Two researchers from UMass Amherst have concluded that making investments in energy technologies to deal with climate change will always produce a positive payoff. Erin D. Baker, associate professor of mechanical and industrial engineering, and Senay Solak, assistant professor of operations and information management, published their findings recently in the journal Production and Operations Management. The finding is good news because it means that governments can move forward with investments into research in breakthrough energy technologies, such as solar, nuclear and carbon capture, regardless of  public policy toward climate change. The research is funded through a five-year, $434,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

Dr. Briana Tomboulian, a NASA Graduate Research Fellow who earned her Ph.D. from the UMass Amherst Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department in June, has been chosen by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) to serve as the 2014-2015 ASME Congressional Fellow. The goal of ASME Congressional Fellows is to advise legislators on key science and technology issues that are often beyond the grasp of non-scientists. According to ASME, for more than 40 years Congressional Fellows have filled this knowledge gap by serving as key advisors to federal policy makers on energy, infrastructure, education, national security, technology development, and other critical national and international issues, which require general technical proficiency and specific mechanical engineering expertise.

The Supermileage Vehicle (SMV) Team from the UMass Amherst Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department placed fourth and was among five teams to achieve 1,000 miles per gallon at the annual Society of Automotive Engineers Supermileage® Competition held on June 5 and 6 at Eaton’s Proving Grounds in Marshall, Michigan. The UMass SMV team’s vehicle achieved an eye-popping 1,142 miles per gallon, 132 mpg better than the team’s impressive fourth-place finish from last year. This is the 35th year of the competition, which challenges teams to build a one-person, fuel-efficient vehicle based on a one-cylinder, four-cycle engine.