Posts tagged with "loyola university":

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Could evaporating water be the newest renewable energy source? Columbia researchers harnesses the power of bacterial spores

A biophysicist at Columbia University has discovered how to tap evaporating water as an electrical energy source using a simple device made from bacterial spores, glue, and LEGO bricks. Ozgur Sahin’s findings operate at the cellular level, based around his research on the Bacillus bacteria, a microorganism commonly found in soil—and its implications could potentially be far reaching. In high humidity, the spores absorb moisture from the air, expanding up to 40 percent in volume. In dry conditions, the reverse occurs. “Changing size this much is highly unusual for a material that is as rigid as wood or plastic, said Sahin, associate professor of Biological Sciences and Physics at Columbia University. “We figured that expanding and contracting spores can act like a muscle, pushing and pulling other objects. We noticed that we could harness the motion of spores and convert it to electrical energy.” Sahin’s prototype generator is modeled after a wind turbine, which captures kinetic energy and converts it into electricity. Attached to the generator is a flexible, elastic rubber sheet coated in a thin layer of spores. Using a fan and a small container of water, Sahin’s team showed that dry laboratory air and the evaporating moisture from the surface of the water can cause the entire sheet to curl up and straighten, rotating the turbine back and forth to yield electricity. “The biggest form of energy transfer in nature is evaporation. Our climate is powered by evaporating water from oceans and we have no direct way of accessing this energy,” Sahin pointed out. In a paper published in Nature Nanotechnology earlier this year, Sahin and his team, ExtremeBio, consisting of collaborators from Harvard University and the Loyola University Medical Center, showed that these spores produced a thousand times more force than human muscles, and that even a little moisture from evaporation could trigger movement strong enough to be harvested. “The subtle phenomenon of evaporation has big potential. This may be an opening for a completely new energy platform,” said Sahin, whose findings also bode the possibility of developing environmentally benign batteries and engineering stronger materials that mimic muscular movement in robots and prosthetic devices. Pound for pound, the spores pack more energy than other materials used in engineering for moving objects, according to Sahin’s paper. The ramifications are simply enormous in terms of energy savings for the construction and other industries, as well as possibly circumventing the depletion of fossil fuels. In an online issue of Nature Communications, Columbia University scientists reported the development of two novel devices powered entirely by evaporation – a floating, piston-driven engine dubbed the Moisture Mill, which generates electricity and causes a light to flash, and a rotary engine that drives a miniature car. Both devices contain a thin layer of spores. When the evaporation energy is scaled up, researchers predict that it could one day produce electricity from giant floating generators on bays or reservoirs, or from huge rotating machines like wind turbines that sit above water.
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Facades+ Chicago Explores Climate Responsive Design and High-Impact Facades

On October 24th, AN and Enclos present Facades+PERFORMANCE, an architectural symposium in Chicago on the complexity, construction, and design of modern facades. Gathering some of the leading architects, engineers, and innovators within the field, panels and keynotes will address the most pressing issues of facade design today. Among these experts is Pratik Raval of Transsolar who will be leading “Climate Responsive Design,” a discussion of the foundations, challenges, and solutions found within engineering for optimal human comfort and low environmental impact. Raval is a regular studio jury at Colombia University and the University of Pennsylvania, a frequent presenter for various architectural and engineering symposiums, and a guest advisory board member for the New York City College of Technology’s Bachelor’s program in Architectural Technology. He has a diverse background in both tech and design. Using Transsolar project examples, he will provide Facades+PERFORMANCE attendees with insight on optimization and collaborative architectural integration with the built environment. Transsolar is a climate engineering firm dedicated to creation of the highest aesthetic impact with the lowest ecological consequences. Raval has been involved in several important projects with the firm, focusing his skills on designs for optimal energy consumption through creative architectural and engineering design solutions. He recently developed climate concepts for the Center for Sustainable Urban Living at Loyola University in Chicago with architecture firm, Solomon Cordwell Buenz. The student housing complex, set to open this fall, consumes 50 percent less energy through green initiatives that harvest its outdoor environment for the benefit of its indoor climate. Register for the symposium and see the complete Facades+PERFORMANCE schedule.
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Chasing Cheap money, Chicago’s Loyola University finds a building boom

Chicago’s Loyola University has wasted no time, it seems, in taking advantage of low interest loans in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The school has spent more than $500 million on building projects since 2008, reported Crain’s Chicago Business. At No. 106 in U.S. News and World Report’s 2013 ranking of national universities, Loyola could stand to improve its public profile. Though it gained 13 places since last year’s ranking, the school lags nearby Northwestern (12th) and the University of Chicago (4th) considerably. The expansion includes new buildings at both the medical campus in suburban Maywood, IL. (here's AN's coverage of a sleek new home for the university's nursing school) and in Chicago’s Rogers Park, where a $58.8 million Institute of Environmental Sustainability opens this month. Read the full Crain's report here.
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Loyola University Hopes to Close Kenmore Ave for Pedestrian Walkway

loyola 2 Loyola University hopes to permanently close part of Kenmore Avenue in preparation for new dorms on its lakefront campus in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood. SmithGroupJJR architects, who also helped revamp Loyola's lakefront campus along with Solomon Cordwell Buenz, released some renderings of the new pedestrian space, which would replace Kenmore Avenue between West Sheridan Road and Rosemont Avenue. The university own dozens of parcels nearby that it is planning to develop, including 32 on the block it is hoping to close to traffic. Kenmore is currently closed while Loyola builds a new dormitory. Renderings show a tree-lined permeable walkway and flowerbeds on the residential street. loyola 3