$2.5 Million Grant Brings Green Energy Manufacturing to UTEP

By Nadia Macias

UTEP News Service

Thanks to a $2.5 million grant from the Department of Education, engineering students will soon have the opportunity to become skilled in eco-conscious manufacturing, one of the most promising fields in the first half of the 21st century.

“The United States wants to bring manufacturing back into the states, and green energy is a growing trend here,” said Principle Investigator Bill Tseng, Ph.D., associate professor of industrial engineering.Bill Tseng, Ph.D., associate professor of industrial engineering

Green energy manufacturing uses clean and renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.

“To seed green thinking into our manufacturing, we first have to educate the students, help them cultivate professional support and help them become leaders, specifically in green energy manufacturing,” Tseng added.

The grant, “Fusing Green Energy into Manufacturing Engineering Education,” will fund a five-year collaboration between The University of Texas at El Paso’s Department of Industrial, Manufacturing and Systems Engineering and Drexel University. The universities will work together to integrate green energy manufacturing classes that will incorporate information and technology based, real-world problem solving into the curriculum.

Green energy manufacturing is a complex and technology-focused process requiring a very specialized and experienced workforce, Tseng said. Educating manufacturing students in this field is typically very expensive due to special equipment, training, operation and maintenance costs.

However, with help from this grant, UTEP will  add three new classes on the topic. These new courses are expected to be particularly attractive to women and minorities in the field, and are designed to improve retention and program completion rates by creating one-on-one learning experiences. Students who enroll can expect to collaborate over the Internet with Drexel faculty and students on major projects.

Tseng will lead the grant, with collaboration from UTEP's Paras Mandal, Ph.D., and Eric Smith, Ph.D., and Professors Richard Chiou, Ph.D.; Michael G. Mauk, Ph.D.; and Rodian Belu, Ph.D., from Drexel .

The project is expected to promote successful engineering careers through the development of leadership skills, novel technologies and fresh approaches to green methods in  existing and new manufacturing processes.

The ultimate goal is to increase the number of well-trained system engineers  at the forefront of energy technology.