October 20, 2015

Cornucopia | Henry ’16 Talks Possibilities For Sustainable Engineering on Cornell Campus

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Cornucopia is a biweekly podcast that covers research stories unfolding across campus. Join hosts Addison Huneycutt ’18 and Ali Jenkins ’18 as they dig into the juiciest discoveries they can find. In each episode, you’ll meet a researcher, chat with Addison and Ali, and hear some corny jokes.

Check out the science section of The Cornell Daily Sun for biweekly updates about the latest episode.

Ali and Addison sat down with the president of Engineers for a Sustainable World, Mark Henry ’16. Henry, a mechanical engineering student, explained that the club consists of the overarching organization, Engineers for a Sustainable World, as well as four project teams. Each of these four teams — Biofuels, Solar Kiosk, Solar Solutions and Renewable Design (SSRD), and Human Powered Electricity Generation (HPEG) — consists of driven students dedicated to their goal of sustainability.

Engineers for a Sustainable World began at Cornell but has spread nationally: “It was actually founded at Cornell in 2002 and now it has grown to over fifty chapters nationally […] it’s a cool organization with large scope,” Henry said.

The SSRD project team originally began as a solar cookers team, creating solar oven models for use in developing nations. Hoping to expand and create a sustainable project model, they have since shifted focus. The team is now creating photovoltaic panels, food driers and solar powered autoclaves. They hope to continue to explore solar technology with future projects.

Within the Human Powered Electricity Generation team, students are working to use exercise equipment to generate electricity. Henry explained that they envision using rowing machines to generate electricity to charge small devices. He also sees the possibility of linking several exercise machines in series in order to collect a larger pool of electricity.

The biofuels team is revisiting a previous project proposal that revolves around agriculture waste, according to Addison, who is also a member. “Other campuses benefit from agriculture but they don’t have it on campus so they can’t use the waste in a productive way like Cornell has the opportunity to,” she explained. “We have all this agricultural waste on campus. Why not take all that and build a really cool center so that we’re using it for research? And why not use some of it to power the school?”

If you are overwhelmed by the number of acronyms in ESW, you are not alone. “We’re into acronyms,” Henry joked. “We may have to come up with a few more.”