Sustainable Energy Project Center

Energy is undeniably at the heart of civilization, and the sustainability of energy sources has been a major driver of human history. Until recently, sustainability related purely to having enough energy. Now the issue is much more about having energy sources that do not negatively impact the global environment. As a technological university, WPI commits itself to the development of sources of energy and means of energy utilization that will enable a truly sustainable global civilization. This endeavor is complex, involving many forms of energy, including the intelligent use of fossil fuels as well as renewables, and the development of energy conservation solutions and processes. The WPI academic and research enterprise, beginning with the Great Problems Seminars and continuing through leading-edge research projects involving faculty and graduate students, is ideally suited to engagement with these issues.

Promoting Advancements in Sustainable Energy

The Sustainable Energy Project Center will host and support project work in all aspects of energy and across all areas of academic inquiry at WPI. The center will begin its operations on WPI’s campus and will initiate the process of establishing one or more off-campus collaborations with national laboratories and the energy industry. It will act as a comprehensive WPI project center hosting undergraduate and graduate projects related to energy production, usage, and conservation, along with substantial elements of entrepreneurship and commercialization. Similar to WPI’s other project centers, students will have the opportunity to solve real-world problems working in small teams in close collaboration with faculty and external sponsors. The concepts of sustainability, in both traditional and renewable forms of energy, will play important roles in all of the center’s activities.

Learn more about the objectives of the Sustainable Energy Project Center.

This center is a great example of what WPI does so well: bringing faculty and students together around interdisciplinary problems to achieve substantial results.

Professor John Orr, Director
Sustainable Energy Project Center

Meet the Project Center Director

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Sustainable Energy Seminar: Energy from Kites

Wednesday, Oct. 8
Salisbury Labs 104
Prof. David Olinger

Airborne wind energy (AWE) systems are an exciting alternative to wind turbines since the kites can be quickly deployed and can operate at higher altitudes where wind speeds are greater.  Prof. David Olinger will describe work that he and his students have accomplished in designing and implementing kites for the extraction of mechanical and electrical energy in both wind and moving water.  Refreshments will be served.