Michigan Engineering News

Engineering Events: Earth Day at 50

Michigan Engineering faculty are hosting teach-ins on a range of Earth Year topics.

3/12 Update: Due to COVID-19, Earth Year Teach-Ins have been canceled. 

Earth Year Teach-Ins

The nation’s first Environmental Teach-In was held at University of Michigan in March 1970. Now, 50 years later, the university is hosting Earth Day 2020: Rise Up for the Environment. Engineering faculty is taking part with seven teach-ins lead by faculty.

Monday, 3/9

The Climate Consequences of Nuclear War

Presenter: Mark Moldwin, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and Associate Chair for Academic Affairs, Professor of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering
Location: CSRB 2238 (North Campus)
Time: 10:30 – noon
Event details:
With the end of the Cold War, fear of nuclear war has receded from the consciousness of much of society. With the Trump administration’s foreign policy (withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear deal, saber-rattling and then negotiations with North Korea, the attack of post-WWII international organizations and alliances, and the recent withdrawal from the Intermediate Nuclear Force agreement with Russia) the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has moved the Doomsday Clock ahead to 100 seconds to midnight – the closest to catastrophe the clock has been since 1953 when the USSR first detonated a hydrogen bomb.

This discussion-based seminar describes the climate and space weather consequences of nuclear war to remind us of the apocalyptic fate of civilization that nuclear weapons can unleash and examines what we can do to reduce this threat.

Financing the Sustainability Enterprise

Presenter: Peter Adriaens, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Location: Michigan Union, 2210BC (2nd floor)
Time:– 4 – 6 p.m.
Event details:
“Sustainability (environmental, social & governance values) is not ‘a thing’ but ‘the way we do things’. It is about mainstreaming sustainability. To communicate this we will be talking about integration of sustainability metrics and values at three levels of implementation:
1. Within the fence of an organization: How are sustainable principles implemented at the unit level?
2. Outside the fence of the organization: How are sustainability principles implemented across supply chains?
3. Conditioning capital investment in sustainability: What is sustainable capital, how is capital deployment impacted by sustainability metrics?

Tuesday, 3/10

Achieving One Water and the Circular Economy

Presenter: Nancy Love, Borchardt and Glysson Collegiate Professor and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Location: Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, Conference Room
Time: 10:00 – noon
Event details:
The One Water concept is the integrated planning and management of finite water resources to meet the long term needs of both society and our ecosystems. As a society we need to not only improve the management of our water resources, we should also explore how valuable resources can be recovered from our water. This teach-in will explore the connections between our drinking water, wastewater, and natural water systems in order to better manage our water resources and recover valuable products. In recent years researchers have focused on recovering valuable products such as fertilizers from our waste streams in order to develop more sustainable products and conserve finite resources. You can expect to learn about the engineered water cycle, how you can reduce your food/water waste, nutrient recycling, and new technologies and approaches to recover valuable resources from our water and wastewater!

Wednesday, 3/11

Climate Change Mitigation Strategies: CO2 Utilization & Sequestration Through Engineering Solutions

Presenter: Brian Ellis, Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Location: Michigan League, Michigan Room (2nd floor)
Time: 8 – 9:30 a.m.
Event details:
Combating climate change is one of the most pressing challenges facing today’s society, and the U.S. National Academy of Engineering has recognized the need to mitigate emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) as one of this century’s grand engineering challenges. Such action is needed to prevent potentially catastrophic shifts in regional temperatures, precipitation patterns, and sea level rise. This teach-in will introduce several emerging opportunities to (1) sequester human-derived CO2 emissions and (2) directly utilize CO2 to create value-added products. Topics will include geologic sequestration of CO2, use of CO2 to produce geothermal energy and store surplus renewable energy in subsurface reservoirs, and direct utilization of CO2 in durable concrete infrastructure products. The presentation will include several hands-on activities to explore these processes and discuss how we can leverage such engineering solutions to slow climate change.

Picking collaboration over fighting: Climate Change & the Natural and the Built Environment

Presenter: Victor Li, James R Rice Distinguished University Professor of Engineering, E Benjamin Wylie Collegiate Professor of Civil Engineering, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Location: Webinar
Time: noon – 2 p.m.
Event details:
The built environment is responsible for over half of all man-made CO2 emissions. In this teach-in, we will explore the impacts of the built environment on climate change, and the impacts of climate change on the built environment. We will learn how various policy, design, and technologies may be deployed to mitigate these impacts. The teach-in will include a combination of presentations and panel interaction with participants. Speakers include Missy Stults, Sustainability and Innovations Manager, City of Ann Arbor; Matt Grocoff, Principal of THRIVE Collaborative; Devki Desai, project engineer in HOK’s structural engineering group in New York City; and Victor Li, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, U-M.

Friday, 3/13

Fastest Path to Zero Carbon Emissions: Building an Exemplar for Deploying Clean Energy

Presenter: Todd Allen, Glenn F and Gladys H Knoll Department Chair of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences and Professor of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences
Location: Cooley G906
Time: 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Event details:
Deploying clean energy is a complex multi-disciplinary task and, to be most successful, requires approaches that combine the best technology, acceptable costs, public policy approaches, and social decisions. The teach-in will:

  • Describe the current state of community acceptance of the deployment of renewable energy in Michigan
  • Describe the national state of the deployment of a new generation of advanced nuclear energy
  • Engage in facilitated conversations about the use of technology for the public good

How the Power Grid Works: Challenges in Integrating More Renewable Energy & Solutions

Presenters: Johanna Mathieu, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, with Ian Hiskens, Vennema Professor of Engineering and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Michael Craig (SEAS)
Location: 3316 EECS
Time:– 10 – noon
Event details:
Electric power grids are facing a number of new challenges due to the integration of nontraditional sources of electricity including wind and solar power, which produce power intermittently instead of on-demand like traditional sources. This teach-in will cover the basics of how electric power grids work and the challenges in integrating renewable energy sources. We will also discuss a variety of proposed solutions to enable very high penetrations of renewable energy.

Media Contact

Cara Gonzalez

Integrated Marketing Manager, Cool Person