497-101: Energy & Environmental Innovation: Toward a Sustainable, Resilient & Secure Future

Meeting Day/Time
Fridays 10:00 am to 12:40 pm
Staff, TBD
Appropriate Majors
All interested students are welcome.

The Energy & Environment Workshop will be comprised of up to 100 students organized as approximately 20 interdisciplinary teams. The E&E Workshop teams will be coordinated by a team of faculty members with complementary expertise in innovation methods to guide the semester process and energy and sustainability expertise that may span architecture, engineering, science (including data science), business and law.

Project challenge topics within the E&E Workshop may be proposed by a sponsoring organization such as Sargent & Lundy LLC, research or part-time faculty with industry experience, and student teams themselves. For example, the fall 2019 semester offers the following team project possibilities:

Decision Making Intelligence

  • Data mining related to developing business cases, understanding regulatory trends, tapping/aggregating data streams from smart meters
  • Digital design, including applications of building information modeling (BIM) to support the design-build-maintain cycle, enable portability and fidelity on mobile platforms, etc.
  • Virtual engagement to enable seamless collaboration
  • Augmented design process for solar design, e.g., design tools, job site visualization
  • Artificial intelligence, Internet of Things applications, computer modeling of power plants
  • Shell scenario style planning, forecasting and decision making

Sustainability & Resilience

  • Mobile energy storage, e.g., for deployment to disaster areas, for smart microgrid sites
  • Disaster preparedness and resiliency
  • Biofuels and biodigesters
  • CO2 capture
  • Advanced materials, construction methods, 3-D printing applications

Security & Safety

  • Cyber-security tools and techniques for networks and plants
  • Job site and plant contractor/employee security training and mindfulness

The E&E Workshop will elevate student knowledge and application of established or emerging thinking about 21st century (a) energy network, infrastructure, resiliency and information management trends and (b) environmental sustainability imperatives and best practices. It is envisioned that over time, the E&E Workshop will collaborate with other resources and expertise at IIT, including:  Wanger Institute for Sustainable Energy Research (WISER), Robert W. Galvin Center for Electricity Innovation, Energy/Environment/Economics (E3) Program, Electric Power & Power Electronics Center (EPPEC), Office of Campus Energy and Sustainability, and Chicago Environmental Law Clinic.

Immersion in this IPRO workshop experience will provoke discourse, stimulate creative thinking, innovate concepts and prototype solutions that create value. Over time, it is envisioned that the E&E Workshop will establish a “Sustainability Body of Knowledge” that all IPRO teams can benefit from as they grapple with the challenges of our times to establish a secure, resilient and environmentally responsible energy future.

General Overview of the IPRO Workshop Format

The IPRO workshop format gives students the opportunity to choose a broad, overarching theme but leave their options open regarding a specific team topic under the theme. The IPRO workshop sections replace the IPRO 397-xxx and IPRO 497-xxx course sections that have been offered for some time.

Individual topic offerings within a workshop include those conceived by (a) faculty members based on their research or contemporary marketplace challenges and opportunities, as well as (b) IPRO teams within the workshop that are motivated to pursue challenges and opportunities based on their own research insights, interdisciplinary interests and passion. In addition, each workshop offers students a choice between (a) a project experience that emphasizes hands-on prototyping, programming, etc. vs (b) a project experience that emphasizes analysis and planning, although all experiences will have elements of both.

 While each workshop has a distinctive, overarching theme, pursuit of challenges and opportunities, and the development of concepts and solutions that have value, requires the application of a toolbox of enabling technologies, techniques and ways of thinking and decision making in various ways and at various levels. This challenges students to apply the body of knowledge associated with their disciplines that can include the following:

  • Data science/data mining/predictive analytics
  • Mobile apps/social media/digital humanities/networks/cyber-security
  • Advanced materials/systems thinking/mobility/infrastructure
  • Political and societal discourse/health and well-being/education and training.

Innovation is often characterized as a great idea executed well and thus capitalizing on the fun, excitement, challenge and potential of the energy and environment workshop theme — via the melding of user-centered design thinking based on insights, brainstorming and prototyping (the great idea) with the rigorous application of engineering and other transformative design methods (executed well) — creates a compelling experience for everyone involved.

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