Embry-Riddle students win $75,000 EPA grant

SPECIAL TO THE DAYTONA TIMES

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University students in aerospace, electrical and mechanical engineering have returned to the Daytona Beach Campus as one of seven collegiate teams to win a cash prize of $75,000 in the 11th annual U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s People, Prosperity and the Planet competition (EPA P3), held recently near Washington, D.C.

The team of four students from Embry-Riddle’s Clean Energy Systems Laboratory will use the funding to continue the development of a Diesel Emission Test Stand to research selective catalytic reduction (SCR) exhaust after treatment for hybrid electric-diesel engines.

Last year, the team received a $15,000 award to begin the initial Diesel Emission Test Stand design that led to this year’s award.

Hands-on experience
The EPA’s P3 program challenges college teams to create solutions for a sustainable future, offering a quality hands-on experience that brings science, technology, engineering and math classroom learning to life.

The Embry-Riddle team’s project was one of seven selected from 42 competing teams following two days of judging by a panel of national experts convened by the American Association for the Advancement of Science during the 2015 National Sustainable Design Expo.

The local  team was composed of junior Joe Noto, senior Josh Ferreira and graduate students Athul Radhakrishnan and Ye Sun, advised by Embry-Riddle professors Dr. Sandra Boetcher, Dr. Marc Compere, Dr. Patrick Currier and Dr. Yan Tang.

“This conference was a major stepping stone in our team’s research and we are honored to be involved with the P3 program,” said Noto, an aerospace engineering student. “We will continue to work hard to make a real difference in global emissions with our design. Hybrid electric-diesel engine emissions will be a problem in the future that needs to be addressed. We are actually looking ahead and working on a solution today with our advanced SCR system.”

The work continues
In the last five years, student teams from Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus have received over $315,000 from the EPA P3 competition for the development of a portable solar water purification system (now in commercial production); a solar thermal energy storage device; a solar power cooling system; and this year’s test stand and control system for hybrid electric-diesel engines.

“The Clean Energy Systems track in Mechanical Engineering has gained a lot by working with the EPA’s P3 program,” said Compere, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Embry-Riddle.

“The P3 competition gives our students the opportunity to work with cutting-edge, high-technology issues directly related to an economic approach that results in reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities, and that aims for sustainable development. Our Clean Energy Systems graduates are the next generation of top-quality engineers entering this new green economy. It pays to engineer systems that are both environmentally and economically beneficial.”

The Embry-Riddle team will continue to refine and test their Diesel Emission Test Stand with the help of students from the university’s engineering physics department and GFS Corp., a world leader in natural gas and diesel conversion technology. The intent is to study and improve SCR controls with the ultimate goal of discovering novel improvements in the control system, exhaust flow layout and system operation with hybrid electric vehicles.

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