Minerals that degrade the quality of ground water and water from the Central Arizona Project might find a profitable market elsewhere – if they can be commercially extracted.
The sunshine that pours down on Arizona nearly every day is still an elusive source of cost-effective electricity, and the state's strong but aging semiconductor industry faces environmental sustainability issues that threaten its existence.
A newly formed engineering school at The University of Arizona will work on addressing these and other issues in the Southwest.
The School of Sustainable Engineered Systems, or SSES, was formed in part to foster linkages between separate departments in the UA College of Engineering and related research efforts across campus.
The Arizona Board of Regents approved the formation of SSES at its recent meeting at the UA. The school expects to announce the selection of a director in early June.
SSES will incorporate five departments in the college, including civil engineering and engineering mechanics, mining and geological engineering, chemical and environmental engineering, materials science and engineering, and systems and industrial engineering.
“I like the school idea because it brings these unite closer,” said Larry Head, the systems and industrial engineering department head, which conducts research on manufacturing technologies, traffic and transportation systems, hydrology and a number of other areas.
“Were positive about the focus and opportunities to collaborate, to showcase what we do and explore some new areas as well, Head said.
Approximately 50 faculty members in the new school already collaborate in research on systems infrastructure, resources, energy and environment. SSES also will build bridges within the college, with researchers both across campus and with similar schools and work with industry to enhance the state's economic base.
"In the Southwest, the need to address competing demands related to environmental preservation, quality of life and economic growth has never been greater," said Jeff Goldberg, dean of the UA College of Engineering.
"These issues must be addressed regionally at the community scale and at the individual level to ensure a thriving economic future," Goldberg said.
SSES was formed specifically to coordinate and expand research initiatives covering a broad range of opportunities and problems in the Southwest, including solar energy, semiconductor manufacturing, adequate potable water supplies, environmental degradation and new and existing infrastructure systems.