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Engineers in the mechanical, industrial, manufacturing, and energy systems disciplines play key roles in creating technologies that generate, distribute, store, and consume energy in a clean and efficient manner. Renewable energy and energy sustainability research in MIME addresses the challenges in developing breakthrough concepts, products, and systems that meet the needs of society by considering societal, environmental, and economic/industrial aspects.
School of MIME renewable energy and energy sustainability researchers collaborate with a variety of Oregon State centers and institutes including the O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory, the Microproducts Breakthrough Institute, and Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center. Their work is supported by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, including the Advanced Research Products Agency – Energy and the National Energy Technology Laboratory, the U.S. Department of Defense, the Federal Aviation Agency; state collaboratives such as Oregon BEST (Oregon Built Environment & Sustainable Technologies Center) and ONAMI (Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute) as well as numerous industrial sponsors.
MIME-based renewable energy and energy sustainability research encompasses four thematic areas
Activity in this area is centered on research and development of energy systems for power generation, energy conversion, and cooling applications. These systems can be large with power conversion capabilities greater than 100 kW or small devices that may fit in the palm of a hand. Many of the projects have renewable and sustainable aspects, with ongoing research in wave and solar energy conversion, and heat recovery with power generation.
Research in energy and sustainability requires an understanding of phenomena at the fundamental level where both energy transport and energy conversion take place, e.g., microchannel heat transfer. Faculty in this thematic area use fundamental modeling and bench top experimental approaches to develop a deeper understanding of how processes occur in energy related devices and sub-systems.
Materials research centers on enabling revolutionary advances in generating energy, converting waste energy into useful energy, and enhancing overall energy efficiency of engineering applications. Research in this area is also investigating approaches to produce energy devices, e.g., photovoltaic films and microscale heat exchangers. Much of this work has ties to the national laboratory network.
Sustainability requires an understanding of societal, economic, and environmental impacts, such that material extraction/processing, manufacturing, use, and retirement of products, processes, and systems will not diminish quality of life for the individuals and societies. Research includes the investigation of manufactured products and manufacturing/organizational processes and systems for elimination of waste and minimization of materials and energy use.