2012-2013 Recipients

Sustainable Toxic Gas Use

This proposal funded research done by three graduate students and the Department of Environmental Safety on a more sustainable option for storing toxic gas cylinders.  The researchers assessed chemical fume hoods’ engineering controls’ ability to safely contain simulated toxic gas leaks from compressed gas cylinders.  If compressed gas cylinders, slightly larger than lecture bottles, could be evacuated within a standard chemical fume hood to simulate a significant leak and no containment breach into the laboratory itself occurred, safe utilization inside a chemical fum

Improving Biogas Purification: A Renewable Energy Application for the University of Maryland

On a campus that serves over 40,000 people daily, waste disposal poses both environmental and logistical concerns.  In an effort to reduce campus food waste, students and staff have turned to composting.  However, the composting process produces biogas containing methane, a greenhouse gas that is 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide.  Through a proposed purification process, this biogas can be utilized by the university to further increase energy efficiency and decrease harmful emissions.

QUANTUM SEA- Quantum dot Usage as A New Technique to Unleash Maximum Solar Energy Absorption

It is estimated that the amount of solar energy that bombards the Earth is about ten thousand times the amount of energy that is currently being used globally.  However, a commercial photovoltaic cell can only convert about 15% of the sun’s energy receives.  Team QUANTUM SEA (Quantum dot Usage as A New Technique to Unleash Maximum Solar Energy Absorption) will attempt to increase solar cell efficiency through the use of quantum dots, which are nanocrystal semiconductors whose properties vary based on their size and shape.  

SO GREEN- Suburban Optimization of Green Roof Efficiency and Economic iNquiry

Green roofs, defined as vegetation-covered roof systems, are one vehicle for combating the negative effects of stormwater runoff. These vegetative roofs prevent excess stormwater runoff by retaining water and lowering peak flow rates. They also provide a myriad of other benefits, including reducing the urban heat island effect, offering better insulation, and restoring lost habitats.

Visitor Center Sustainability Outreach

The Visitor Center serves as the front door of the university, welcoming more than 80,000 visitors per year.  Many first impressions of the University of Maryland are formed here.  The goals of the Visitor Center Sustainability Outreach project are to raise awareness of campus sustainability initiatives and educate visitors and students to encourage sustainability practices both on and off campus. 

Kim Engineering Bicycle Parking

Bicycle parking can be hard to find as more students, faculty, and staff choose to commute to campus by bike.  This project assessed the bicycle parking shortage by adding a concentrated bike parking area at the west entrance of the Kim Engineering Building.  Students and Facilities staff were surveyed on the best potential bicycle rack locations; DOTS also consulted with the Fire Marshall. The final spots chosen were:

·  Kim Engineering west side entrance

·  Bldg. #045 left side of entrance

Increased Campus Bicycle Parking

Bicycle parking can be hard to find as more students, faculty, and staff choose to commute to campus by bike.  This project involved adding more bike parking in front of buildings all around campus where bike parking was previously limited during peak times. Student requests, along with Facilities and Fire Marshall involvement, were all weighed when determining locations. The spots chosen were:

·  H. J. Patterson Campus Drive entrance (16 space rack)

·  Van Munching courtyard area (14 space rack)

UMD Apiary

With the support of Dining Services and the guidance of Entomology faculty, an undergraduate student seeks to create a University of Maryland Apiary consisting of 14 hives, including four observation hives.  The Apiary will foster local bee populations and serve as an education tool for all of the campus community.  The apiary hives will be installed on the roofs of the South Campus Diner and 251 North, complimenting the hives already in place on the North Campus Diner.


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