Dow Sustainability Innovation Award

The Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award (Dow SISCA) recognizes the work of graduate and professional students with innovative ideas and research that encourages and promotes sustainable solutions to the world’s most pressing environmental problems.  Awards are given for projects that align with Dow’s 2025 Sustainability Goals, demonstrate innovative thinking and incorporate disciplinary work.  Winning teams can earn a $10,000 grand prize or a $2,500 runner-up prize.

We are not currently taking applications for Fall 2018. Interested students should consider applying to the Acara Challenge. Further questions can be directed to Fred Rose, rosex122@umn.edu

2017 SISCA Winners:

Low-cost solar concentrating windows using silicon nanocrystals – Ryan Connell (PhD Materials Science) & Samantha Hill (PhD Mechanical Engineering)
“Through novel materials and light-management techniques, we can harvest solar energy on the entirety of a building’s exterior without sacrificing its aesthetics or functionality.”

Pyrite FeS2: A Low-Cost Earth-Abundant Solar Solution for Sustainable Power – Bryan Voigt & Jeff Walter (Both – PhD Materials Science and Engineering)
“Breakthroughs in the development of iron sulfide, or Fool’s Gold, as a low-cost, earth-abundant, non-toxic photovoltaic create new pathways to solar cells and sustainable energy. “

2017 Finalists:

Air Separation by Metal-Catecholates in Metal-Organic Frameworks – Samuel Stoneburner (PhD Chemistry)
“Enabling oxyfuel-enhanced CO2 capture by using computational screening to inform experiment and find materials that can extract pure O2 from air at non-cryogenic temperatures.”

Microporous Nano-Iron Filter for the Rapid Removal and Recovery of Phosphorus from Water – Fatemeh Heidari & John Brockgreitens (Both – PhD Bioproducts and Biosystems Science, Engineering and Management)
“A novel material for the removal, recovery and reuse of phosphorus, the main driver of eutrophication.”

Mobile Air Quality Sensor Network: Measuring Pollution on the Run – Andres Gonzalez (PhD Environmental Engineering)
“The “box” is a portable and an autonomous system that continuously measures and maps local air pollution using a mobile platform (e.g. a transit bus).”

Reclaiming wastewater from local food industries to produce energy and high-value urban crops – Ignasi Riera Vila (Masters Applied Plant Science) & Kuang Zhu (PhD Environmental Engineering)
“An integrated system is developed to combine anaerobic wastewater treatment with urban agriculture to produce high value crops with recovered energy, water, and nutrients.”

Sustainable Electronics for Electronic Skin Applications – Fazel Zare Bidoky (PhD Chemistry), Boxin Tang (PhD Materials Science and Engineering), & Scott P. White (PhD Chemical Engineering).
“This project aims to demonstrate electronic devices made by renewable materials via a sustainable and industrially-scalable solution printing approach with applications in wearable electronics.”

Sustainable Polyester Alternatives to Commercial Plastics – Annabelle Watts & Guilhem De Hoe (Both – PhD Chemistry)
“This project focuses on developing high performance materials (e.g., foams, elastomers, thermoplastics) from a bio-based feedstock; the materials will be compostable, degradable, and recyclable.”

Understanding wind turbine wakes using natural snowfalls: efficient, economic and environmentally benign super large scale study – Teja Dasari (PhD Mechanical Engineering)
“Project focuses on utilizing a novel flow visualization technique to study utility scale wind turbine wakes with a goal to improve wind turbine/farm efficiencies.”

Past Dow SISCA Winners

2016 – Tunable Synthesis of Bio Renewable Oleo-Furan Surfactants – Kristeen Esther Joseph & Saurabh Maduskar (Chemical Engineering and Materials Science)
“Technology that enables tunable synthesis of ‘perfect soap molecules’ from biomass. The product is an efficient, superior and sustainable alternative to commercial detergents.”

2016 – Economical Production of Sustainable Fertilizers from Animal Manure – Xin Zhang (Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering)
“A low cost and sustainable option to produce phosphorus fertilizer which uses electricity to treat animal waste.”

2015 – Sustainable and Recyclable Polyurethane Foams – Alex Mannion (Chemical Engineering & Material Science), Tessie Panthani (Chemical Engineering & Material Science), Debbie Schneiderman (Chemistry), Marie Vanderlaan (Chemistry)
“Using renewable feedstocks, we have developed mechanically tunable, chemically recyclable polyurethane foams and elastomers. These materials are more sustainable than conventional non-degradable petroleum-derived polyurethanes.”

2015 – Precision Techniques for Accurate Microbiome Analysis: Advancing Sustainable Microbial Interventions – Gabriel Al-Ghalith (Biomedical Informatics and Computational Biology)
“Microbial interventions hold the potentials to revolutionize precision agriculture and health care. We are developing algorithms to use microbes as environmental and geochemical sensors.”