The engineering department has a long-standing commitment to sustainable technology. We see creation care as part of our job. Issues of earthkeeping are dealt with in classes from the first through the last year.

Professors are actively engaged in research that considers sustainability from a wide variety of aspects. A student engineering club (Renewable Energy Organization) works to educate the campus and community with a technology perspective on energy issues.

Renewable Energy Organization

The Renewable Energy Organization is an Engineering Department organization which concentrates on renewable energy for Calvin's campus. Their most recent work can be seen in the wind turbine that is now working on Calvin's campus. To find more information on the REO, visit their web site at, Group Object.

Wind turbine

Recently, the Renewable Energy Organization at Calvin installed a small wind turbine on Calvin's campus to begin towards the goal of using renewable energy at Calvin. To see more specifics on the wind turbine, visit the Wind Turbine website.

Solar panels

Solar panelsAnother form of renewable energy that Calvin has is solar energy. Calvin currently has two solar panels on campus.

One of those solar panel systems is at the Bunker Interpretive Center. This project was done by a 2003-04 Sr. Design team. This team received a grant from the state of Michigan for their work on the solar panel. For more information on this source of energy, visit or Senior Design 03-04, Team 5.

In the 2002-03 school year, the "Just Add Sunlight" Sr. Design team worked on placing a solar panel on the roof of Calvin's Science Building. This team also received a grant from the state of Michigan for their work.


In addition to the other Sr. Design projects that have been done in the area of sustainability, one of the 2008 teams worked on a project in the area of Geothermal Systems. To view the team's project, visit their web site at Senior- Design 2007-08, Team 4.

Interim 2008

During Interim '08, Dr. Paulo Ribeiro, fresh from his sabbatical leave, has once again motivated students to apply what they are learning to the real world. The course, Electrical Power and Energy Systems Management Systems, introduced students to real world problems. Besides learning the analytical basis of power and energy systems and the consequent environmental impact, and using professional stat-of-the-art computational tools, the students worked on several real life projects in the Grand Rapids area. These included:

A Feasibility Study for Wind Power Generation at Belknap Lookout.  This project is being developed with the support of the Newberry Co-Housing Community,

A Feasibility Study for the Recovery of a Small Hydro Power Station at the City of Plainwell, Michigan.  This project is being developed with the support of the City of Plainwell.

Look for this poster in the hall outside Prof. Ribeiro's Office for a summary of what took place.

Other projects include Learning about Grid Operations with the support of Consumers Energy, analytical studies regarding Distributed Generation and Micro-Grids, and Nuclear Power Assessment.

Students visited the sites, talked to managers and engineers and collected the data necessary to produce the  analyses.  Since the studies may take longer than the class period the projects will be extended to the end of the summer.  The reality however is that the students will be exposed and attempt to solve real world power and energy engineering problems.

Faculty research & professional experience

Here at Calvin, our faculty is very involved in sustainability research. This includes alternative energy sources, energy conservation, materials recycle, water and air quality, and more.

Dr. Matthew Heun
Dr. J. Aubrey Sykes
  • Materials Recycling Systems: Technology, Political, Economic and Social Challenges
  • Environmental Ecology
  • Environmental Processes
    • Water Production and Treatment
    • Air Pollution and Remediation
    • Hazard Waste Management and Treatment
  • Sustainable and Renewable Energy Options
    • Energy Efficiency; combined cycles, "trash" fuels
    • Energy Conversion Processes
    • Unique Energy Resources; Solar, Wind, Hydropower incl. Waves/Tides
    • Carbon Dioxide Recovery and Conversion
    • Bio-mass Energy Processes
  • Advanced materials; nano-scale, esp. optic and electronic
  • Management of Technology and Innovation
    • Technology Strategy and Policy
    • Innovation Estate Management (Patents, Trade Secrets)
    • Competitive Positioning; Core Competencies, Strategic Thrusts
Dr. Jennifer VanAntwerp
  • Biofuels from non-agricultural lands and crops
  • Biotechnology, particularly protein engineering
Prof. David Wunder
  • Drinking water quality and treatment with student research assistants
  • Wastewater treatment
  • Anaerobic digestion of solids/residuals
  • Hydraulic/hydrologic system modeling and optimization
Prof. Wayne Wentzheimer
  • Biofuels from non-agricultural lands and crops

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