Advancing clean energy technology focus of SOEST student research

Jacob Vazquez

When he originally entered their university Hawaii in Manoa, Jacob Vazquez enrolled in a pre-engineering program. After learning about world environmental science (HPP) program in Um School of Ocean Science and Technology Manoa (SOEST) and, seeing that the courses closely matched his interests, Vazquez saw for himself a new academic path.

As a high school student in Grover Beach, California, Vazquez got a job at a consulting firm on surveying and engineering.

“I have always been extremely interested in renewable energy and energy infrastructure, transport systems, urban planning and physical oceanography,” said Vazquez. “My work in high school was a great step towards seeing what technology really is.”

the student is sitting on a bench

Based on the recommendation of the chairman HPP program Michael HydraVazquez reached out Godwin of the NorthAssistant Researcher’s Hawaii Institute of Natural Energy SOESTto learn about available research opportunities.

Improving air purification technology

Vazquez is now working in the North’s lab, where they will test specialized materials that trap atmospheric acid gases that can pass through and affect the efficiency of fuel cells when they produce clean energy. To improve air purification technology, Vazquez will analyze the ability of various materials to absorb gases such as carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide.

“While the requirement for an undergraduate thesis was a little intimidating, it’s also very interesting because of the level of experience I get from the whole process,” Vazquez said. “I think the most satisfying aspect of my research is that it contributes to the development of fuel cells, which are a growing industry of energy and vehicles. It’s also useful because fuel cells are such a great clean alternative compared to other energy and transportation systems. ”

Vazquez will graduate in the fall of 2022 and plans to apply for an internship and work related to his interests in natural energy, transportation and physical oceanography.

This effort is an example Um Manoa’s goal is to increase student success (PDF) and research excellence: the promotion of research and creative enterprise (PDF), two of the four objectives identified in the Strategic Plan for 2015–2025PDF), updated in December 2020.

For more information on HPP program, see SOESTwebsite’s.

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