On Oct. 16, 2014, at the Northwest Indiana Society of Innovators’ induction ceremony at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Ind., the Valparaiso University College of Engineering Solar Team was awarded the Accelerating Greatness Team award.
Team members included: Joanne and James S. Markiewicz ’72, newly inducted Society of Innovators Fellow Robert Palumbo ’80, Ph.D., Professors Scott Duncan Ph.D., Shahin Nudehi Ph.D., Luke Venstrom ’07, Ph.D., and Daniel Blood ’10, Ph.D., Vic Ritter and the architectural firm Design Organization, and 50 Valpo undergraduate engineering students from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds.
The Solar Team developed the solar furnace in the Markiewicz Solar Energy Research Facility to research methods to use sunlight to produce solar fuels and metals. The facility is innovative, because it houses the only solar furnace in the United States that is dedicated to undergraduate engineering education and research. There are currently only four other solar furnaces in the United States, three at federal facilities and one at a graduate-level university. At these other facilities, the solar furnaces are used by full-time researchers or graduate students.