering. To date, over half the engineering faculty have incorporated S-L into at least one course. The Center director also is the faculty coordinator for this project.
• The only academic program with graduate degrees in energy engineering (solar) is run in collaboration with the Center. The director of the Center is also the graduate coordinator of that program.
• Applied research and development of fuel cell and electrolyzer thermal modeling; electrolyzer and hydrogen and oxygen storage systems development; fuel cell vehicle hydrogen storage comparisons; complex solar system design tool for reliability; PVthermal collector field testing; solar lantern and LED lamp development; data acquisition systems for remote PV systems; thermoelectric, phase-change vaccine refrigerator development; solar crop dryers; photocatalytic water purification with dye indicator; life cycle environmental impact analysis of PV modules; energy efficient aquaculture;optimal design method for solar water pumping systems; solar autoclaves; in-depth case studies of green buildings; energy implications of scoring systems for green buildings; biogas digesters for cold climates; geopressured-geothermal, solar conversion system to produce potable water; and remote sustainable development.