UConn Tech Park

C2E2 Graduate Student Research Summit in Sustainability

grad studentsat IPB sustainability summit

 

grad students at IPB sustainability summitThe Center of Clean Energy Engineering (C2E2) hosted its first C2E2 Graduate Student Research Summit in Sustainability on February 16th and 17th at IPB. Organized by graduate students Alanna Gado and Leila Chebbo, the event featured 30 student presentations covering diverse research topics such as cultivated beef, air filter effectiveness, desalination, desulfurization, space exploration, electrolyzers, fuel cells, and membrane applications.

The summit offered a venue for doctoral candidates to share their ongoing research and engage in discussions about sustainability challenges. Participants had the opportunity to refine their presentation skills and receive feedback from both peers and faculty members. Networking sessions facilitated connections among students and others within the C2E2 community.

grad students at IPB sustainability summit

 

Presentations were evaluated by the audience, with awards given in three categories. Leila Chebbo took first place, followed by Christabel Adjah-Tetteh in second, and Alanna Gado, Hasnain Nisar, Yasmin Bimbatti, and Ben Cohen sharing third place. Additionally, honorable mentions were awarded to Elena Ford, Christopher Hawxhurst, and Hasan Nikkah.

The summit demonstrated the students’ commitment to advancing clean energy technologies and tackling sustainability challenges, and underscores C2E2’s commitment to fostering the development of future researchers and innovators in the field.

 

Student Advisors

    Christabel Adjah-Tetteh Professor Xiao-Dong Zhou, Director of C2E2
    Chemical Engineering
    Yasmin Bimbatti Professor Jeffrey McCutcheon
    Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
    Leila Chebbo Associate Professor Ali Bazzi
    Electrical Computing and Engineering
    Ben Cohen Professor George Bollas &
    Assistant Professor Burcu Beykal
    Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
    Elena Ford Assistant Research Professor Naba Karan
    C2E2
    Alanna Gado Radenka Maric
    President | University of Connecticut
    Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor
    Christopher Hawxhurst Professor Lesli Shor
    Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
    Hasan Nikkah Associate Professor Burcu Beykal
    Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
    Hasnain Nisar Assistant Professor Ali Bazzi
    Electrical Computing and Engineering

     

    Annual Eversource Energy Center Workshop 2024

    Lightning striking power lines.The Annual Eversource Energy Center (EEC) Workshop convened on February 9th at the Innovation Partnership Building and attracted over 80 participants from industry, government, and academia, including top New England utility companies Eversource, Avangrid, ConEdison, and National Grid, alongside others such as PECO (Exelon) and Hydro Quebec. Notable attendees also included ISO-NE, with responsibility for ensuring reliability and overseeing electricity markets across all of New England. Keynote speaker David Howard, Director of Grid Components at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Electricity, addressed the gathering.

    The workshop centered on EEC’s five research pillars, encompassing grid resilience and reliability, renewable energy, cyber-physical system security, and workforce training and outreach. The morning kicked off with presentations from UConn faculty showcasing nineteen ongoing funded projects spanning these topics, sharing progress with industry stakeholders, advisory board members, and colleagues.
    Afternoon breakout groups provided the opportunity for in-depth discussion of the individual projects presented during the morning session. Researchers received valuable feedback on industry priorities and needs, discussed next steps, and shared insights on potential new research and funding opportunities.

    According to Assistant Professor Diego Cerrai, Associate Director for EEC, “This was a fantastic day where we were able to network, reconnect, and exchange ideas.” Assistant Professor Xinxuan Zhang, EEC Center Manager, adds, “The afternoon session I participated in was extremely valuable for informing new ideas for my research. It was very inspiring to see the enthusiasm and engagement of my colleagues and industry partners.”

    This robust framework is central to EEC’s continued success. EEC Center Director and UConn Tech Park Executive Director Emmanouil Anagnostou was delighted with the outcome. “The annual workshop is vital to the Eversource Energy Center’s power grid resilience and clean energy. It continues to build upon ongoing research and provides a critical foundation that enhances our prospects for future federal funding on climate resilience, smart grid, and sustainability as well as collaboration and co-sponsorships with industry.”

     

    Eversource Energy Center Mission Statement and Pillars

    Mission

    To be the foremost energy utility-academia partnership advancing leading-edge interdisciplinary research and technology assuring reliable power during extreme weather and security events.

    Pillars

    To fulfill our mission, our center will focus the new EVERSOURCE-UConn partnership research activities over the next five years under the following five pillars:

    1. Grid Resilience in a Warming Climate
    2. Grid Reliability in a Changing Demand Environment
    3. Renewable Energy Integration
    4. Cyber-Physical System Security
    5. Workforce training, outreach, and policy

     

    About Eversource Energy Center

    The Eversource Energy Center, a partnership between UConn and Eversource utility company, addresses resilience challenges in the energy sector, particularly regarding extreme weather, climate change, and clean power infrastructure. Housed at UConn’s Innovation Partnership Building, the Center leverages university resources to innovate and develop solutions for weather-related risks and security events. Supported by funding from various sources, including utilities, industry, and federal entities, the Center serves as a hub for interdisciplinary research, teaching, and workforce development. Emphasizing both technological advancement and people development, the Center supports student programs and diversity initiatives. EEC is committed to active collaborations driving innovation in storm preparedness, grid resilience, and modernization, inviting further participation in shaping the future grid.

    Ripple Effect: Reverse Osmosis Technology – Implications for Reshaping the Clean Water Landscape

    Amidst the global freshwater crisis, desalination emerges as crucial for meeting the escalating demand for potable and industrial water. Particularly in water-scarce regions, reliance on desalinated water for drinking, cooking and washing continues to grow.

    However, reverse osmosis (RO) technologies that are widely employed by the desalination industry are costly and energy-intensive due to inherent characteristics of the RO membranes currently used in the desalination process. To address these challenges, research efforts are currently underway to develop advanced, more durable RO membranes capable of improving energy-efficiency and reducing cost while withstanding the rigors of the desalination process.

    Grad student loading sample into x-ray tomography machine at IPBIn the recent publication “Characterization of Reverse Osmosis Membranes Under Compaction Utilizing 3D X-ray and 3D FIB Correlative Microscopy”, UConn PhD Graduate Assistant Yara Suleiman and coauthors expand upon their prior research that introduced a novel process for evaluating the performance of RO membranes in water treatment facilities. The innovative approach, utilizing state-of-the-art 3D X-ray and 3D FIB correlative microscopy, offers promising prospects for shaping advancement in membrane technologies that can drive more efficient, less costly desalination, with broader implications for sustainable solutions to the global freshwater crisis.

    Suleiman is a PhD Graduate Assistant at the Reverse Engineering, Fabrication, Inspection and Non-Destructive Analysis (REFINE) lab at the IPB | UConn Tech Park. The article is coauthored with REFINE Center Director Sina Shahbazmohamadi and UCLA’s Professor Eric Hoek and postdoctoral research fellow Jishan Wu.

    Citation: Yara Suleiman, Jishan Wu, Eric M V Hoek, Sina Shahbazmohamadi, Characterization of Reverse Osmosis Membranes Under Compaction Utilizing 3D X-ray and 3D FIB Correlative Microscopy, Microscopy and Microanalysis, Volume 29, Issue Supplement_1, 1 August 2023, Pages 144-145, https://doi.org/10.1093/micmic/ozad067.065

    Celebrating Microscopy

    wasp preserved in amber

    In February, the Innovation Partnership Building at UConn Tech Park unveiled a captivating temporary art exhibit, an extraordinary collection of microscopy images capturing insects preserved in amber, frozen in time. These remarkable images were meticulously captured and curated by talented scientist and artist, Guy Iannuzzi.

    Guests are invited to explore this unique celebration of art and science on the third floor at the Innovation Partnership Building, 159 Discovery Drive, Storrs, CT. On display through summer 2024.

    For questions contact Melanie Noble, melanie.noble@uconn.edu.

    Registration Open for New England Security Day

    UConn will host the New England Security Day on March 15, 2024 at the Innovation Partnership Building | UConn Tech Park. This event showcases cutting-edge research in all areas of cybersecurity from academics and professionals. The audience is a mix of students (undergraduate and graduate) and working researchers. It represents an opportunity to learn about state-of-the-art and recruit phenomenal students from universities across New England. The program committee creating the schedule has participants from Boston University, Brown, UConn, Harvard, UMass, MIT, Northeastern, WPI, and Yale. We encourage attendance and participation from industry. Talks will be accessible to a general audience in cybersecurity so don’t worry if you’re behind on the latest fuzzer, ML methods for intrusion detection, or efficient post-quantum cryptography.

    Please register here. If you would like to be more involved please contact Jessica Guilbeault jessica.guilbeault@uconn.edu and Benjamin Fuller Benjamin.fuller@uconn.edu.

    CBIA BizCast: UConn Tech Park Drives Innovation » CBIA

    “This isn’t just a good resource. It’s an unbelievable resource,” says Mike DiDonato, business development manager at UConn Tech Park – Innovation Partnership Building. DiDonato joined the CBIA BizCast recently to talk about how UConn Tech Park is helping businesses in Connecticut.

    2nd Industrial Workshop on Separations Technology at UConn Tech Park

    The Connecticut Center for Advanced Separations Technology (CCAST) hosted its 2nd Industrial Workshop on Separations Technology at UConn Tech Park on October 5-6th.

    CCAST Center Director Jeff McCutcheon was thrilled with the success of this year’s event and explains that his vision is “for the workshop to become a premier event on industrially relevant separations that features talks from prominent speakers from industry.” The 1 ½ day event drew over 110 registrants from more than 60 companies and featured 16 speakers, 19 panelists, and over 20 poster presenters focused on separations technology innovation, financing, startups, and technology needs across different industries.

    The dynamic workshop was well attended by a range of separations technologies stakeholders, including end users, established providers, start-ups, public/private funding entities, researchers, and experienced industry experts, providing an excellent networking opportunity for guests.

    Speakers and panelists discussed the importance and value propositions for new separations technologies, with a range of topics including challenges that require new separations technologies, business opportunities for new separations technologies, how separation technologies impact industry and businesses, innovations in separation technologies, and perspectives and trends on the separations field that may guide future R&D efforts.

    McCutcheon expressed his thanks to all who helped make the event happen. “This year’s workshop would not have been possible without help from my co-organizer Dr. Shan Yong,” he says. “It really does take a village to run a workshop, and I’m grateful to UConn, CCAST and C2E2 staff, faculty, and students for lending so much support for this event. I greatly appreciate all the panelists, speakers, and company representatives who shared their research and insights at this far-reaching workshop. Special thanks goes to all our sponsors for helping make this a free event for all who attended!”

    The 2023 workshop company sponsors are Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Mott Corporation, and the Athletic Brewing Co. Planning is already underway for the 3rd Industrial Workshop on Separations Technology at UConn Tech Park! Click here to share your agenda suggestions and join the mailing list for the 2024 workshop, or email jeffrey.mccutcheon@uconn.edu

    Connecticut Center for Applied Separations Technologies serves the State of Connecticut, greater New England, and the U.S. by identifying opportunities to implement membrane and other advanced separation technology into various industrial and manufacturing processes in order to lower energy use, reduce carbon footprint, limit waste, and prevent adverse environmental and health impacts.

     

     

     

    New Center at UConn Tech Park Teams Up Nurses and Engineers to Develop Innovative Healthcare Solutions

    Nurse instructing young patient on how to use healthcare device.

    Tech Park is delighted to welcome the recently established Nursing and Engineering Innovation Center, co-directed by Tiffany Kelley, UConn School of Nursing and Leila Daneshmandi, UConn College of Engineering. The new center, one of the first of its kind in the nation, focuses on advancing healthcare and promoting workforce and economic development by fostering interdisciplinary collaborations between nursing and engineering.

    Patient healthcare greatly benefits from and is influenced by new technologies, but implementing new technology effectively can be a challenge. Engineers are expert problem solvers and builders but may lack clinical insights that are essential for application. Nurses, on the other hand, are ground-floor experts for how a product “should” work and often find themselves improvising solutions for technologies that are complex or less practical.

    The Nursing and Engineering Innovation Center aims to bridge this gap by involving nurses and engineers early in the design phase, addressing real-world issues before a product reaches the clinic. User-centered design is a critical first step in overcoming these technology design barriers and holds significant potential to enhance patient care and amplify the impact of healthcare innovations.

    The Center will focus its first two to three years on the creation of seed grants for collaborative research among faculty along with joint educational programs for students through Senior Design, coursework, and fellowship programs.

    The Center recently announced its NursEng Healthcare Innovation Seed Grant and is currently accepting proposals through November 15, 2023, 5:00 pm. This seed grant was established to promote and support interdisciplinary and innovative research, scholarship, and creative collaborations among faculty from the Schools of Nursing and Engineering that will advance innovation in healthcare technology and have strong potential as a foundation for extramural funding for larger-scale innovation and research activities in the future.

    Innovation research, scholarship, and creative collaborations funded by this grant are expected to lead to significant long-term outcomes, such as publications, intellectual property, academic symposia, and future research, scholarship, or collaborations. Click here for more details.

    In another initiative, the Center launched the NursEng Innovation Fellowship in April that teams up nursing and engineering undergraduates and empowers them to tackle unmet needs in equitable healthcare quality and to design innovative healthcare technology solutions.

    Daneshmandi, a seasoned entrepreneur, explains, “this new program is designed to foster creativity, collaboration, and user-driven innovation and entrepreneurial thinking in healthcare.”

    Students are selected for the Fellowship through a proposal process to collaborate as part of an interdisciplinary team to address a healthcare challenge in need of a technological solution. Throughout the academic year, Fellows are trained in user-driven innovation, prototype development, and entrepreneurial skills. Students also benefit from mentoring sessions and access to prototyping centers and receive up to $1750 in seed funding to support prototype development. At the culmination of the Fellowship year, each student team will present their project achievements and upon successful completion of the program, Fellows will receive a certificate of completion. This initiative is currently funded by an awarded Courses and Programs grant from VentureWell.

    The Nursing and Engineering Innovation Center’s longer-term strategy is to expand its scope to create a shared state-of-the-art research and teaching facility, which will require major University, state, federal, or donor investment.

    Kelley is enthusiastic about the potential offered by the new Center, saying, “By partnering our students and workforce in the nursing and engineering fields and advancing their education with the appropriate knowledge, skills, and attitudes toward innovative behaviors and culture, we hold the potential to drive significant positive change in the profession of nursing and health care at large.”

    Visit the Nursing and Engineering Innovation Center web site to learn more about the Center, meet this year’s seven Fellows, and find out about other opportunities at the Nursing and Engineering Innovation Center.

    Tiffany Kelley, Ph.D., MBA, RN-BC, is Visiting Professor and Director of the UConn School of Nursing’s Healthcare Innovation Online Graduate Certificate Program. Leila Daneshmandi, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor in Residence in Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Director of the entrepreneurship Hub (eHub) in the UConn School of Engineering.

    Leveraging Active Machine Learning to Optimize 3D Printing Autonomously

    Prof. Anson Ma demonstrates the machine learning capabilities of the HuskyJet 3D printer at the SHAP3D lab in IPB.
    Prof. Anson Ma demonstrates the machine learning capabilities of the HuskyJet 3D printer at the SHAP3D lab in IPB.

    Inkjet printing has evolved from a graphics and marking technology to a broader variety of additive manufacturing and 3D printing processes for electronic, optical, pharmaceutical, and biological applications. The success of adopting inkjet technology for these newer applications is contingent on whether the ink materials can be consistently and reliably jetted by the print systems. Currently, each printer-and-ink combination requires calibration by trial and error, which consumes a considerable amount of time and materials. IPB researcher, Prof. Anson Ma, Site Director of SHAP3D, teamed up with UConn machine learning expert, Prof. Qian Yang, to demonstrate a new concept of “autonomous 3D printing”, leveraging an active machine learning method they developed to efficiently create a jettability diagram that predicts the best conditions for jetting an ink from a printhead.

    Briefly, a camera is used to image the printhead and capture the behavior of ink jetted from a printhead. Starting with a few randomly chosen conditions, a machine learning algorithm predicts the optimal jetting conditions and then “cleverly decides” on the next set of experiments that can further improve prediction accuracy. After performing those experiments, the algorithm analyzes the newly acquired images, updates the prediction for the desired jetting conditions, and iteratively selects the next experiments, continuing autonomously until a small experimental budget is reached. This approach has achieved a prediction accuracy of more than 95% while considerably reducing the number of experiments required by 80% compared to a typical grid-search approach. This novel approach is especially powerful for optimizing complex print systems with many tunable process parameters.

    This work was recently published in the journal 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing (http://doi.org/10.1089/3dp.2023.0023) and led to a pending patent application (WO 2023/2788542).