Energy and the Environment: Design and Innovation (2014-2015)

To explore the breadth of issues that confront our society in its need for clean, affordable and reliable energy, students worked with faculty as a team on a year-long project to identify, design and prototype a new energy technology, system or approach. Small groups addressed the trade-offs among technological design choices, environmental impacts, economic viability and other issues related to use. The goal of the project was to produce a useful prototype and evaluation of its benefits and viability.

Group projects included an inexpensive, solar-powered autoclave that would sterilize medical instruments; a way to collect flare gas, clean it and turn it into natural gas to power a fleet of FedEx vehicles in the Bakken oil fields region in North Dakota; a novel approach of using methane from flare gas to grow animal food stock; and a solar refrigerator.

The graduating seniors who participated on this project team were able to leverage their experience in their search for employment, with more than 70% accepting a job or graduate study offer related to energy.


Fall 2014 – Spring 2015

Team Outcomes

Driving Renewable Energy Growth Through Effective Public Policy: A Financial and Policy Analysis of Cash Grants, Tax Credits and Pass-Through Tax Structures (MLPs and YieldCos) (Ryan Ross Buxbaum, honors thesis for graduation with distinction in Public Policy)

Solar Hydrogen Production (Danielle Colson, honors thesis for graduation with distinction in Mechanical Engineering)


Victoria Cheng

Dylan Brown

Dylan Brown

Jessica Allen

Jessica Allen

Jessica Allen

This Team in the News

Meet the Members of the Bass Connections Student Advisory Council

Faculty Perspectives: Emily M. Klein

Interdisciplinary Teams Take a Hands-on Approach to Energy Innovations

Creating Value from Flare Gas

Fall Semester Overview of Energy and the Environment: Design and Innovation Solar Autoclave Project

See related teams, Energy and the Environment: Design and Innovation (2015-2016) and Energy and the Environment: Design and Innovation (2016-2017).

Team Leaders

  • Emily Klein, Nicholas School of the Environment-Earth and Climate Sciences
  • Josiah Knight, Pratt School of Engineering-Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science

/graduate Team Members

  • James Burgess, Master of Environmental Management, Energy and Environment, Sustainable Systems Analysis
  • Elena Kazarov, Master of Environmental Management, Environmental Economics/Policy

/undergraduate Team Members

  • John Gitau, Civil Engineering (BSE)
  • Meron Wolde-Tensae, Civil Engineering (BSE)
  • Zachary Wiener, Civil Engineering (BSE)
  • Mehmet Savut, Chemistry (BS)
  • Ryder Quigley, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Philip Press, Mechanical Engineering (BSE)
  • Max Orenstein, Civil Engineering (BSE)
  • Taylor Lane, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Victor Holten, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Garrett Harmsen, Mechanical Engineering (BSE)
  • Jacob Goyne, Environmental Sci/Policy (AB)
  • Jessica Allen, Mechanical Engineering (BSE)
  • Robinson Ford, Mechanical Engineering (BSE)
  • Isa Ferrall, Mechanical Engineering (BSE)
  • Katherine Ernst, Mechanical Engineering (BSE)
  • Duncan Dodson, Environmental Sciences (BS)
  • Samip Desai, Mechanical Engineering (BSE)
  • Danielle Colson, Mechanical Engineering (BSE)
  • Victoria Cheng, Mathematics (BS)
  • Ryan Buxbaum, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Dylan Brown, Economics (BS)
  • Ryan Bartoszek, Biology (BS)