Central Michigan University researchers are conducting the following projects in Energy Utilization:
Testing wind power
Tom Rohrer - Environmental Studies; GLISS Director
The institute received a Michigan Department of Energy grant that paved the way for CMU students to conduct research on two different kinds of residential scale wind turbines. The turbines have been installed at Union Township Hall in Mount Pleasant and are the first wind turbines to be placed in the area.
Prior to the turbines being installed, CMU students gathered 20 years worth of wind speed data from airports throughout Michigan to determine if the wind turbines might be effective in mid Michigan and worth the cost of their installation. Currently, the students are taking readings of air speed and combining that with the power generated by the turbines to determine their efficacy.
Improving Lithium-Ion Batteries
Dr. Brad Fahlman - Chemistry
Dr. Veronica Barone - Physics
Dr. Fahlman and Dr. Barone are researching how improvements in the storage capacity of lithium ion batteries--used in everything from cell phones to hybrid automobiles--might be achieved by the use of nano-particles in battery film construction.
Oil and Natural Gas Transportation Systems Project
The ever increasing global demands for crude oil and natural gas has required the creation of a complex transportation network. This network dominated through systems of pipelines and an international tanker shipping fleet has also grown in size. Growth in size and complexity of the oil and natural gas transportation systems carries inherent risks. Risks associated with natural catastrophes, technological failures and human errors. This project analyzes these risks across the multiple sectors of spill prevention, response, and recovery.
CMU Bio-Fueled Co-Generation Facility
Mr. Leroy Barnes - Energy & Utilities, Facilities Management
Mr. Barnes is evaluating the feasibility of expanding Central Michigan University's existing co-generation facility that produces both steam and electric power by using waste wood chips from the local forest products industry for fuel. This expansion would reduce energy costs and is currently a "carbon-neutral" system for generating power.
Energy Saving Projects at CMU
Mr. Michael Walton - Energy Optimization, Facilities Management
Mr. Walton is reviewing all on-campus energy use for ways to achieve energy savings and cost reductions with the goal of reducing the overall carbon footprint of the university by 20% by 2020. A number of projects to improve lighting and ventilation efficiencies have already been implemented and a priority list for future work is being developed based on the time to recapture our return on investment for these improvements.