UW students win $100,000 for 3-D printer

October 29, 2012

After taking second place in the Seafair Milk Carton Derby using a printed boat made entirely of milk-jug plastic, the Washington Open Object Fabricators (WOOF) proved that 3-D printing was a budding technology. Now the group has proven its ability on the international level, winning first prize at the 3D4D Challenge in London last week.

The 50-member student group beat out six other finalists for the $100,000 top prize for their plan to use giant 3-D printers to turn create lightweight composting toilets and rainwater catchment equipment from waste plastic.

Groundskeepers concerned about pesticide licensing

October 29, 2012

The UW is a leader in sustainability practices. The university recently received a Salmon-Safe certification from the Network for Business Innovation and Sustainability and is being used as an example of eco-friendly Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Despite this, groundskeepers re-signing contracts this year may be required to be certified for pesticide use. The UW is currently looking at adding this license requirement to the contract.

Puget Sound encyclopedia launches online

October 27, 2012

An encyclopedia specific to the Puget Sound region is now available online to the general public. This encyclopedia is the first if its kind in the area.

The new encyclopedia is compiled by a network of researchers and students. The Puget Sound Institute (PSI) — an agreement among the UW, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Puget Sound Partnership — spearheaded the project. Regional scientists reviewed the encyclopedia to ensure accuracy.

“This is a new way of doing science,” said Lisa Graumlich, dean of the College of the Environment.

Smart Grid Launches At UW

October 25, 2012

The Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project inaugurated its first widespread demonstration project Oct. 24 at Alder hall. The event marked the official beginning of UW’s effort to install a campus-wide smart grid that tracks power output in every building.

Approximately 90 people attended the event, with U.S. Sens. Maria Cantwell, Patty Murray, and UW Provost Ana Mari Cauce among the speakers.

UW plugs in to 'smart grid' regional power use experiment

October 23, 2012

With the help of a device that monitors energy consumption in her dorm room, University of Washington student Simone Schaffer was surprised to discover that her computer monitor is constantly devouring electricity — even when the screen is dark.

But the device that measures power use also allows Schaffer to take command of her energy-slurping monitor. She can shut a suite of electronics down completely with the touch of a button, using either a control panel in her room, or remotely through a cellphone app.

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.