Halliburton CEO to Address UTEP Audience
April 17, 2015 | UNIVERSITY COMMUNICATIONS
Engineering students and professors at UTEP are making strides to create new technologies that will benefit the environment. From developing new ways to power electrical devices such as computers, cell phones and cars, to building alternative fuel vehicles, they are ahead with the going green initiatives.
Miguel Mendoza, engineering graduate student, is one of the students involved in the development of finding newer alternative fuels.
"Like with trees and paper, we're going to run out of those materials if we keep consuming at this rate of use," Mendoza said. "So we should be concerned and try to be greener and make appropriate use of our materials that will affect the future."
Mendoza is the aiding assistant for professor Yirong Lin, who is leading the project to develop new ways to power electrical devices. They are currently working on nano wires that would strengthen and broaden possibilities in storage and harvesting energy applications.
Lin, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, said progress in the laboratory is showing fundamental and promising results.
Lin is leading a project to develop what is called a structural solar cell. He said an example would be making the entire hood of a car a solar cell, but that another more realistic approach currently in the works is with cell phones.
"For example, this iPhone, I have to charge it every day. Now, what I'm trying to do is I'm trying to create a back cover. Its cover is plastic, but at the same time it's a solar cell," Lin said. "So when you're not using the cell phone, just flip it over so it will start to charge itself and that will extend the battery life of the cell phone."
Besides developing new eco-friendly power alternatives, students are making advancements toward an eco-friendly environment through new technological advancements such as iPads, phones and e-books.
"That's just natural for us to go and look for something to make our lives easier," said Christian Clancy, senior mechanical engineering major. "That's just the new frontier. It's the smaller, faster, more capable technology."
In many community colleges and high schools, professors are using electronic text books, therefore eliminating the need for paper-based test booklets. At UTEP many homework assignments are given via web, a trend among much of the faculty.
"I teach mechanical design and when I'm thinking about homework I'm not going to ask them to turn in paper-based homework anymore," Lin said. "In this website, which does those electronic versions of homework, I will assign that homework online so they do it online. The system automatically grades it."