The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded a four-year, $290,000 grant to The University of Texas at San Antonio to support the Water Treatment, Agricultural-logistics, and Renewable Energy (WeARE) systems project. Krystel Castillo, Ph.D., Sc.D., assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and project director of WeARE systems, says the project aims to establish a multi-disciplinary platform to investigate novel mathematical models, methods, and optimization techniques that can be applied to agricultural/biomass logistics; biorenewable energy integration, production and technology; and water resources systems.
“I am particularly delighted with the fact that our project team will help students in acquiring knowledge to model, innovate, and optimize agricultural supply chains, biorenewable energy and water resources systems to meet the full range of human needs in a sustainable way,” said Castillo.
According to Castillo, energy and water are intimately linked and have a vital role in the future of Texas and the nation.
“San Antonio is uniquely positioned as an emerging energy leader,” she said. “To this end, the WeARE team will develop new courses and technical workshops to build the theoretical foundation in WeARE systems, partner with USDA agencies, as well as train and conduct outreach activities necessary to nurture next-generation sustainable/green scientists and engineers.”
Castillo will lead the project team, which consists of three additional College of Engineering faculty members: Frank Chen, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering; Heather Shipley, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department Civil and Environmental Engineering; and Marcio Giacomoni, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department Civil and Environmental Engineering.
“This interdisciplinary faculty team, with the support from USDA, will establish the knowledge base, training, mentorship, outreach, and partnership initiatives needed to support the professional development of our rising leaders here in the college,” said Dr. JoAnn Browning, dean of the College of Engineering. “This team from the College of Engineering will positively impact society by enhancing the use of clean energy to support our nation’s energy independence and security.”
To learn more about the WeARE project, visit www.UTSAWeARE.com