New Center to Focus on the Impact of Transportation Emissions on Human Health

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The Center for Environmental Research and Technology at UC Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering is part of a new Department of Transportation (DOT) University Transportation Center (UTC) that will combine experts from two disciplines traditionally not known for research collaboration—transportation and public health.

The Center for Advancing Research in Transportation Emissions, Energy and Health (CAR-TEEH) will focus on the impact of transportation emissions on human health. The Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) leads the CAR-TEEH consortium with four partner universities: UC Riverside, Johns Hopkins University, Georgia Institute of Technology, and the University of Texas at El Paso.

CAR-TEEH is funded for a five-year period, at over $11 million. The CAR-TEEH consortium will focus on transportation emissions in a more comprehensive manner, mapping the holistic tailpipe-to-lungs spectrum, which includes the impact of transportation emissions on the environment and public health.

“UC Riverside is very pleased to be part of CAR-TEEH. Southern California suffers from some of the worst traffic congestion and air pollution issues in the nation, so we are ideally placed to study the connection between transportation emissions and public health and try to make positive impacts through research, education, and technology transfer,” said Kanok Boriboonsomsin, associate research engineer at CE-CERT, who is the CAR-TEEH lead at UCR. “We hope that our effort benefits not just this region, but cities and regions across the U.S. and beyond.”

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Students Awarded EPA Grant to Build Homes from Rice Husks

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A group of students from UC Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering has been awarded a $75,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to build housing in the Philippines using a termite-resistant composite material created from waste rice husks.

The team, called Husk-to-Home, received the grant as phase two winners in the EPA’s P3 (People, Prosperity and the Planet) Student Design Competition. The grant will enable them to build relief shelters and low-cost housing in the Bohol province, which is still recovering from a 2013 earthquake that was closely followed by a “super typhoon,” with sustained winds of 195 mph.  Husk-to-Home’s partner in the Philippines, the International Deaf Education Association (IDEA), is a non-profit that builds temporary homes and community facilities after natural disasters.

“Up to this point, much of the work we’ve done has focused on scientific research and testing small prototype boards. This grant will allow the real engineering to begin. It is exciting to think that in a year or two we could be constructing houses built from our material,” said Colin Eckerle, an environmental engineering student who has been working on the project since 2014.

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