PORTLAND, Ore. – The Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges & Universities (The Alliance) has awarded two separate grants totaling $30,000 from the Katherine Bisbee II Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation to the University of Portland Shiley School of Engineering for undergraduate student conservation research.

The research involves collaboration with other Alliance member colleges and universities and partners from business and industry. Each project is funded by a $15,000 grant from The Alliance and the Katherine Bisbee II Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation. The grant’s funds are to be applied to projects that are easily discernable, have an element of creativity, and show a long-term benefit to the people and/or natural areas of Oregon.

The first grant extends the solar-thermal energy research project in partnership with George Fox University and Portland General Electric (PGE). The project, submitted by UP engineering professor Heather Dillon, provides students and faculty with a “real world” challenge in terms of developing a new type of turbine uniquely suited for Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) systems.

The University of Portland team will enhance the ORC using an innovative turbine technology for enhanced power generation as well continue to implement design changes to the solar collector. The George Fox team will assist with design and testing of the Rankine cycle by assisting with data acquisition and controls systems.  George Fox engineering professor Chad Stillinger is a collaborator on the project. The industry partner is PGE.

A second grant, submitted by UP visiting engineering professor Jordan Farina, extends the work being done to investigate issues related to the design of a prototype isothermal natural gas compressor used to fuel fleet vehicles. Collaborator on the project is George Fox University chemistry professor Davida Brown. The industry partner is NW Natural.

The Katherine Bisbee II Fund creative conservation research project has been funded by a direct grant to The Alliance from the Oregon Community Foundation (OCF). The Alliance/Katherine Bisbee II Fund of the OCF project carried a collaboration requirement of a minimum of two Alliance member colleges and universities and one business and industry partner.

About The Alliance

The Alliance represents 18 of Oregon’s regionally accredited, nonprofit private institutions of higher education. Together, Alliance colleges and universities enroll more than 35,000 students, conferring approximately one in four baccalaureate degrees and about half of the master’s and doctoral degrees awarded in Oregon. More than one in four graduates complete their degrees with zero debt; average debt for those students who graduate with debt is on par with the national and Oregon average. The Alliance intersects the needs of business and industry, with private nonprofit colleges and the public good to create real solutions that build a more educated and skilled workforce for Oregon.