NSPE Gateway to Industry July/August 2009
In This Issue of PEI e-News...

Biofuel Production and Consumer Product Improvements Highlight Best New Products

Four new products have been recognized for their innovative use of engineering principles and materials, as well as overall benefit to society, by the National Society of Professional Engineers’s Professional Engineers in Industry.

The winners are Algal Turf Scrubber (ATS), developed by HydroMentia Inc. of Ocala, Florida, in the small category; Heated Catalyst System for Control of Cooking Odors, developed by Catalytic Combustion Corp. of Bloomer, Wisconsin, in the medium category; Digital Precise Air Control System (D-PAC) by AAON of Tulsa, Oklahoma. in the large category; and the KOHLER Express Vanity, by Kohler Co. in Kohler, Wisconsin, in the mega category.

The purpose of the NSPE-PEI New Product Award program is to recognize the full range of benefits derived from the research and engineering of new products. These benefits include added employment, economic development, the strengthening of the nation’s competitive position internationally, and a contribution to the public’s standard of living. The awards recognize those companies with the foresight and knowledge to bring these new products, and their benefits, to the marketplace.

The Algal Turf Scrubber (ATS) from HydroMentia is an algal production technology developed commercially as a water treatment system. The system offers unparalleled performance for low-level nutrient pollution control. At the unit, polluted water is pulsed in waves across a sloped floway where the algal turf then grows and removes pollutants such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon from the water. Algal biomass is then harvested from the Algal Turf Scrubber and processed into soil-enhancing compost, livestock feed, and soon biofuel. Regular recovery of the biomass maintains the algae in a state of accelerated growth, thereby providing sustainability. Today, algal biomass is seen as the most probable candidate for large-scale production of biofuels and has the potential to change the way water is treated in the U.S.

The Heated Catalyst Device by Catalytic Combustion Corp. virtually eliminates the odors emitted to a room by a residential oven during the cooking process. A high surface area and low thermal mass catalyst breaks down the complex organic molecules released during the cooking of foods. The catalyst is comprised of a layered metallic foil coated with an aluminum oxide coating impregnated with precious metals. The precious metal selection and total loading were optimized to gain the best possible control of emissions from foods such as fish and meat. Infrared energy from an electric heating element is used to bring the catalyst to its ideal operating temperature, and all internal components are contained in an assembly installed in the exhaust ducting of a residential range or oven.

The Digital Precise Air Control (D-PAC) system from AAON combines a variable capacity scroll compressor, modulating humidity control, and return air bypass in a neatly packaged rooftop unit that controls both temperature and humidity with superior energy efficiency. The system can accurately control the temperature to +/- 1 degree Fahrenheit and the relative humidity to +/- 5 percent. The patented sequence of operation allows the unit to have reduced energy costs when compared to conventional temperature and humidity control systems.

The KOHLER Bathroom Vanities with Express installation system allows the vanity to be partially flat-packed for easier transport and almost effortless assembly. The system quickly and efficiently transforms a compact package into an assembled vanity. A unique hinge design allows the vanity to be reduced significantly in size and efficient packaging enables the piece to fit easily into the trunk of a car, or through a doorway, all while providing retailers with a smaller box that eats up less stocking space and is easier to handle. Assembly is remarkably straightforward, and the vanity assembles quickly without tools. The end result is a striking, sturdy piece that represents design innovation.

New products are judged on three criteria: sales and economic impact, innovative use of engineering principles, and improved function. Entries included any new product, machine, process, or material that has been developed in the U.S. and was first placed on the market between 2003 and 2007. For more information about the New Product Award or to inquire about how to submit a product for the 2010 awards, contact Erin Garcia at egarcia@nspe.org or visit the NSPE Web site.


Renewable Energy Needs Investment to Succeed

A new report from the National Research Council, Electricity From Renewable Resources: Status, Prospects, and Impediments, says that renewable energy resources are on the rise and are abundant enough to meet current American electrical needs, but further investment is required to capitalize on those resources. 

The report emphasizes long-term, consistent policies that encourage development and the adoption of renewable energy. As the use of renewable energy grows steadily, increased manufacturing and installation technologies will be create jobs and economic opportunites.

For the full article, read the July 2009 issue of PE magazine [ return to top ]

Oklahoma Officials Stress Importance of Aeronautical Engineering to Economy

Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission Director Victor Bird is stressing the importance of the aviation repair and maintenance industry and is pushing for increased incentives for aeronautical engineers. With so much of Oklahoma's economy dependent on aviation and aerospace, Bird believes that keeping local airports jet-capable and maintaining air traffic control systems will encourage a continued flow of business opportunities. 

Important legislation was passed in 2008 that offers $5,000 in annual tax credits for five years to engineers who choose to work in the Oklahoma aviation industry. Similarly, employers can earn a tax credit for 50% of the tuition reimbursed to a new engineering graduate for the first four years of employment. Incentives like these are intended to attract and retain engineers and businesses so Oklahoma can avoid falling prey to the economic downturn that has affected so much of the aviation industry across the U.S. 

For the full article, read the July 2009 issue of PE magazine.

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NASA Names College Winners In Supersonic Design Contest

College students from the U.S., Japan, and India researched technology and created concepts for a supersonic passenger jet as part of a competition sponsored by the Fundamental Aeronautics Program in NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate.

The participants were challenged to design a small supersonic airliner and submit a research paper limited to 25 pages. Designs had to be efficient, environmentally friendly, low sonic boom commercial aircraft that could be ready for initial service by 2020.

A team of undergraduates from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, and a team of graduate students from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta tied for first place in the U.S. division. A University of Tokyo undergraduate team won top honors in the non-U.S. category. 

Winning participants received prizes, including up to $5,000, and will be invited to a student forum sponsored by NASA. Students were also eligible for 24 summer internships. Only U.S. citizens may be awarded cash prizes or NASA-funded internships. Non-U.S. teams will receive an engraved trophy. All participants also will receive a NASA certificate. [ return to top ]

Florida Atlantic University Finds Ocean Holds Energy Source

Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Ocean Energy Technology (COET) has deployed Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCPs) moorings in the Atlantic Ocean off the east coast of Florida. The deployment of ADCP will enable researchers to gather baseline information which is needed to characterize in detail the spatial and temporal variability of the Gulf Stream, the most energy dense ocean current, for its potential use as an abundant renewable energy source.

“The deployment of the ADCPs is a major milestone for Florida Atlantic University, and our research and development efforts to utilize energy from the Gulf Stream as a source of renewable energy,” says FAU President Frank T. Brogan. “We are very proud of our researchers at the Center for Ocean Energy Technology, and our academic, industry, and government partners for helping us move closer to providing a better quality of life for Florida’s citizens and beyond.”

As part of the regulatory approval cycle, COET received authorization from the Army Corps of Engineers under a nationwide permit to deploy the ADCPs in the Atlantic Ocean. COET is working together with FAU’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute and industry, government, and academic partners to develop an integrated system approach toward environmental, ecological, resource and power system assessment, and risk avoidance to ensure that all elements related to harnessing open-ocean access energy research and development are addressed and understood. [ return to top ]

Contact the 2009-10 PEI Executive Board Officers

Richard L. Buchanan, P.E.

John Nebbe, P.E.

Curtis A. Beck, P.E.

Immediate Past- President
John M. Wall, P.E., CCS, F.NSPE

Young Engineer Respresentative
Austin Lin, E.I.T.

Northeastern Region
Cullen M. Flanders, P.E.

Southeastern Region
Jorge L. Pardo, P.E., F.NSPE

Central Region

North Central Region
Stephen A. Hutti, P.E.

Southwestern Region
James Mathis, P.E.

Western & Pacific Region
Franklin Fong, P.E.



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