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UPRM CHEM E Sustainable Energy Demos, Workshops, Town Hall Meetings, etc.: Working the Pipeline

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Projects in Alternative Energy

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1403.1 - 25.1403.13



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Paper Authors


José Colucci Ríos P.E. University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez

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José A. Colucci Ríos is a professor of chemical engineering at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez (UPRM). He has received teaching and research awards, and professional service recognition such as Chemical Engineer of the Year in Puerto Rico, Distinguished CHEM E Professor (UPRM-CHEME) and Researcher (UPR), and 2009 EPA Environmental Quality Award. He has industry and management experience, and has held leadership positions at UPRM such as Head of the Chemical Engineering Department, Associate Dean of Research in Engineering and UPRM R&D Center Director. His pioneering work in the areas of biodiesel, fuel cells and other renewable strategies and technologies is widely recognized in Puerto Rico. His annual research funding is approximately $175,000 mostly from Federal Agencies (DOE, DHS) and Sloan Foundation.

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Efrain O'Neill-Carrillo University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez

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Efraín O'Neill-Carrillo is a professor of power engineering at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez (UPRM). He holds a Ph.D. (Arizona State), an M.S.E.E. (Purdue), and a B.S.E.E. (UPRM). His professional interests include energy policy, sustainable energy, distributed generation, power quality, social and ethical implications of engineering, and technology. He has authored or co-authored more than 60 peer-reviewed journal and conference papers. O’Neill-Carrillo was the founding Director (2007-2010) of the Institute for Tropical Energy, Environment, and Society, leading a group of 15 professors from 10 disciplines in establishing links between energy research and society and influencing energy policy in Puerto Rico ( O’Neill-Carrillo was also the Education Coordinator at UPRM for the NSF’s Center for Power Electronics Systems (CPES) from 2000-2008. He is Associate Director, CIVIS: Center for Resources in General Education, assisting in the administration of the Center, as well as developing student learning modules (sustainability, ethics), a sustainable energy initiative and coordinating the interaction and work of professors from various disciplines in UPRM. He has been energy Advisor for city governments and state agencies in Puerto Rico. He is one of the authors of the study “Achievable Renewable Energy Targets for Puerto Rico’s Renewable Portfolio Standard,” presenting the potential of renewable energy in Puerto Rico ( He is also very active in the energy policy debate in Puerto Rico, authoring “Una Nueva AEE,” a Spanish document that traces the history of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, presenting potential reforms to the Island’s electric system ( O’Neill-Carrillo is a founding member of the Puerto Rico Electric Energy Round Table, a multi-sector group that works on technical and policy alternatives for the future of Puerto Rico’s electric system, acting as the Group Coordinator from 2008 to 2010. He is a Senior Member of IEEE, an ABET Program Evaluator and a registered Professional Engineer. His views and work on integrative research and education activities, and his professional service have earned O’Neill-Carrillo UPRM’s Outstanding ECE Professor of the Year Award (twice), the Distinguished Electrical Engineer of the Year Award from the CIAPR in May 2004, an Early Promotion to Full Professor from UPRM in Nov. 2004, and the IEEE/PES Walter Fee Outstanding Young Engineer Award in June 2005.

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Miriam del Rosario Fontalvo

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UPRM CHEM E Sustainable Energy Demos, Workshops, Town Hall meetings, etc; Working the Pipeline Dr. José A. Colucci, PE Dr. Efraín O’Neill-Carrillo, PE Dr. Colucci’s Research GroupAbstract – Dr. Colucci’s Sustainable Energy laboratory has been instrumental in the effectiveincorporation of sustainability into chemical education targeting audiences (hundreds per year) from thewhole spectrum; K-12, undergraduate students, graduate students and the general public. The latterincludes a strong alliance with the municipality of Caguas focusing on its transformation to SustainableDevelopment including energy. This led to several awards such as 2009 EPA Region II EnvironmentalQuality Award Recipient and Puerto Rico’s Planning Board Sustainability Development 2011 nominee.Dr. Colucci’s laboratory cultural transformation started in 1995 sponsored by the Department of Energywith environmentally friendly topics related to renewable energy such as Fuel Cell applications, SolarDetoxification, Biomass Conversion processes, etc. Workshops and Demonstrations were integralcomponents of those efforts. At the turn of the century the focus increased to include sustainabilityprinciples such as social equity, ethics and community participation but with energy as the centraltheme. The latter efforts are sponsored by the Federal Department of Education (CIVIS Initiative),Department of Homeland Security (CIMES) and Air Force Research Laboratory (Microalgae ProcessesDevelopments).In general the Learning Objective is to educate and convert to Sustainable Energy utilizing several handson and/or visual modalities. The Target Audience are students and the public in general. Each audiencerequires strategic methodologies. For example, attention span is a challenge for K-20 especially K-12s.Highly enthusiastic undergraduate and graduate students are critical for K-12 workshops. Theseworkshops must be “cool”. Presently, two workshops are organized per semester for this audience with20-30 students per workshop. Undergraduate students are also a challenge. A combination of lectureplus demonstration has been very effective based on the evaluations (4.80/5.0). Similar to K-12, twoworkshops are organized per semester with 20-30 students per workshop. There are also approximately5-10 undergraduate students as part of Dr. Colucci’s laboratory staff. They are involved in researchactivities related to Sustainable Energy. The last component of undergraduate education is themodification of CHEM E Design 1 & 2 courses towards a sustainability philosophy. Regarding graduatestudents, over 10 students worked in Dr. Colucci’s Sustainable Energy laboratory. In addition, aBiorefinery course requested by UNAPEC, a university at the Dominican Republic was developed andoffered.The general public has different challenges related more to logistics. At least once a monthpresentations are given (50 to 100 attending) to professional organizations (engineers and chemists) forcontinuous education credit in the area of Sustainable Energy. This includes an overview of the studyAchievable Renewable Energy Technologies (ARET) in PR ( At Caguas, their selfgovernance philosophy allows the organizations of Town Hall meetings with relatively ease. Eleven townhall meetings were organized between 2009/10 to kickoff a series of demonstrations projects plannedfor that municipality.In summary, the “pipeline approach” although dilutes the efforts (Jack of all trades), it does provide aunique experience to both participants and organizers. Their interactions are priceless as evident fromthe activities evaluations, photographs and videos.

Colucci Ríos, J., & O'Neill-Carrillo, E., & Fontalvo, M. D. R. (2012, June), UPRM CHEM E Sustainable Energy Demos, Workshops, Town Hall Meetings, etc.: Working the Pipeline Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--22160

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