Dr. Peter Weiss, CE, PE, performs research in water and wastewater treatment, surface and ground-water hydrology, and water resources. He has worked in collaboration with the University of Minnesota to further his research. Dr. Weiss has worked to involve students in his research through projects and independent study.
Dr. Doug Tougaw, ECE, PE, enables selected students to design quantum mechanical devices used to perform digital calculations. After designing these devices, students model their behavior using C and MATLAB on Sun workstations. Students gain knowledge of quantum mechanics, numerical methods, and computer architecture from their involvement in this project.
Dr. Robert D. Palumbo, ME, and his undergraduate students are attempting to find a means by which solar energy can play a more significant role in the world economy. Specifically, they are trying to produce fuels with sunlight. The idea is to have solar furnaces located in the sunny regions of the world producing fuels by splitting water to hydrogen, or carbon dioxide to carbon, or zinc oxide to zinc. The hydrogen, carbon, and zinc can all be transported to the population centers to be used as fuels for power production. When these fuels are expended, they produce the oxides that can be recycled to the solar furnaces. The students have been engaged in both experimental and theoretical work.
Experimental work has been conducted at Valparaiso University with a very high temperature electric furnace. Other work is being conducted by a VU student in the CNRS Laboratory in Nancy, France. Students are doing theoretical work in Valparaiso for the Solar Energy Research Group at the Paul Scherrer Institut in Switzerland. This work has been funded by the National Science Foundation Institute in Switzerland, the Franco-American Commission, the Swiss Department of Energy, the Caterpillar Foundation, as well as by Valparaiso University and VU’s Mechanical Engineering Department.
As a result of their efforts, Dr. Palumbo and many of his students have written and published articles, presented their findings at a variety of forums, and attended related conferences with renowned professionals in the field of solar energy.