Category Archives: Sustainability

Female Faculty Share their Stories

They each had a story of how they got here. An early interest in science. The influence of family members or mentors. Even a random selection in an academic catalogue.

But the CSULB female engineering faculty who shared their backgrounds with Society of Women Engineers members all had one thing in common: a passion for research.

Civil engineering Assistant Professor Pitiporn Asvapathanagul’s path included a stint working in her family’s Thai restaurant. She’d earned her undergraduate degree in environmental engineering in Thailand when her family beckoned her to move to the U.S.

Eventually, her desire to return to engineering led her to earn a master’s degree and doctorate from University of California Irvine. At CSULB since 2012, Asvapathanagul is an expert in biological water reclamation. Continue reading

Electrical Engineering Grad Student Wins a Best Paper Award at NAPS

While an undergraduate at UCLA, Edward Sanchez gravitated toward research. His skill recently shone through at the IEEE 2017 North American Power Symposium (NAPS), where he won a Best Paper Award.

The paper, “Model Predictive Energy Scheduling for a Building Microgrid,” details how to design a control system to coordinate the micropower sources and utility grid demand of a proposed building microgrid. The research is part of a $2.5 million California Energy Commission project to turn the Engineering & Computer Science Building into a Smart Building. Continue reading

Programming Sustainable Growth

Computer science isn’t just about sitting around staring at code. In Birgit Penzenstadler’s Sustainability Lab, a group of computer science seniors are using technology to help grow vegetables.

All summer long, Ruben Marin, Marinela Sanchez, Jason Plojo, and Lam Tran have been tending their tomato, basil, lettuce, and carrot plants in a lab in VEC, using an Arduino and moisture sensors to develop water-saving techniques. Continue reading

CECEM Research Project Will Help CSULB Cooling Towers Save Water

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CECEM Assistant Professor Jin Gi Hong has won a $75,557 grant to develop a sustainable wastewater treatment system for the CSULB central plant cooling towers.

Despite recent rains, California’s long-term water future remains uncertain. That makes coming up with new ways to reuse water even more critical.

In the CSULB Civil Engineering and Construction Engineering Management Department, Assistant Professor Jin Gi Hong will be designing a sustainable wastewater treatment system for cooling towers. The system would not only improve the towers’ operational efficiency, but potentially help save the CSU system up to 92,400 gallons of water per day.

With a $75,557 grant from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, Hong and his two student researchers will design an advanced Zero Liquid Discharge wastewater treatment system for the cooling tower in CSULB’s Central Heating and Cooling Plant. The team is partnering with ABR Process Development, an Australia-based process and technology development company. Continue reading

With Renewable Energy Comes Need for Large-scale Battery Storage

A rendering of AES's planned battery storage facility in Los Alamitos

A rendering of AES’s planned battery storage facility in Los Alamitos

Although exploding smartphone batteries have captured public attention lately, utilities around the country are battling an even bigger battery challenge—the need to create storage, said experts at the fall Engineering Distinguished Lecture Thursday.

Increased generation of renewable energy—especially solar—is quickly changing the game for utilities. Previously, nonrenewable energy allowed utilities in the state to better synch power generation with use in keeping with the requirements of the California Independent System Operator, which manages energy flow for 80 percent of California. Continue reading

MAE Students Submit Proposal for Reuse of Shuttered C-17 Plant

Reuse of Shuttered C-17 PlantStudents often attend lectures or solve problems for extra credit, but Dr. Juan Cepeda-Rizo’s MAE 330 Thermodynamics class had an opportunity to do something with more impact—create a proposal for reuse of the shuttered Boeing C-17 production facility.

Cepeda-Rizo, who lives near the former aircraft plant, offered the opportunity at the beginning of the semester at the suggestion of neighbor Patricia Chen. With an interest in sustainable energy, students Mohamad Alkam, Hope Daley, Elyssa Lawrence, and Eric Velazquez immediately stepped forward. Facing a tight deadline of Sept. 12, the students came up with an idea for a solar park for the 160-acre site on Cherry Avenue near the Long Beach Airport. Continue reading