Renewable Resources To Power A University - A Model For Regional Sustainable Development

EPA Grant Number: SU832490
Title: Renewable Resources To Power A University - A Model For Regional Sustainable Development
Investigators: Steward, Brian , Oliveira, Delly , Ong, Say Kee
Current Investigators: Steward, Brian , Bennett, Albert , Biruel, Juliana , Carneiro, Fernando , Deal, Chris , Delboni, Andre , Haegele, Jason , Hermsdorff, Wathney , Malheiros Alves, Caio Marcos , Martinez, Marisol , Oliveira, Delly , Ong, Say Kee , Ortiz, Sulianet , Peterson, Karl , Vieira, Alberto , Vieira, Rowena , Visser, Evan
Institution: Iowa State University , Federal University of Vicosa
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: I
Project Period: September 1, 2005 through August 31, 2006
Project Amount: $9,960
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2005) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Energy , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainability


Energy is a fundamental need for people, organizations, and society, and in order for sustainable energy systems to be developed, a systems approach that extends across the entire system must be taken. The main goal of this project is for a student team to (1) develop an overall system model for a renewable energy system, and (2) investigate the local economic effects of various factors on this renewable energy system. The model will be applied to the Federal University of Vicosa (UFV), a university community consisting of about 15,000 people located in the city of Vicosa in Minas Gerais State, Brazil.


A systems analysis of the UFV energy system based on a model of current imports, production, consumption, and exports of energy as well as the cost of energy will be performed. In particular, the students will (1) develop an energy balance model of the UFV energy system, (2) analyze energy conversion plants as component of the overall energy balance model, and (3) use biomass growth models to assess impacts of the biomass production systems on the region.

This project will address the issues of people - through interaction with local farmers to produce biorenewable resources to meet energy needs, prosperity - by providing power at a lower cost to the university and creating jobs, and the planet - by reducing CO2 emissions while providing systems level understanding of a renewable energy system that can be generalized to other institutions and regions.

Expected Results:

This project is expected to promote regional development through job creation and become a model of technology integration and sustainable development. Evaluation will be done through economic analyses to estimate the impact of the renewable energy system on UFV and on the sustainability of the farmers in the region. This project will provide understanding and knowledge required to make additional steps to implement an entirely renewable energy system for the UFV campus building on current efforts along these lines. The project will be performed by students in a multidisciplinary sustainable engineering course in collaboration with students from the ISU chapter of Engineers for a Sustainable World. These students will develop systems level thinking skills about sustainability and cultural adaptability competencies through collaborative work with international partners.

Supplemental Keywords:

renewable energy, engineering, modeling, agriculture, integrated resource planning; energy independency; systems approach; biomass, dispersed generation, alcohol, cogeneration, tri-generation, living laboratory, hydroelectricity, Brazil,, Scientific Discipline, INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, Geographic Area, Sustainable Industry/Business, POLLUTION PREVENTION, cleaner production/pollution prevention, Environmental Chemistry, Energy, Chemicals Management, International, Environmental Engineering, energy conservation, Brazil, alternative to petroleum diesel fuel, renewable fuel production, emission controls, energy efficiency, alternative energy source, environmentally benign alternative, biofuel, green chemistry

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report