Projects / Research

Sustainable Energy Projects and Research at WPI

At WPI, faculty members and students are engaged in hands-on project activity and cutting-edge applied research across a broad range of disciplines. Both are an integral part of the educational experience and provide the opportunity for students to work on meaningful societal problems, including sustainable energy. There are over 60 undergraduate projects and graduate theses on the topic of energy; a few are highlighted below.

 

Structural Design and Construction of the Solatrium for the Solar Decathlon China Competition

University teams from around the world compete to create net zero energy solar-powered houses for the Solar Decathlon competitions. WPI has partnered with Ghent University in Belgium and New York’s NYU-Poly to form Team BEMANY and will compete with the only home built in the United States in Solar Decathlon China 2013 beginning August 2. Learn more... 

Transformation, Growth, and the Cytoskeleton -- Tools to Study Oil Producing Algae

With the current state of climate change and world peak oil on the horizon, it is important to focus our research efforts on alternative sources of energy. Learn more... 

Retrofitting the Future -- Preserving Native Crops with Sustainable Greenhouse Technology

The goal of this Interactive Qualifying Project was to develop and implement sustainable greenhouse designs to preserve local native crops in Northern New Mexico. Learn more... 

Multi-Wavelength Characterization of Cadmium Telluride Solar Cell -- Development of QEBIC and NSOM Measurement Techniques

Thin-film inorganic solar cells, such as CdTe, have demonstrated the most promise to date for a viable low-cost renewable energy resource. Their current performance, however, is far from the theoretical limit suffering from significant charge recombination losses due to grain boundaries and point defects. Learn more...

Ensuring the Safe Production of Natural Gas

Growing demand for natural gas in the U.S. has led to an increase in hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale region of PA. The goal of this project was to recommend best practices to the U.S. Department of Energy for hydraulic fracturing. First, industry practices for well drilling, cementing, and casing were analyzed. Learn More... 

A Nonlinear Elliptical Problem for Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Cathodes

This Major Qualifying Project considers a nonlinear elliptical steady-state reactiondiffusion-conduction problem for solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs). The existence of a solution is proven by showing the existence of a minimum of an appropriate energy functional, then using the Dirichlet principle to show that the minimum is a solution to the original problem. Learn More...

Worcester City Hall -- Energy Analysis and Building Information Modeling

This project conducted an energy analysis of Worcester City Hall, a historical building constructed in the 19th century. Using Building Information Modeling (BIM) software, this project simulated the current energy consumption of Worcester City Hall and identified ways to potentially improve the energy efficiency of the building. Learn More... 

Feasibility of Converting New York State’s Energy Production to Wind, Water, and Sunlight

The purpose of this report was to examine the feasibility of transitioning New York State’s energy production to a WWS-based system. Learn More...

 
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One of my first jobs is to help the rest of the world, as well as our colleagues here at WPI, learn more about the impressive range of energy-related work that is now going on.

Professor John Orr, Director
Sustainable Energy Project Center