Florida A&M University: Statewide Small Farm Collaborative
With funding from the Ford College Community Challenge, Florida A&M University’s (FAMU) Statewide® Small Farm Collaborative implemented an on-farm demonstration and education model for sustainable, renewable biofuel production and energy that provided mobility and an essential alternative energy roadmap for the future. This innovative, student-led demonstration advanced a critical societal need for the development of alternative energy..
Producing biofuel from agricultural crops grown by farmers is one way to reduce the U.S. dependency on fossil fuel. The project involved students from the College of Engineering Sciences, Technology and Agriculture and the School of Architecture, as well as community stakeholders including public schools interested in green/alternative energy, local businesses, and governmental entities.
Georgia Tech: Recycled Bio-Fuel Hybrid School Buses
Students from the Georgia Institute of Technology partnered with Atlanta Public Schools (APS) to investigate recycled biofuels as a retrofit energy source for powering hybrid school buses, with the goal of reducing transportation costs, lowering greenhouse emissions, and sustaining educational services critical to the viability of the community.
For the 2009-2010 school years, APS used approximately 798,000 gallons of diesel in school buses, amounting to nearly $2.4 million in expenditures. The proposed retrofit to biofuel aimed at significantly reducing this expenditure.
Much of the biofuel was sourced, for free, in the form of recycled vegetable oil from APS kitchens, cafeterias in state offices, and donations from local restaurants. The project was carried out with multiple community-based organizations, including close coordination with APS, Green Restaurants of Atlanta (GRA) and Veggie Oil Conversions (VOC).
APS donated one of their buses for use in designing and retrofitting the recycled biofuel fuel system, which was sourced from the VOC. Local elementary students helped to paint the bus green and learned about sustainability.
Kettering University: Community Greenhouse
Kettering University students, working with a local non-profit organization, were able to offer a practical and cost-effective method of using renewable energy resources in the organization's community greenhouse. That organization, Youth Karate-Ka, a 501(c)3 martial arts organization, created the Harvesting Earth Educational Farm, where local residents learn horticulture skills in the Farm’s greenhouses.
Kettering University engineering students teamed up with Youth Karate-Ka’s Harvesting Earth Educational Farm, the City of Flint, local educators and other non-profit and governmental agencies for the innovative project.
With the Ford College Community Challenge funding, Kettering’s engineering students developed and implemented methods for better utilization of natural resources, such as solar and geothermal technology. By extending the growing season in this way, the greenhouse provides a source of sustainable employment to the residents of this financially depressed community.
Read: Green heat
Lawrence Technological University: Southwest Detroit, Carbon-Neutral Community
studio[Ci], a multi-disciplinary faculty/student team at Lawrence Technological University, used Ford C3 funding to partner with a Southwest Detroit community through the Southwest Detroit Development Collaborative (SDDC) to create a plan for our region’s first carbon-neutral community. Through this initiative, studio[Ci] was able to define and model the key elements of a sustainable community to inform the future urban form of southwest Detroit.
The resulting studio[Ci] plan built on existing community initiatives. The team worked closely with four established SDDC committees: Green Infrastructure, Transportation, Housing, and Economic Development. They investigated and made specific urban design recommendations on the roles that an innovative hybrid alternative energy solution, density, and community empowerment play in creating a sustainable community.
Utilizing a digital mapping interface on a Google Earth Platform and incorporating geographic information systems (GIS), relevant data and model “analysis layerings" were utilized to make specific urban design proposals for the key elements of a sustainable community. Included were energy hubs; green economy; concentrations of targeted, mixed-use density; and green infrastructure to support enhanced pedestrian mobility, mass transit, and electrical vehicle fleets (EVs).
University of Michigan Erb Institute: Community Clean Energy Program
A team of students from the Erb Institute at the University of Michigan partnered with the Clean Energy Coalition to establish self-sustaining energy-efficiency and renewable energy funding mechanisms in communities across Michigan. The student team worked to develop “revolving energy funds” in eight Michigan cities.
The work supported by the Ford C3 program allowed the cities to leverage a $4.4 million grant from the Michigan Public Service Commission as seed money, in order to create local pools of capital dedicated to investment in energy-saving municipal building retrofits. Each year, a portion of the financial savings generated by the funds’ investments will flow back into the pool.
In the process, the cities will experience a substantial decrease in their operating expenses. The pool is constantly replenished to finance additional projects (which in turn will yield additional savings, etc.).