The Michigan Engineer News Center

CEE grad students win Dow awards

Three CEE Doctoral students receive the Dow Distinguished Awards for Sustainability| Short Read

Doctoral students Derya Ayral, Devki Desai and Emily Herbert are on the Living Building Challenge team, which was one of four teams recently selected to receive Dow Distinguished Awards for Sustainability.

“As part of the Dow Sustainability Fellows program, the Distinguished Awards are intended to spur multidisciplinary collaborations that seek to develop sustainability solutions on local to global scales,” said Don Scavia, director of the Graham Sustainability Institute, which administers the program on behalf of the university.

The Living Building Challenge team is overseeing the retrofit of a 112-year-old house in Ann Arbor so the home will meet parameters of what’s called a “Living Building,” meaning that it is self-sufficient and self-sustaining in energy needs and water resources.

The group is leading the design of a zero-waste portable rainwater harvesting system, with on-site reclamation and treatment. The students are also seeking to qualify the site for certification under the Living Building Challenge by allowing the home to leave a net-zero impact on the site’s water cycle, an undertaking never before attempted on a single-family house.

To learn more about Dow Distinguished Awards for Sustainability, please click here.

Jessica Petras


Jessica Petras
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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

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GG Brown 2105E

The electrons absorb laser light and set up “momentum combs” (the hills) spanning the energy valleys within the material (the red line). When the electrons have an energy allowed by the quantum mechanical structure of the material—and also touch the edge of the valley—they emit light. This is why some teeth of the combs are bright and some are dark. By measuring the emitted light and precisely locating its source, the research mapped out the energy valleys in a 2D crystal of tungsten diselenide. Credit: Markus Borsch, Quantum Science Theory Lab, University of Michigan.

Mapping quantum structures with light to unlock their capabilities

Rather than installing new “2D” semiconductors in devices to see what they can do, this new method puts them through their paces with lasers and light detectors. | Medium Read