HomeEducationSustainability Education2019 Sustainability and Energy Expo

2019 Sustainability and Energy Expo

Wow! Another Sustainability and Energy Expo has come and gone already!

This year was another fantastic year filled with thoughtful presentations and amazing ideas for a more sustainable world.

This year there were:

5 Creative Works

7 Poster Presentations


29 Lightning Talks!

With so many great ideas submitted it was hard to pick only a few winners, but alas, we had to.

And the winners are…

Kenna Ryan – “The Little Permaculture Journal”

College of Continuing Education; Inter-college Program: Environmental Science, HECUA and Public Interest Design; Undergraduate Student

Abstract: The Little Permaculture Journal is a hand-drawn, interactive journal that gives the reader the opportunity to reflect on their interactions with the Earth and provides prompts to answer regarding creating steps towards actionable change in their local and global communities. The book is pocket-sized and able to be interacted with on-the-go, where the reader can flip to whatever page speaks most to them in that moment. The journal explores the idea of permaculture design which is a lens to view the world through caring for people, the planet and future generations. The book also explores the idea of transforming our modern rhetoric of sustainability to regeneration- one that encourages true partnership and restoration with the earth through conscious reflection and action. The Little Permaculture Journal is made to be inviting and serve as a reminder to those who have it to work towards ecological resiliency in everyday actions and interactions.

Carlise Sorenson – “Illuminated Septic Tank Design For Onsite Municipal Wastewater Treatment”

College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Sciences; Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering; Graduate Student

Abstract: The conventional anaerobic microbial degradation and treatment of wastewater in septic systems does not adequately address soluble nutrients such as Nitrogen and Phosphorus, which can lead to eutrophication if they reach a body of water. A novel illuminated septic design is being developed that utilizes a poly-culture of algae and bacteria to provide more thorough nutrient removal from municipal wastewater. This design has proved an efficient treatment technology in bench scale tests with a hydraulic retention time of 2.5 days kept at 15 °C. This new technology aims to address nutrient pollution of waterways stemming from household point-source pollution without a need for dramatic infrastructure changes.

Ryan Berglund – ” UMN Solar Vehicle Project”

University of Minnesota – Duluth; Biochemistry and German Studies; Undergraduate Student

Abstract: The UMN Solar Vehicle Project is a group of over 100 undergraduate students who work toward designing and building a new solar car every two years. At the end of each build cycle, we race at the Formula Sun Grand Prix in the US and the World Solar Challenge in Australia. Founded in 1990, the group has built a total of 14 cars and is currently in the process of building the 15th, Freya. We have competed in over 30 race events and have placed in the top 2 for about 15 of those events. One of our recent cars, Daedalus is currently on display at the Works museum in Bloomington. This project promotes the use of solar energy as an efficient power source for cars.

Cole Grotting + Alyssa Minder- “Food Waste Data Collection and Outreach at UMN”

College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Sciences; ESPM — Policy, Planning, Law, & Society; Undergraduate Student

Abstract: Agriculture and in particular animal agriculture are extremely resource intensive industries in terms of its land, water, and carbon footprint. So when we throw uneaten food away, we also waste the water, animal feed, fertilizers and pesticides (water quality issues), carbon emissions, and money that went into growing, processing, and purchasing it. Additionally about 40% of food produced in the U.S is wasted making this an enormous challenge for sustainability. Over the course of the 2018-2019 school year, I have led a food waste data collection, education, and outreach campaign in Superior Dining, our campus dining center. Each month I collect pulped food scraps from the dish room and weigh them to calculate the amount of food waste for that day and do some basic calculations (normalize the total weight by the number of meal swipes.) Additionally, twice a semester we hold a “Food Waste Awareness Day” for Students in Superior Dining providing information on the environmental, economic, and social impacts of food waste and a chance to engage with students around the issue. I will discuss the importance of taking metrics to track progress on sustainability initiatives and engaging with students about ways we can all reduce our footprint through food.

Fletcher Carlson – “Increased Renewable Electricity Generation Using Thermal Energy Storage”

College of Science and Engineering; Mechanical Engineering; Graduate Student

Abstract: Thermal energy storage (TES) coupled with conventional baseload power plants can provide a transformative solution to the mismatches in energy production and demand that occur with the expanding use of solar and wind energy. TES promises to be highly efficient and cost less than other storage options, but the potential benefits are largely untapped due to a poor understanding of how to best interface TES with existing thermal power plants and the lack of design of TES systems. My research seeks to overcome the technical barriers to TES implementation through 1) computational modeling of TES integrated with conventional nuclear, coal and natural gas combined cycle power plants and 2) design and characterization of a novel multiple stage TES system, including selection of storage materials.

Honorable Mentions:

Abigail Knoble – “Educowtion”

Elizabeth Marti – “SUST 1001: An Introduction to Sustainability”

Isabel Atkinson – “Sustainability in the Textile Industry”

Priscilla Trinh – “Static Hydroponics and Salads Keep Food Insecurity at Bay”

Katelyn France – “A Culture of (Environmental) Consciousness: The Impact of Life-Cycle Thinking in Germany’s Culture of Environmental Sustainability”

Joe Murphy – “Dovetailing Sustainability and Community at Duluth Folk School”

Emily Worman & Christina Lundgren – “This Land is Our Land: Conversations on Creating Space, Hope, and Action”

Kyle Legacion – “#NoSenseofPlanet – social media and anthropocentrism”

Samuel Jawer – “Biogas Production and Potential: A Comparison of Biogas in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany and Minnesota”

Thank you to our wonderful coordinators, judges, panelists and participants for making this year’s Expo amazing!

Also a big shout out to our co-organizer the UMN Energy Club. We could not have done it with out you!

And a big thank you to Kerry Wang for providing these photos.

Until Next Year!

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