Students win $100K for 3-D printer to turn waste plastic into composting toilets, rainwater harvesting systems

October 25, 2012

A University of Washington team this week claimed top prize in the first 3D4D Challenge, an international contest to use 3-D printing for social benefit in the developing world. The three undergraduates won $100,000 to form a company that will work with partners in Oaxaca, Mexico, to build machines that can transform waste plastic into composting toilets and pieces for rainwater harvesting systems.

Matthew Rogge, a post-baccalaureate mechanical engineering student who presented the project in London, was inspired by years spent working in the Peace Corps.

University of Washington launches research phase of smart grid project

October 24, 2012

The University of Washington marked the start of the data-gathering phase of the UW Smart Grid Project with an event featuring Washington’s two US Senators.

The UW is one of 11 sites in the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project, made possible by an $89 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (supplemented with matching funds) and managed by Battelle. The overall project goals are to identify opportunities to help save energy, make the power system more reliable and incorporate renewable energy into the power generation system. 

Mug handles could help hot plasma give lower-cost, controllable fusion energy

October 11, 2012

Researchers around the world are working on an efficient, reliable way to contain the plasma used in fusion reactors, potentially bringing down the cost of this promising but technically elusive energy source. A new finding from the University of Washington could help contain and stabilize the plasma using as little as 1 percent of the energy required by current methods.