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Pillars of Pursuit

Sustainability inFEWSed (Food, Energy, Water, Smart Cities)

Sustainable earth

MU Engineering’s Sustainability inFEWSed mission focuses primarily on how the College can become a global leader in the areas of Food, Energy, Water and Smart Cities innovation. Its inFEWSed approach includes research and development in those areas that aim to create a greener, smarter and more renewable world for future generations. Research supported in this area includes food waste and cost efficiency, energy harvesting, reusability and conservation, investment in renewable energy, water quality and wastewater treatment and technological advances in city infrastructure.

  • Mizzou Engineering is at the forefront of identifying sustainable agricultural and food systems, limiting food waste and creating value addition to food loss. Researchers use life cycle assessment, robust optimization, cutting edge biotechnology, food process engineering, and food science to facilitate the realization of sustainable food systems locally, nationally, and globally.
  • Sustainable agricultural and food systems require integration of the water and energy system elements; faculty within COE and beyond explore interactions across and flows between these three sectors.
  • Researchers at MU are using engineering approach to address the food and nutrition security challenges in the world.
  • MU Engineering faculty are pioneering the way we think about, mitigate, and manage food waste.

The College is building on recent breakthroughs, including:

  • The installation of the first large-scale biomass boiler in Missouri, which helped cut greenhouse gas emissions by 43 percent, the result of collaboration between researchers from nearly all fields of the College of Engineering and MU’s on-campus power plant.
  • Researchers and students involved with MU’s Midwest Industrial Assessment Center conducted energy assessments at 36 manufacturing plants in the last two years, and based on the implementation data received from 24 plants, the economic impact of the energy savings on these companies will be about $6.8 million.
  • A Mizzou Engineering professor working on lithium-ion battery technology utilized U.S. Department of Energy funding to develop a method that uses a flame to burn chemical precursors when sprayed through a specially created nozzle, producing a powder of metal oxides for use in the batteries. Instead of the water that’s currently used as a solvent, however, the new process uses glycerol, which is a waste product created in the creation of biofuels.
  • A mechanical engineering professor developed a high-temperature thermal energy transport system based on phase change (boiling and condensation), which is capable of acquiring high heat flux heat and transporting a large amount of heat over a long distance.
  • Mizzou Engineering is making a global impact on water-related issues. COE faculty research is recognized by federal and state agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
  • Mizzou Engineering researchers are involved in a broad range of research topics such as desalination, membrane fabrication and emerging membrane processes, drinking water quality, algae and diatom nanotechnology, biological nutrient removal and recovery, wetland management, emerging renewable energy (e.g., methane) issues, methane hydrate, mixing and transport, oil/bubble dynamics, environmental and public policies.
  • Enhancing everyday life, Mizzou Engineering has already reached key, cutting-edge breakthroughs through smart cities and smart manufacturing research, with an abundance of opportunities to take these ideas to new levels and solve previously unsolvable problems as we build upon our strengths in mechanical, electrical and civil engineering innovation.
  • Current strengths include smart sensing technologies, smart infrastructure health monitoring, and smart traffic management in large cities, to name a few.

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