Sustainability - Saint Louis University is Going Green
May 2, 2012
Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Parks College News
According to the National Academy of Engineers, “Solar energy provides less than 1% of the world’s total energy, but it has the potential to provide much, much more.”
Faculty in the electrical and computer engineering department at Saint Louis University are collaborating across the University to develop solutions for alternative energy sources. One project engineering students and faculty worked on was a solar golf cart, designed to run off energy generated from a solar panel on top of the cart.
Students in the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience at SLU and Roobik Gharabagi, Ph.D., H.S. Mallik, Ph.D. and Kyle Mitchell, Ph.D., of the electrical engineering department were involved in the designing, planning, and initial stages of the solar golf cart at SLU.
Aerospace and mechanical engineering students created the bracket construction and final assembly of the cart. Facilities personnel, including Keith McCune, assistant director of facilities management, were ultimately responsible for wiring the cart.
The Golf Cart idea was a part of a student’s SURE activity related to a grand challenge in engineering – solar energy. Xinnian Zheng worked with Dr. Mitchell, Mallik and Gharabagi to make sure the solar golf cart project was properly assembled for operation and maximum efficiency.
Engineering faculty and students work with SLU’s Center for Sustainability — seeded with a $5 million grant in 2010 from the locally based Alberici Foundation and assisted by a $2 million grant from Thailand’s Banpu Public Co. Ltd. and two Banpu executives who are SLU alumni — has 31 students from around the world.
More than 200 other courses at the University touch on sustainability, from nutrition and dietetics, to engineering, to business.
It’s good for the earth, but good for the bottom line, too. Changing to more energy-efficient lighting methods, using organic fertilizers in flower beds and athletic fields, and moving to comingled recycling might not sound like much, but every effort means dollars saved.