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September 2018   |   Vol. 8, Issue 3


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Message from Department Head Gary R. Sands

It has been a busy, albeit short, summer for our students and faculty, some of whose activities are highlighted in this month’s newsletter. Additional summer activities will appear in the coming months.

We are excited about welcoming our new and returning students to campus, both undergraduate and graduate students! As we begin the new academic year, please note the list of upcoming events this fall, and join us when and where you can.

I would also like to take the opportunity to express my thanks to our donors, alumni, Advisory Council members, friends, and faculty for your generous support of our students. Your financial contributions help establish and support academic scholarships and fellowships, and your many other contributions help provide a better experience for our students—thank you!


Research news

  • Marchetto, Yang participated and presented at the Intelligent Systems and Geosciences workshop
    Group photo of participants at the 2018 Intelligent Systems and Geosciences training workshop
    Professors Peter Marchetto and Ce Yang were invited to the 2018 Intelligent Systems and Geosciences training workshop in Hawaii in early August. Yang was invited as a participant, and Marchetto was invited as a presenter and mentor for sensing systems that they built and deployed during the workshop.

    “Part of the reason to come here, though, was to actually meet up with the people who use the data that comes out of the sort of sensing systems that I build and make certain they understand the trials and tribulations of building stuff for them, and the other way around, so that I can understand what they need from me,” Marchetto said in a recent news article about the workshop.

  • Presentations made in August
    • Ph.D. defense presentation: "Improving Performance Assessment for Technologies of Energy Transition: Emissions, Economics, and Policy Implications" by Mo Li. Advised by Professor Timothy Smith.
    • Ph.D. defense presentation: "Phosphorus Removal and Recovery from Animal Manure by Electrocoagulation and Manure Fertilizer Efficiency Improvement" by Laura (Xin) Zhang. Advised by Professor Bo Hu.
    • Professor Chris Lenhart presented two posters. (1) One was to The Nature Conservancy titled "Decision Support Tool For Selecting Alternative Management Practices in Compliance With the Minnesota Buffer" with Professor David Mulla in the Department of Soil, Water, and Climate. The work was based on a tool developed for the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources with funding from the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA). (2) The second one was to the MCGA titled "Assessing Phosphorus Remediation Potential by Native Plants in Constructed & Restored Wetlands" with Nadia Alsadi, a graduate student in Natural Resources Science and Management and Professor Joe Magner.

Education news

  • UMN Solar Vehicle Project visits BBE
    A smiling female student sits in the driver seat of the 2018 UMN solar vehicle

    The University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project (UMNSVP) came by to show its 2018 solar-electric hybrid vehicle, Eos II, to faculty, students, and staff. We are one of the project's sponsors.

    Eos II has 18 horsepower and a top speed of 70 mph. It has 3,000+ miles per gallon gasoline equivalent and 600+ mile range.

    The UMNSVP team competed in the 2018 American Solar Challenge (ASC) and Formula Sun Grand Prix (FSGP) this summer, racing against solar car teams from around the world. The team placed first in the multi-occupant vehicle class in FSGP where they had to complete a pre-determined number of laps on a track with multiple drivers. They then competed in ASC where they traveled across the country, a test of the vehicle's reliability and endurance. The team placed second after traveling from Omaha, Nebraska to Bend, Oregon.

    The team was also in Australia at the 2017 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. Eos II was 1 of only 5 to finish under its own power, covering more than 1,800 miles.

    See more photos on our Facebook page

  • At the Minnesota State Fair
    a young woman and young man stand and pose behind an exhibiting table at the mn state fair
    Undergraduate student Alyssa Frickson and Researcher Leonard Reynolds stand by our table  in the Agriculture Horticulture Building at the Minnesota State Fair on August 24. We met with many fair goers and showed them some of the projects being done by researchers. The fair runs until September 3.

Student news

  • BBE students present internship experiences at MnTAP
    Two BBE students presented their summer intern work at the 2018 Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) Intern Symposium on August 16. 

    Meghan Pieper researched ways to optimize water use for Aveda Corporation in Blaine, Minnesota. She's pictured giving her presentation. Kyra Newburg worked with several car wash system facilities in Washington County, Minnesota to find best practices to conserve water.

    The MnTAP Intern Program offers junior and senior college students full-time summer opportunities to help a manufacturing or healthcare company make changes to reduce pollution, increase energy efficiency, and save money. Businesses can also apply and develop an internship project with the program.