Hamline News

Physics Students and Faculty Present at National Sustainable Design Expo

Hamline physics students Ray Culp and Seth Rice and faculty member Dr. Lifeng Dong, Malmstrom Endowed Chair in Physics, presented their research using superhydrophobic surfaces to repel snow from solar panels at the National Sustainable Design Expo in May in Washington, D.C. During the past year, research has been conducted at Hamline to find a transparent, water-repellent surface to make this happen.  

During the conference, several companies, including Panasonic, Sherwin-Williams, 3M, and Magna, showed significant interest in the development of the technology. This project will increase the use of solar panels in snowy regions globally by increasing their conversion efficiency during the winter months.

Culp, Rice, and Dong are recipients of the P3 – People, Prosperity and the Planet – award by the U.S. Environmental Protect Agency (EPA). The P3 Program is a college competition for designing solutions for a sustainable future. P3 offers students quality hands-on experience that brings their classroom learning to life. The competition has two phases. For the first phase of the competition, teams are awarded a $15,000 grant to develop their idea. The second phase involves showcasing their research at the National Sustainable Design Expo as part of a competition for an additional grant for up to $75,000 to apply their design to a real-world application.

The Expo was co-located with the 2017 TechConnect World Innovation Conference and Expo, the National SBIR/STTR Conference, the National Innovation Summit and Showcase, and the Nanotech 2017 Conference and Expo.