Media Watch


Flooding and water resources for Southern California

The FEMA flood risk maps may not accurately reflect the flooding risk. Jochen Schubert, research specialist in the UCI civil engineering department said, “The FEMA maps mostly show flooding from rivers and streams and coastal flooding. They don’t map flooding from rainfall.” Jochen Schubert and his colleagues at UC Irvine have developed their own ways of modeling flood risks in the LA area and have found changes in the land development since the FEMA maps were adopted. “FEMA maps were built so long ago that they don’t capture these changes,” Schubert said. … UC Irvine Flood Lab: More information on the research and models from UCI's Flood Lab …. Watch More
Voice of OC

Can College Students Really Design California’s Homes of Tomorrow?

Voice of OC -
Teams of college students from around the world have spent the past year working to design and construct model homes that promote energy-efficient living in California. Just over a dozen teams will compete as part of the Orange County Sustainability Decathlon, a new event aimed at curbing climate change. … The college teams include students from UC Irvine, Orange Coast College, Cal State Fullerton and other schools across the U.S. and the globe. Each team was provided with $100,000 to plan, build and transport their finished model homes to the Costa Mesa fairgrounds, where they will be on display beginning Oct. 5. Read More

Cost of solar panels in California

Consumer Affairs -
Robert Flores, [senior scientist in the Advanced Power & Energy Program], a solar expert at the University of California, Irvine, said it’s smart to upgrade any old appliances before going solar. … Monocrystalline panels are generally considered the “best bang for your buck,” according to Flores. … Aso consider space … “The worst place would be to install on north-facing roofs, especially if those roofs have a high pitch.” For example, if the only place you can install is a north-facing roof with a 30-degree pitch, your cost of going solar will increase by 30% to 40%. The overall amount of electricity produced will be less, and the dollar per unit of electricity gets a lot more expensive, according to Flores. Read More

The First Orange County Sustainability Decathlon Imagines The County’s Future As A Hub For Green Housing

LAist -
Applicants chosen from 14 schools across California and the country were given $100,000 in seed money, and a year-and-a-half to raise more and put together the engineering teams to fully realize their home builds. Now, they'll be competing to see which squad built the most sustainable home, and winners of the Decathlon will get the satisfaction of victory over some of their best and brightest peers. The teams are comprised mostly of college students, some of them local like Cal Poly PomonaUC Irvine, and CSU Long Beach, but the competition also includes students from as far east as Virginia and Tennessee — even one team from China — who have traveled to Costa Mesa to show off their engineering skills. Read More
Interesting Engineering

Mystery behind how coated nanodiamonds form finally solved

Interesting Engineering -
Applying metal oxides like titanium and zinc could lead to innovative quantum sensing and biological labeling developments. “Nanodiamonds are incredible microtools with immediate applications,” explained Karen Lopez, a biomedical engineering Ph.D. student at the University of California, Irvine, who, like the other SJSU authors, worked on the study as an undergraduate. “Now that we understand how the silica shell forms, we can begin optimizing it and expanding to other materials," she added. Read More

South OC Has A New(ish) Beach. Here's How They Saved The Sand

LAist -
University of California, Irvine, engineering professor Brett Sanders says south Orange County, especially, now has a large sand deficit. "Our natural sand supplies have been significantly reduced," Sanders wrote in an email. Sanders said the sand replenishment project in Dana Point is significant, in part, because it's the first such project along this stretch of the coast in decades. … The Doheny project is also significant, Sanders said, "because local governments have taken responsibility and taken action." … "We’ll also need a long-term plan for higher rates of sea level rise," Sanders said. Read More

Toyota Invests Long-Term in Hydrogen Production

Waste360 -
Toyota has commissioned FuelCell Energy to build a system to make renewable electricity, hydrogen, and water for the car maker’s largest port facility in North America. The project is Toyota’s latest in a series of moves in reach of an ambitious corporate goal: net zero emissions from its operations by 2050. ... FuelCell Energy brought Tri-gen to fruition working with the U.S. Department of Energy, several California agencies, and the University of California at Irvine. Read More

Thessaly: "The existing infrastructure is outdated" - The similarities with Derna in Libya

To Vima -
A strong storm hit the northeastern coast of Libya last Sunday, causing two dams to burst in the port of Derna, causing a torrential flood that has killed more than 5,000 people. These floods are a terrifying example of how infrastructure can collide with climate and geography and ultimately turn a storm into a disaster. However, risk and damage can vary widely, and a whole "recipe" of factors determines the effects of a severe storm in each location, University of California, Irvine civil and environmental engineer [and Professor] Brett Sanders, founder of UCI Flood Lab. Read More
Society of Women Engineers

Tech Stewards Expand the Scope of Responsible Engineering

The Society of Women Engineers -
A University of California, Irvine associate dean guides her students in studying the latest issues involving law, privacy, and policy, including in social media, AI, and computer networks. “We look at end-user devices — smartphones, smart speakers, browsers, Internet of Things (IoT) — and explore and try to expose whether tech companies collect the data, and whether they use the data for targeting consumers,” said Athina Markopoulou, Ph.D., associate dean for graduate and professional studies at the University of California, Irvine Samueli School of Engineering. She also serves as faculty mentor for UC Irvine’s new Women in CyberSecurity chapter.  … Educating engineers in a holistic way is key to transforming the profession. Hopeful signs are emerging there, too. Magnus Egerstedt, Ph.D., [Stacey Nicholas] dean of engineering for the Henry Samueli School of Engineering [and professor of electrical engineering & computer science] at the University of California, Irvine, worked to obtain a $50 million gift from Susan Samueli, Ph.D., and Henry Samueli, Ph.D., to create three new multidisciplinary research institutes at the university. Read More
The New York TImes

Why Floods Can Turn So Deadly, So Fast

The New York Times -
A powerful storm hit Libya’s northeast coast on Sunday. Two dams burst upstream from the port city of Derna, causing a torrential flood that has killed more than 5,000 people, according to local officials. … Derna is also built on top of an alluvial fan, a type of landscape formed at the base of mountain ranges by loose sediment washing down rivers and streams. These landscapes are known to be at risk of “ultrahazardous flooding,” said Brett Sanders, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California Irvine. When alluvial fans experience heavy rainfall, floods tend to strike suddenly, travel very quickly, and carry a lot of sediment and debris that can bulldoze whatever is in the way. [Subscription required, campus-wide access provided by UCI Libraries. Sign-up here:] Read More