Environmental Innovation Practicum

Environmental Innovation Practicum 2014

Fall Quarter | 2 credits | Tuesdays, 4-5:50pm | Paccar Hall 292

Deborah Hagen-Lukens
None. Recommended for juniors, seniors, and grad students.
ENTRE 443/543,  ENGR 498, ENVIR 495.


Discover the universe of cleantech solutions to our most pressing environmental challenges.  You’ll identify problems, team up to create solutions, and present those solutions to the class. Please note that only enrolled students may join project teams.

The seminar portion of this class will consist of a selection of required readings and a series of industry experts who will speak on topics like clean technology, renewable energy, and climate capitalism. Lectures are open to the public. See below for a list of speakers:

2014 Schedule | Subject to change. | Lectures are open to the public space permitting.

Date Subject Speakers
Welcome to the Environmental Innovation Practicum!
Environmental Entrepreneurs Panel
Dr. David Kirtley, Helion Energy

Chris Metcalfe, Korvata

Stacy Flynn, Loopool

Assessing Life Cycles

Professor Dr. Joyce Cooper of UW’s Mechanical Engineering Department will discuss Life Cycle Assessment — a technique for assessing the potential environmental aspects associated with a product or service and improving product development, design and infrastructure.

A recognized expert in her field, Dr. Cooper established UW’s Design for Environment Lab, which conducts research that helps us understand both environmental implications, such as using rare materials and contributions to climate change, and socio-economic implications, such as job creation and changes in resource markets for any product or service.

Joyce Cooper, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering, UW

Remaking How We Make Things

When most think of wind turbines, they think of those massive towers stretching across the open spaces of Central Washington near the Columbia River where the wind is steady and strong. Pete Agtuca, Founder of 3 Phase Energy Systems,  says that “Powersails”, his patented, portable wind turbines, can generate energy right where it’s needed, whether in urban areas of the Puget Sound or remote areas of the Philippines.  Powersails are much shorter, and the ultra-light weight blades are sheathed in fabric, much like a sail.

This Practicum session will be followed by a reception during which students and guests are invited to meet and chat with the speaker(s).

Pete Agtuca, 3 Phase Energy Systems, maker of Powersails

Dr. Eric Rasmussen, Infinitum Humanitarian Systems (IH-S)

Eric is CEO of IH-S, which is all about socially responsible manufacturing. He’s also a Senior Fellow at the Rocky Mountain Institute. And he’s a medical doctor engaged with the global Ebola issue.


Renewable Energy

Jan Allen, President, Impact Bioenergy

Patrick Leslie, Emerging Technologies Program Manager, Puget Sound Energy

Russ Weed
VP Business Development, UniEnergy Technologies

Greening the Built Environment

Ash Awad, Vice President-Energy & Facility Services, McKinstry 

Aaron Fairchild, CEO and Founder, Green Canopy

Alternative Fuels

Hoby Douglass, Director, VP Sustainable Business Development, General BioDiesel

Sean Newsum, Director of Environmental Strategy, Boeing

Veteran's Day

No Classes

Growing a Better World: Agriculture and Food Production
Dr. Steve Jones, Professor of Crop and Soil Sciences, Director of the Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center, Washington State University

Making Business Sustainable

Josh Henretig, Group Manager, Environmental Sustainability, Microsoft Corporation

Jacqueline Drumhaller, Manager, Environmental Affairs, Alaska Airlines


Students will work in teams to present a proposed cleantech solution to an environmental problem. The final deliverable for the class is a 5-10 minute team presentation covering:

  • The extent of the problem and how it is manifested
  • Your proposed solution
  • What’s involved in implementing the solution?
  • What will your prototype be? (Only if you plan to enter the Environmental Innovation Challenge)
  • Solutions that have been tried already and why yours is better/cheaper/faster or just more interesting. 
  • Is there a market for this?

Teams formed in class are encouraged (but not required) to go on to compete in the annual UW Environmental Innovation Challenge, April 2, 2015.

For information on the course or the UW Environmental Innovation Challenge contact Pam Tufts, ptufts@uw.edu