September 2014, Volume 18, Number 3

Features

 

Expanding the Energy Portfolio

With concerns about the world’s dwindling energy resources garnering an increasing share of attention from political leaders and the general public, a devoted group of MDC students is working to inform the community about sustainability issues and help devise solutions to pressing problems.

Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) – a national, collegiate organization – works to focus engineering ingenuity on sustainability challenges. The chapter at Miami Dade College, one of only two in Florida, was founded in 2012.

Efficiency First

William Valverde, the outgoing MDC chapter president who graduated in May, sees energy efficiency as the chief matter to address. “In the end, fossil fuels are just not right for energy generation over the long term. We need to decrease their use and find better ways to incorporate solar and wind power into our energy portfolio.”

Engineers, who are responsible for so much of the country’s infrastructure and means of transportation, stand uniquely posed to catalyze the shift to alternative technologies. “People are often unaware of the potential benefits of creating more sustainably oriented products,” said Valverde.

Smooth Solution

To call attention to these issues, MDC’s ESW members designed and constructed a smoothie cart powered entirely by solar panels on top of the cart. In another walk-the-talk innovation, they built recycling receptacles into the cart’s chassis. The smoothie stand has been a hit across MDC campuses, and the MDC engineering students presented and shared information on the cart earlier this year during the ESW annual conference at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.
For his part, Valverde is delighted that his ESW work at MDC helped him land a full scholarship at the competitive University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he’s studying mechanical engineering this fall.

Planning to share the good work of ESW in Ann Arbor, the MDC grad said, “I’m hoping to start an ESW chapter here at UM right away!”


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