UW students to design alternative-fuels vehicle for EcoCAR 2 competition

March 1, 2012

The UW campus is seeing more alternative fuel vehicles like the Toyota Prius, the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt. In the lower level of the mechanical engineering building annex, UW students are working on a car that aims to leave them in the dust, from an environmental standpoint.

A team of more than 40 students is competing in the EcoCAR 2 competition, an international contest sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors Co.

A Sustainable Vision

February 6, 2012

With new efforts such as UW Farm, do-it-yourself bike repair stations, and the first-annual sustainability summit sprouting up around campus, the UW is going green. The Campus Sustainability Fund (CSF) is part of the process. But what goes on behind the scenes is a design meant to improve visibility on campus.

The CSF gave Husky Sustainable Storms (HSS) $9,220 to design a stormwater infrastructure project, called a bioswale, by the end of winter quarter, and they expect results.

UW Tacoma’s Joy Building receives highest green-building certification

February 1, 2012

The Green Building Certification Institute has awarded LEED Platinum certification – the highest, most rigorous certification in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design system— to the University of Washington Tacoma’s Russell T. Joy Building.

It's a first for Tacoma and for the University of Washington that a building has achieved the Platinum rating for "new construction/major remodel." It is the second state-funded building to receive this recognition.

Genetically Engineered Stomach Microbe Converts Seaweed into Ethanol

January 19, 2012

Seaweed may well be an ideal plant to turn into biofuel. It grows in much of the two thirds of the planet that is underwater, so it wouldn't crowd out food crops the way corn for ethanol does. Because it draws its own nutrients and water from the sea, it requires no fertilizer or irrigation. Most importantly for would-be biofuel-makers, it contains no lignin—a strong strand of complex sugars that stiffens plant stalks and poses a big obstacle to turning land-based plants such as switchgrass into biofuel.

UW students to design ultra-efficient hybrid powered by biodiesel

January 24, 2012

The engineering students of today will soon be designing the cars of tomorrow. In an effort to draw the best and brightest minds to the automotive field, the U.S. DOE has a long history of sponsoring advanced vehicle design competitions to foster innovation and skill development in the fields of vehicle design and engineering. In fact, the department has sponsored this type of competition for 23 years, during which time approximately 16,500 students have participated, with the vast majority of them finding work in the automotive sector.

Commentary in Nature: Can economy bear what oil prices have in store?

January 26, 2012

Stop wrangling over global warming and instead reduce fossil-fuel use for the sake of the global economy.

That’s the message from two scientists, one from the University of Washington and one from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, who say in the current issue of the journal Nature (Jan. 26) that the economic pain of a flattening oil supply will trump the environment as a reason to curb the use of fossil fuels.

What's Funny About Taxes? Ask the World's First "Stand-Up Economist"

January 25, 2012

Dr. Yoram Bauman is an environmental economist at the University of Washington who has an unusual second career: stand-up comedian. Calling himself “the world’s first stand-up economist,” Bauman spends his spare time performing in comedy clubs, such as Carolines on Broadway, as well as more scholarly venues, such as the American Economic Association.

USDOT awards $3.5 million for UW-based regional transportation center

January 25, 2012

The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded a grant of $3.5 million to a multi-university, regional transportation center led by the University of Washington. The newly established Pacific Northwest Transportation Consortium, or PacTrans, will focus on safe and sustainable transportation in environments ranging from busy urban centers to remote mountainous terrain.

“PacTrans will focus on developing sustainable solutions for the diverse transportation needs of the Pacific Northwest,” said director Yinhai Wang, a UW professor of civil and environmental engineering.