Feb 032009
Authors: Tyler Okland

HP donated about $100,000 in high performance workstation computers last month to the College of Engineering, aiming to assist the College to solve alternative energy problems and create new, environmentally sustainable technologies.

In addition to their placement in the Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory, where new energy sources are currently being developed, the new workstations will be used by Professor Wayne Schubert’s hurricane research group in the Department of Atmospheric Science to model hurricane behavior and expand current hurricane data.

“Essentially what we try to emphasize at the College of Engineering is that much of our work is for saving human life, or to better human life,” said director of development of The College of Engineering Audra Brickner. “Modeling hurricanes can help save lives.”

Named the HP xw8600 Workstations, the computers are recognized worldwide for their processing capacity. The power supply each workstation uses, called an 80 PLUS power supply, reduces not only the amount of energy used but also the amount of excess heat and carbon that is released into the environment.

Head of the Department of Atmospheric Science Richard Johnson said that until now, research has been limited by computers that have been unable to process larger models.

“Professor Wayne Shubert has a staff of five to 10 people and they’re all working on understanding and developing models of hurricanes,” he said. “This donation has been very critical for such projects in order to advance their knowledge. Until now, our computers had really been limiting our research capabilities.”

Engineering students echoed the professors’ sentiments and enthusiasm for the new additions.

“I’m really excited about the new workstations for the engineering students,” said freshman engineering major Jesse JanKowsky. “I’m really looking forward to using them.”

The Energy Lab at CSU is world-renowned for its work with companies such as Envirofit; a non-profit organization that has recently replaced dirty, two-stroke engines in developing countries with clean, fuel-efficient, direct injection technology.

CSU’s Energy lab also partnered with Envirofit International in a recent endeavor to engineer, build and distribute 10 million clean cook stoves to third world countries within the next five years.

The lab also contributed to the CSU startup Solix Biofuels, a company that makes biodisel fuel using the oil harvested from algae.

The workstations were registered as Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool products according to guidelines set by the EPEAT – a system that helps consumers to evaluate and compare computers based on environmental attributes. EPEAT awarded the HP Workstations with gold status, the highest ranking of the system.

Staff writer Tyler Okland can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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