Engineering

People, prosperity, and the planet

People, prosperity, and the planet
P3 Champs: Red shirts are Ross Pimentel '12, left, and Sutyen Zalawadia '12. Standing left to right are: Sandeep Lele '12, Mike Sizemore '12, Sapaan Shah '11, M.S. '13, Jeffrey Schwartz '12, and Aitor Zabalegui '10, M.S. '13. Photo by Charles Barry
by Connie Coutain and Heidi Williams '06 |
A new fuel-cell design brings top honors to student engineers.

Some 1.6 billion people around the world lack access to electricity. So a team of SCU student engineers has come up with a robust, off-the-grid solution that could make a difference, combining solar-and fuel-cell technology. What they came up with—the proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMeFC)—is a design innovative enough to bring top honors from the Environmental Protection Agency’s P3 competition in Washington, D.C., this past April.

SCU students led by senior Michael Sizemore '12 developed “a brand-new clean-energy system designed solely by us,” he says. They competed against 40-odd colleges and universities, earning bragging rights and a $90,000 award from the EPA to help advance their design and move it into the marketplace. The team began its work under the guidance of engineering faculty member Dan Strickland, who was tragically killed in a car accident last fall. Shoba Krishnan, associate professor of electrical engineering, then stepped in to serve as faculty advisor.

Read more about the team in the San Francisco Chronicle.

The team devised a fuel-cell system that generates electricity from hydrogen and oxygen source tanks. Photovoltaic panels provide power for electrolysis, running the fuel cell in reverse to resupply the fuel tanks—and simultaneously to provide power. The plan is to implement the system in SCU’s Solar Decathlon houses and to work with BlueEnergy in Nicaragua to provide rural, off-grid power.

Winter 2014

Table of contents

Features

Rise up, my love

There are the sanctuaries built for worship—and that carry beauty and grace for all to see. Then there are the improvised places of faith, perhaps more subtle in how they speak to the wonder worked there.

The chaplain is in the House

With the way things have gone recently in Congress, looking to the heavens for some help and guidance might seem like a very good idea. In fact, that’s what Pat Conroy, S.J., M.Div. ’83 is there to do.

Welcome to Citizenville

Who published the one book on government in 2013 that conservative firebrand Newt Gingrich told all true believers that they should read? Well, the author is now lieutenant governor of California. Before that, he was mayor of San Francisco. That’s right: It’s Gavin Newsom ’89.

Mission Matters

Goooaal!

Women’s soccer wins the West Coast Conference championship.

Patent trolls, beware

The White House has brought on SCU’s Colleen Chien, a leading expert in patent law, as senior advisor.

A sight of innocence

George Souliotes went to prison for three life sentences after he was convicted of arson and murder. Twenty years later, he’s out—after the Northern California Innocence Project proved he didn’t do it.