Distributed Energy Systems


Efficiency and Sustainability



Dr. George Mulholland, Professor Emeritus Mechanical Engineering

Karen Mikel, Program Coordinator





WERC: A Consortium for Environmental Education

and Technology Development

New Mexico State University



WERC, A Consortium for Environmental Education and Technology Development, administrative offices at New Mexico State University, the Materials Corridor Partnership Initiative at the University of Texas at El Paso, and the Centro de Investigacíon en Materiales Avanzados (CIMAV) in Chihuahua, Mexico teamed to research Distributed Energy Systems for Efficiency and Sustainability.

The United States/Mexico border is one of the longest international boundaries in the world. It extends from Brownsville, Texas on the Gulf of Mexico to San Diego, California on the Pacific, a total of 3,141 kilometers. The land portion of the boundary is 2,018 kilometers and separates California, Arizona, and New Mexico from the Mexican states of Baja, Sonora, and Chihuahua. The Rio Grande separates Texas from the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, and Tamaulipas and extends for 1,123 kilometers.

The border area is defined by a 1983 international accord between the United States and Mexico (La Paz Agreement). This region is usually considered to be the area 100 kilometers from the border extending into each country and includes a combined United States and Mexican population of over 12 million people.

The economy of the region varies greatly with the prosperous areas intermingled among areas of poverty. The population of the border region is growing twice as fast as the national average in the United States and is predominately Hispanic.

The United States Department of Energy (DOE) recently initiated an effort to improve conditions within the border region. This bi-national effort, entitled the National Border Technology Partnership Program, is tasked to "deploy mature innovative technologies to solve waste and energy problems that threaten public health and environment, and help environmental security." The program includes technology transfer and deployment, economic development, and materials research initiative.

In Phase I and II the team developed several concepts for feasibility demonstrations: remote housing, sustainable farming, new sustainable communities, distributed generation of electric power, and landfill and animal manure clean-up. Phase III will continue anaerobic digestion research, develop a fuel cell testing laboratory, modeling and analysis activities, materials research, and production of biogas and organic waste destruction.

The results from phase I and II and suggestions for implementation of Phase III will be discussed at this presentation.