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)

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).


Faculty/Staff Team Members

Emily Klein, Nicholas School - Earth & Ocean Sciences*
Josiah Knight, Pratt School - Mechanical Engineering & Material Sciences*

Graduate Team Members

James Burgess, Nicholas School of the Environment
Elena Kazarov, Nicholas School - Master of Environmental Manageme

Undergraduate Team Members

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

* denotes team leader


Completed, Archived