Sponsored Research

GIS Faculty Sponsored Research

GIS faculty undertake a wide range of research projects relating to sustainability and the environment for federal, state and corporate sponsors, including the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Transportation, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and Eastman Kodak Company. Funding for GIS faculty projects totals between $2.5M and $3M annually.

Representative awarded sponsored research projects conducted by GIS faculty include:

Energy Systems

Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Development; PI: N. Nasr, Co-PI's: T. Trabold, M. Haselkorn. Abstract: The Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies (CIMS) at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) will continue to test and validate the SOFCs technology and examine all aspects of the SOFC life-cycle to reduce its manufacturing and operating costs, and mitigate its environmental impact. This research program will consist of three main efforts: Research Area 1: Testing and validation of SOFC to demonstrate that they can meet military and commercial specifications. Research Area 2: Development of a pilot facility for prototyping SOFC Assembly/Remanufacturing consistent with service life management models Research Area 3: Development of a Modular SOFC Manufacturing Readiness Demonstration

Third Generation Based Lithium Ion Battery; PI: B. Landi; Co-PI's: S. Hubbard, P. Stiebitz. Abstract: The focus of the program is to develop flight-ready components for a cube-sat application, including carbon nanotube-enabled lithium ion batteries, carbon nanotube wiring, and next-generation solar cells. In addition, there are parallel research and development efforts to advance a 3rd generation lithium ion battery utilizing carbon nanotubes, high voltage cathodes, and high voltage electrolytes. The objective of the program is to develop a suitable high-energy-density battery that exceeds state-of-the-art with appropriate cyclability to meet the sponsor's needs.

High Efficiency Flexible Photovoltaics; PI: S. Hubbard. Abstract: Dr. Seth Hubbard will support Microlink through characterization, measurement and data analysis of Microlink manufactured solar blankets. Specifically, RIT will employ 300 mm solar simulator to test large area solar blankets. In addition, various temperature and spectral content tests will be performed.

Accelerating the Transition of Fuel Cell Systems; PI: N. Nasr; Co-PI's: M. Haselkorn, J. Lee. Abstract: C3R at CIMS at RIT is proposing a program to accelerate the application of fuel cell technology into the Army stationary and mobile units. This program will focus on the critical technological, infrastructure and economic challenges preventing the widespread application of fuel cells including: Fuel Cell Performance, durability and reliability testing, and Manufacturing practices and materials for fuel cell technologies. Existing research and development for fuel cell technologies has primarily focused on discrete components and technical issues required to make this technology 'work' (e.g., membrane contamination, diffusion media, catalyst support, therman insulation, water transport, and scalability of components for manufacture). While individual component testing and research remains important, there is a need for a' systems-level' research approach for fuel cells. This approach will address the critical technological, infrastructure and economic challenges preventing the widespread application of fuel cells into Army mobile and stationary systems.


Smart Systems

Integrated Power for Microsystems; PI: P. Stiebitz; Co-PI's: D. Forbes; S. Hubbard, B. Landi. Abstract: The purpose of this research is to address a critical technology barrier to the deployment of next generation autonomous microsystems - the availability of efficient and reliable power sources. The vast majority of research on microsystems has been directed toward the development and miniaturization of sensors and other devices that enhance their intelligence, physical, and networking capabilities. However, the research into power generating and power storage technologies has not kept pace with this development. This research will leverage the capabilities of RIT's NanoPower Research Laboratories (NPRL) in materials for advanced lithium ion batteries, nanostructured photoviltaics, and hybrid betavoltaics to develop reliable power sources for microsystems.

Automotive Alternator Signature Analysis Development; PI: N. Nasr. Abstract: The Korea Institute of Industrial Technology (KITECH) is interested in developing signature analysis technology for automotive alternators. It is anticipated that this technology would be used for analyzing used alternators to diagnose faults and assess the condition or remaining life of the alternator or its components. This technology could also be used for qualifying remanufactured or rebuilt alternators. Technologies that are currently available for alternator testing are limited to detection of discrete failures in the power generation and conditioning functions. These technologies provide no ability to detect evolving failures (before they occur) or assess remaining life of the components. They also ignore many important failure mechanisms of the alternator.C3R is proposing a three-year joint development program with KITECH to develop advanced signature analysis techniques for automotive alternators. This proposal will outline the tasks for the three year effort, along with the resources that will be required.

Trailer Monitoring Technology Road Map; PI: A. Luccitti; Co-PI's: S. McConky; C. Piggott, M. Thurston. Abstract: The Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies (CIMS) at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), through its affiliation with the RIT Clean Energy Incubator proposes to analyze opportunities available for refrigerated trailer (refeer) system monitoring, Tire Pressure Monitoring (TPM) and Hub Odometer reporting for long haul and regional trucking fleets.


Pollution Prevention

Anaerobic Digestion of Organic Waste Feedstocks; PI: T. Trabold. Abstract: The focus of the proposed research program will be the Phase 2 activity involving experiments to assess the biogas generation potential of representative organic waste materials available in the industrial, commercial and/or farm sectors. These experiments will be conducted at RIT using a TS-AS100 bench-scale anaerobic digester from BioDrill. Phase 2: Conduct experiments to correlate waste properties to the volume and quality of biogas that can be generated.

Encouraging Wet Cleaning as an Alternative to Perc Through Conversions, Demonstrations, and Outreach; PI: A. Williamson. Abstract: This project will prevent pollution at the source by reducing the use of perchloroethylene (perc) in the NYS garment cleaning industry. The New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I) will utilize conversions, demonstrations, and outreach materials to encourage garment cleaners currently using perc to switch to wet cleaning. NYSP2I will document, calculate, report and publicly recognize the environmental outcomes of this project including reduction of perc, energy and water usage.

Acid Whey Waste to Ethanol Process Development; PI: M. Haselkorn. Abstract: The New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I) proposes to continue to work started during the initial LE2 Assessment project and develop and demonstrate a process for converting a 14% acid whey solution into ethanol and obtain theoretical yield of 90 percent.

Alternatives to Waste Conch Shell Disposal; PI: A. Williamson; Co-PI: P. Donohue. Abstract: The New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I) at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) proposes, in partnership with Industrial & Technology Assistance Corp. (ITAC) and Clarkson University, to investigate alternatives to landfilling conch shell waste from a company located in Brooklyn, NY. With ITAC serving as the designated Regional Technology Development Center (RTDC) for the New York City Region, all project coordination will be through ITAC.


Sustainable Manufacturing

3-D Laser Scanning of Heavy Duty Pallet Truck Lift Linkage Components; PI: M. Haselkorn. Abstract: Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies (CIMS) at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) was asked to generate three dimensional models of pivot blacks, bell cranks, wheelforks (trail fork) and pull rod components from heavy duty pallet truck lift linkages from three of the customer's competitors. The customer will use these models to perform finite element analysis on the components. The CIMS will create the three dimensional models for the twelve submitted components using laser scanning technology. The deliverable will be an exportable parasolid with a dimensional tolerance of 0.020 to 0.030 inches for each component submitted and will represent the solid surface of each component. Finally, the parasolid will be able to be imported into the customer's CAD Software.

LE2 Assessment of Cottage Cheese Manufacturing Process; PI: A. Williamson. Abstract: The New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I) at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), proposes to conduct a Lean, Energy and Environment (LE2) assessment for a customer at its manufacturing facility. The facility has a total area of 144,043 sq. ft, of which 79,465 sq. ft. is production space and 64,578 sq. ft. is distribution. 140 personnel work at the facility, which runs a 3 shift operation. The main products are cottage cheese, sour cream and whey. This LE2 assessment is intended to assist the customer with development of a baseline of current operations for both the refrigeration and the waste disposal processes at the facility with a view to identify environmental and material wastes, and any excess energy consumed in its operations. A final report will include an evaluation and ranking of improvement opportunities identified by the project team for both processes. Based on the screening phase of the LE2 project between the customer and the project team, there is a potential opportunity to reduce electricity consumption for the refrigeration process in an innovative manner.

Expanding Industrial Ecology by Applying Community Ecology Principles and Developing Diversity Metrics for Sustainable Product Systems; PI: C. Babbitt. Abstract: This research project will pioneer new metaphors and models for Industrial Ecology based on fundamental principles of community ecology borrowed from biological systems. Specifically, this project investigates how materials and products of environmental importance are structured at the community scale and managed with respect to environmental goals. Test cases initially focus on opportunities for environmental improvement of information and communication technology products.

Market Expansion for Industrial Machinery and Systems and Materials Processing Clusters; PI: N. Nasr. Abstract: In December 2006, CIMS published the Roadmap for the Revitalization for Upstate New York Manufacturing report which identified key drivers of manufacturing competitiveness and the related needs of local manufacturers. These needs include access to 'competitive and market intelligence needed to access new markets.' After careful review and continued interaction with the Industrial Machinery and Systems and Materials Processing Clusters of Upstate New York, it has been determined that many members do not have the know-how to promote and expand their market base. Therefore, CIMS is proposing to use this NYSTAR grant to support these two clusters in better methods of marketing and promotion of their capabilities, leading to market expansion. Due to the vast potential to expand into new markets, the efforts described in this statement of work will focus on assisting companies to properly prepare for and participate in specific industry trade shows.


Resource Recovery

Remanufacturing Feasibility for Hybrid Vehicle Electric Motors; PI: M. Thurston; Co-PI's: M. Haselkorn, R. German. Abstract: The Center for Remanufacturing and Resource Recovery (C3R) at RIT has been approached to discuss the feasibility of remanufacturing the electric drive motor for a hybrid vehicle power train. At this point in time, the goal is to do a feasibility assessment to provide forward guidance for manufacturing planning. This proposal will look, at a very high level, at the economic potential, as well as technical feasibility issues associated with remanufacturing. Approach: The RIT team will review manufacturing and product data provided by the customer and based on that data develop a framework for the feasibility analysis. A list of additional information gaps will be identified based on the initial data provided. The RIT team will then meet with the customer's team at the manufacturing facility to see the product components and the assembly process, and to define a set of agreed-to assumptions to fill any information gaps.

Drivers and Risk for Eco-Friendly Remanufacturing; PI: N. Nasr; Co-PI's: R. German, A. Harlan. Abstract: The objective of this project is to investigate the methodologies, tools, and strategies that result in enhanced product remanufacturability and facilitate long-term product support. Identification of applicable process technologies and technology barriers will greatly impact the economics and feasibility of remanufacturing new automotive modules. RIT would conduct the investigation by teaming with internal GM researchers. At the conclusion of this six month project, the results of the study and analysis will be summarized in a report.

Developing Environmentally Benign Battery Recycling Processes: Characterizing “Green” Leaching Agents; PI's: G. Gaustad, C. Babbitt. Abstract: The research proposed here will fill knowledge and development gaps in sustainable management of emerging lithium ion batteries at end of life. Ongoing efforts to comprehend environmental and economic impacts associated with next-generation battery life-cycles have cited key uncertainties: environmental impacts of recycling technologies, human health risk during end-of-life processing, and the cost-benefit-risk nexus for alternative treatment techniques. Many performance parameters also remain un-quantified, such as recovery yields for new, greener recycling technologies and the related energy and chemical savings potential associated with recovering scarce metals from the waste battery stream. To address these challenges and opportunities, this work will combine fundamental bench-scale technology characterization with a multi-criteria decision tool focused on the replacement of harsh inorganic acids with greener, bio-based options in an environmentally benign battery recycling processes.

Reducing the Burden of Global Materials Manufacture: Enabling Increased Use of Secondary and Renewable Materials in Production Planning; Joint PI's: G. Gaustad, C. Babbitt. Abstract: It is estimated that the total consumption of non-fuel materials in the US exceeds 60 kg per person per day. Furthermore, while per capita consumption in the rest of the world lags the US by nearly an order of magnitude, it is growing at twice the rate. Two strategies that will likely play a key role in moving towards more sustainable patterns of materials use are (1) increasing the efficient use of secondary (recycled) resources and (2) increasing the efficient use of renewable (bio-derived) materials. The benefits of recycling are well documented. Recycling reduces energy use, forestalls depletion of non-renewable resources and avoids the deleterious effects of extraction and winning. Ongoing technological development in renewable-materials production promises similar benefits. There are several significant barriers that limit the increased use of secondary and renewable raw materials. One barrier that is common to the use of both secondary and renewable raw materials is the heightened uncertainty in the quality of these materials, where "quality" is the measure of constitutive material characteristic(s) that govern final product specification(s), such as sulfur content or naphtha/distillate proportions in crude oil or fiber length and density in paper. In many instances, the uncertainty in quality is significantly larger for raw materials derived from secondary or renewable sources than that derived from more traditional resources (i.e., primary or synthetic sources). Conventional batch planning tools, a key means for production planning in process industries, account for this supply uncertainty in a relatively naIve and conservative manner, and thereby undervalue and underutilize raw materials with increased quality uncertainty. The work described in this proposal would provide both a quantitative assessment of the nature and magnitude of raw material quality uncertainty for at least three materials industries - light metals, rubber, and biomaterials - and an analytical characterization of the potential for uncertainty-aware planning models to appropriately value and manage quality uncertainty for a wide variety of industries. Together these contributions will make it possible to increase the usage of secondary and renewable raw materials in production - which has both ecological and economic benefits.



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