University of Pittsburgh
July 25, 2011

Sustainable Summer: Pitt Undergraduate Students Present Green Research at July 28 Mascaro Center Symposium

Contact:  412-624-4147

 PITTSBURGH—From using algae as fuel to making buildings from bamboo, undergraduates in the University of Pittsburgh Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation have been hard at work all summer on sustainable engineering research projects.

The students will present the fruits of their labor at the eighth annual Undergraduate Research Symposium from 9:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Thursday, July 28, in Room 102 of Benedum Hall, 3700 O'Hara St., Oakland.

The Mascaro Center has a long-standing commitment to success in undergraduate research.

We strongly believe that this program produces several long-term benefits—from fostering energetic, collaborative research to investing in students’ career choices,” said Bhavna Sharma, postdoctoral fellow in the Mascaro Center and the Swanson School of Engineering’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “Furthermore, the program supports the synergistic relationship between research, education, and community outreach,” she added.

Other project highlights that will be presented on Thursday include sustainable low-cost ceramic water filters and net-zero energy schools.

Titles and times of the student presentations follow; a full schedule is available at


9:35 a.m.—“Self-Powered Sensors for Energy Efficient Buildings”;

9:55 a.m.—“Microalgae as Fuel”;

10:15 a.m.—“Nano-Characterization of Silver Nanoparticles Deposited on Porous Ceramics or Geopolymers for Sustainable Low-Cost Ceramic Water Filters”;

10:40 a.m.—“Comparative Life-Cycle Analysis for Bamboo Portal Frame Construction”;

11:15 a.m.—“Exploring Smart Materials for Reducing Energy Demands in Buildings”;

11:35 a.m.—“Development of Sustainability and Green Building High School Education Modules”;

Noon—“Enabling the Utilization of Nanoporous Aluminum for Sustainable Structures by Understanding its Mechanical Properties”;

1:20 p.m.—“Net-Zero Energy School Buildings: Development of the Education Module”;

1:40 p.m.—“Smart Grid Control Methodology Development for Integrated Generation Management”;

2:05 p.m.—“Resource Recovery from Waste Water”; and

2:25 p.m.—“Controls and Dynamic Life-Cycle Assessment.”


The Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, housed in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering, is a center of excellence in sustainable engineering focusing on the design of sustainable neighborhoods. By nurturing collaborative projects based on strong and innovative research, the center works to translate the fundamental science of sustainability into real products and processes that positively impact the environment and improve quality of life. Mascaro Center research includes projects on greening the built environment, more sustainable use of water, and the design of distributed power systems.

For more information on the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, visit





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