Energy and the Environment: Design and Innovation (2018-2019)

This project team, which has been running continuously since 2014, supports student-driven, faculty-mentored projects that confront issues around society’s need for clean, affordable and reliable energy.

Each year, team members identify, design and prototype new energy technologies, systems or approaches. Past teams have focused on the potential of incorporating green building concepts into college dorms; alternative use cases for flywheel energy storage; and renewable microgrids in South Africa. Previous projects have also included a strategy proposal for encouraging growth in the hydrogen economy, a human-powered bicycle to filter urban water systems, electric and solar-powered vehicles, a biogas-powered generator and a green emergency power system.

In 2018-2019, sub-teams focused on projects related to vehicle emissions and storm and wind energy. 

The emissions sub-team created a mobile carpooling application for students who live off campus to help reduce gas emissions. To inform their app design, the team used surveys and collected data about student transportation to and from campus. Team members also consulted with campus stakeholders such as the Office of Sustainability to design and evaluate the app.

The storm energy sub-team developed a prototype for creating in-home renewable energy from storm water to balance storm-related (or other) power loss. The device works by guiding rooftop rainwater from the gutter to a catchment basin, releasing it onto a turbine that charges a battery. The team also evaluated potential markets for the device and the social and environmental impact.

The wind energy sub-team evaluated accessible, inexpensive ways to harness wind power to mitigate the impacts of increasingly severe weather events along the North Carolina coast. The team created a kite prototype designed to capture wind in three spinning concave pockets. Attached to a generator at its base, the kite prototype generated ~700 watt-hours and was collapsible and lightweight. The team tested several small-scale prototypes in the Duke wind tunnel and ultimately inspires to make a full-size model that can be kept suspended by a surf kite.


Fall 2018 – Spring 2019

Team Outputs

DUKEPOOL: Reducing Student Emissions through a Mobile Carpooling App (poster by Aiden Muhr, Audrey McManemin, Francois Chabaneix, Pranav Lakhina, Sofie Alabaster, presented at Bass Connections Showcase, Duke University, April 17, 2019)

Student Transportation Final Presentation

Student Transportation Final Report

Storm Energy: A Solution (poster by John Sittu, Nimisha Pant, Nicholas Saba, Emily Walker, BJ James, presented at Bass Connections Showcase, Duke University, April 17, 2019)

Energy from Storms Final Presentation

Energy from Storms Final Report

Harvesting Wind Energy from Kites (poster by Julia Dworetzky, Uriel Salazar Angelini, Rebecca Schmitt, Meredith Short, Trevyn Toone, Chris Van Buren, presented at Bass Connections Showcase, Duke University, April 17, 2019)

Wind Kite Energy Final Presentation

Wind Kite Energy Final Report

This Team in the News

Here’s How Seniors Do Energy

Meet the Members of the 2018-19 Student Advisory Council

See related teams, Energy and the Environment: Design and Innovation (2019-2020) and Energy and the Environment: Design and Innovation (2017-2018).

Team members testing out a prototype

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

  • Wenjie Zhao, Master of Engineering Mgmt-MEG
  • Pranav Lakhina, Master of Engineering Mgmt-MEG

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Vincent Peng, Biomedical Engineering (BSE)
  • Emily Walker, Civil Engineering (BSE)
  • Peter Van Buren, Electrical & Computer Egr(BSE)
  • Trevyn Toone, Biology (BS)
  • John Sittu, Environmental Sciences (BS)
  • Meredith Short, Mechanical Engineering (BSE)
  • Rebecca Schmitt, Mechanical Engineering (BSE)
  • Uriel Salazar, Mechanical Engineering (BSE)
  • Nicholas Saba, Biology (BS)
  • Sofie Alabaster, Environmental Sci/Policy (AB), Public Policy Studies (AB2)
  • Nimisha Pant, Mechanical Engineering (BSE)
  • Aiden Muhr, Environmental Sci/Policy (AB)
  • Audrey McManemin, Mechanical Engineering (BSE)
  • Prithvir Jhaveri , Computer Science (BS)
  • Henry James, Political Science (AB)
  • Julia Dworetzky, Mechanical Engineering (BSE)
  • Francois Chabaneix, Economics (BS)