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January 2015

From the Dean

Happy New Year! I'm excited about 2015 and what the upcoming year will bring to our students, faculty and staff — as well as to our alumni, industry partners, and others in our growing community of Oregon State Engineering.

Below, you'll read about engineering faculty who are working to capture atmospheric CO2 to make energy devices (and slow climate change), research that's about to shake up the electronics industry, a startup's goal of a 20-year battery, and more.

In addition to these stories, be sure to check out our recent work on robots, race cars, and rockets in the latest print edition of Momentum, now viewable online.

I’m looking forward to the opportunities 2015 will bring. As a die-hard Beavers fan, I’m excited about a new era for OSU football with Coach Gary Andersen and hope the upcoming season brings good things, both on the gridiron and off.

Best wishes for a great year, and go Beavs!

Scott A. Ashford, Ph.D.
Kearney Professor and Dean
College of Engineering
Oregon State University


Using atmospheric carbon dioxide to improve energy storage
Oregon State engineers and chemists have discovered a new way to capture some of the atmospheric CO2 that's causing climate change and tap that to make a high-value material for use in supercapacitors — devices used in heavy industry and consumer electronics to store and release energy quickly. Chi-Hung Chang and Changqing Pan in the School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering are members of the research team. More…

Faculty & Staff

Sweeney to lead CBEE
James Sweeney has been appointed head of the School of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering. Sweeney earned his bachelor's degree in engineering from Brown University and his master's and doctoral degrees in biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve University. Prior to coming to Oregon State, Sweeney was professor and chair of the Department of Bioengineering and Software Engineering in the U.A. Whitaker College of Engineering at Florida Gulf Coast University in Ft. Myers, Florida. More…

2002 research poised to shake up electronics industry
Materials that can be used for transparent electronics are about to shake up the consumer electronics world. John Wager, the Michael and Judith Gaulke Chair of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and his team have been instrumental in the study of transparent electronic materials. Although the first applications are not even based on the transparent attribute of the materials; they enable brighter displays with higher resolution that consume less power — so much less you might only need to charge your cell phone once or twice a week. More…

Earthquake task force calls for seismic policy advisor
A state committee tasked with helping Oregon prepare for a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake has made recommendations to the state legislature. Chaired by Scott Ashford, dean of the College of Engineering, the committee recommends creation of a new position: a seismic policy advisor who would have oversight over state agencies and report directly to the governor. More…

Conley named 2015 IEEE fellow for outstanding research record
The Institute of Electronics and Electronics Engineers has named John Conley, a professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, a 2015 IEEE Fellow for his contributions to semiconductor process technology to improve radiation hardening of MOS devices. More…

Electrical engineering professor beats home heating bills
Ted Brekken, a professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, has had solar panels on his 60-year-old Corvallis home for some time now. But he recently signed up for an energy audit by Clean Energy Works, had weatherization work completed on the house, and his family saw their October gas bill drop from about $52 to $8 per month. More…

The day that changed tsunami science
The December 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami killed 230,000 people and was the deadliest tsunami in recorded history. But that catastrophic event changed tsunami science forever, says Harry Yeh, the Miles Lowell and Margaret Watt Edwards Distinguished Chair in Engineering. "This was the event," he said. Read more here and here…

Sellwood Bridge overruns lead to lawsuit from contractor
Chris Higgins, a civil and construction engineering professor at Oregon State University, said big construction projects can typically run as much as 10 percent over budget — sometimes much higher. More…


Nathan Hinkle named AIChE student of the month
Chemical Engineering senior Nathan Hinkle was selected by the AIChE as the national featured student of the month for December. "I'd like to work in industry in a field related to sustainable energy," Hinkle said. "I'm particularly interested in applying chemical engineering principles to save energy by improving industrial process efficiency." More…


Corvallis startup envisions a 20-Year battery
NRG Independence, an Oregon startup launched by Oregon State engineering graduate Alex Bistrika, has received funding from Oregon BEST and the OSU Venture Fund to work with Alex Yokochi, an associate professor of chemical engineering, to advance an innovative new technology that could extend the life of redox flow battery cores to 20 years. More…

Developing onboard natural gas fueling for vehicles
Chris Hagen, an assistant professor at OSU Cascades, is CTO of Onboard Dynamics, Inc., the Bend, Ore. startup that's developing a new technology that uses one cylinder of an automobile engine to compress liquid natural gas so fueling a vehicle can take place at any home or business that has natural gas, instead of only at specialty LNG filling stations. More…

Can an advanced nuclear reactor design ever be approved in the US?
NuScale was founded in 2007 based on research conducted at Oregon State University and had raised $35 million in VC funds to develop its light water SMR. The company's major shareholder is now Fluor. More…


Work on tsunami forces receives ASCE prize
David Linton ('10 Civil Engineering), currently a project engineer at Mackenzie, a professional design services firm, will be accepting the 2015 Raymond C. Reese Research Prize at the Structures Congress in Portland in April for the paper "Evaluation of Tsunami Loads on Wood-Frame Walls at Full Scale" published in the Journal of Structural Engineering for which he was the lead author. The project was conducted at the O. H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory as part of NSF's NEES program. Co-authors include Prof. Rakesh Gupta in (College of Forestry), Prof. Dan Cox (College of Engineering), Prof. John van de Lindt (Colorado State University), Mary Beth Berkes ('10 Ocean Engineering), and Milo Clauson (College of Forestry).

Former college advisory board chair and Tripwire CEO sells company for $710M
Jim Johnson, a 27-year veteran of Intel, served on the College of Engineering's Advisory Board for many years. For the past decade, he has been CEO of the software security company Tripwire, one of the biggest tech businesses based in Oregon. In December, the company announced it is being acquired by St. Louis-based Belden, Inc. for $710 million in cash. More…

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