Patented soil developed by UCF’s Stormwater Management Academy is helping green roofs come to life.
Ever walk by one of the many “green roofs” sprouting up on buildings and done a double take? They’re eye-catching sights lush grass and other plant life purposefully adorning the top of a building.
At the very root of many of those settings, virtually unseen, is an innovative soil media patented as Bold & Goldª.
Developed by the University of Central Florida’s Stormwater Management Academy, Bold & Gold a play off UCF’s “Black and Gold” moniker provides significant filtration and reduction of stormwater runoff. It’s now deployed on more than 50,000 square feet of green roofs across the state.
Bold & Gold soil media is distributed on top of a roof’s waterproof membrane. Providing a 2- to 6-inch deep filtration layer, it’s touted as delivering exceptional extraction of pollutants, reducing the overall amount of runoff, and serving as a fertile material for plants and grasses to flourish.
“At the core of Bold & Gold is an expanded clay material we’ve developed that provides excellent extraction capabilities for nitrogen and phosphorus pollutants,” cites Marty Wanielista, Ph.D., P.E., professor emeritus with UCF’s Stormwater Management Academy. “In addition, over the course of a year, this lightweight and durable soil media can reduce the overall amount of the stormwater runoff by approximately 75 percent when used with a cistern to recycle the water to the roof.”
A commercial entity about to bloom? Just maybe. Green roof design is spreading. Industry association Green Roofs for Healthy Cities has reported a 10 percent growth in their usage across North America last year Ñ a decidedly green glow for Bold & Gold.
Innovation Network on the Way
I-Corps is coming to UCF.
The National Science Foundation has selected UCF to provide Florida’s first implementation of one of the agency’s flagship programs to foster innovation among faculty and students, promote regional coordination and linkages in the innovation ecosystem, and develop a national Innovation Network.
The idea behind I-Corps is to encourage teams of university scientists and post-doctoral or graduate students to go outside their laboratories into the marketplace, where they can learn firsthand about entrepreneurship while exploring the commercial landscape.
“We are going to be teaching researchers and graduate students how to be entrepreneurs,” says Tom O’Neal, associate vice president
for the Office of Research & Commercialization and UCF I-Corps site executive program director. “Our objective is to increase the number of successful spinout companies based on university research and innovation.”
UCF, already recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurial networks, becomes one of 15 universities nationwide to lead an I-Corps program. The $300,000 I-Corps funding will enable UCF to reach more potential inventors and innovators Ñ with a goal of recruiting and training 96 entrepreneurial teams that could result in 96 new companies over the three-year grant period. The program will offer up to $3,000 to each selected team to be used as early development seed money.
The I-Corps program will be housed at UCF’s newly established Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the collective
home for UCF’s existing entrepreneurship programs. A selected group of teams will be participating in a spring pilot program boot camp
Silent Night Making Noise
MagLev Energy Inc. (MEI), along with UCF Professor Thomas Wu and his research team from the College of Engineering and Computer Science,
has invented the motor/generator technology and accompanying electronics that power an all-electric Auxiliary Power Unit (APU). The technology enables the device, called Silent Nightª, to operate without generating harmful emissions from fossil fuel-powered APUs.
A new technology to reduce fossil fuel usage in commercial trucks, potentially saving large fleet owners money while reducing carbon emissions into the atmosphere? That’s what a Florida-based company has developed in partnership with UCF researchers.
No-idle regulations in many jurisdictions throughout the country require commercial drivers to shut off their engines for meals, deliveries and mandatory rest stops. MEI’s electric APU powers air conditioning, lights, television, computers and other “hotel” amenities overnight and when the truck engine is turned off. Silent Night uses highly efficient lithium ion batteries together with a proprietary high-efficiency motor design to cycle through an industry-leading 10 hours of air conditioning (at 10,000 BTUs) or heat. In addition, the APU can power up to 2,500 watts of power simultaneously, enough for lights and a small television or computer and other amenities. Prototyped as a bolt-on replacement, it’s able to operate at about 60 percent of the cost of fossil fueled APUs.
Although still in the prototype stage, MEI officials expect to sell the product in limited quantities by the end of the year and begin full production by mid-2015.