New EnergiPlant® Is a Towering Example of Renewable Energy

New EnergiPlant® Is a Towering Example of Renewable Energy

Planting more than just the seeds of sustainability, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering dedicated a freestanding renewable energy tower called EnergiPlant® on July 10.

EnergiPlant® 2019 Unveil

Located in the patio between the Belanich Engineering Center and Guadalupe Hall, the EnergiPlant® is a freestanding nanogrid combining wind, solar and batteries to power WiFi, lighting and consumer device charging. It also offers fun bench seating to the campus community as they charge their phones, tablets and computers.

Primo Energy CEO and Founder Ned McMahon told the crowd gathered for the dedication that EnergiPlant® "is an example of what we can do today to make energy cleaner and better, more affordable and more useful."

The school plans to install another EnergiPlant® in the near future and another tower was installed last summer in front of the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice. 

To have the tower as part of the school and the university’s commitment to “care for our common home” or Laudato si as Pope Francis has called for, is “important to us,” said Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering Dean Chell Roberts, PhD.

The energy platforms also will be used in the coming 5G infrastructure as many more cell sites will be required, and by default, some will be in areas where no power is available, even in urban environments. 

One recent Shiley-Marcos School graduate and two current students also worked on the project.

With the hands-on experience USD engineers receive, they are able to make “immediate contributions” to Primo Energy, McMahon added.

“It’s been great working at Primo because I get to see all aspects of mechanical engineering,” from design to manufacturing said 2018 graduate Adriana Mangione. Current students Nate Kramer and May Tabsh were interns on the project.

— Liz Harman

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