EVERETT, Wash. – October 5, 2016 – This week, Washington State University’s (WSU) newest campus in Everett hosted a symposium for the Joint Center for the Deployment and Research of Earth-Abundant Materials (JCDREAM).
The symposium focused on the future of using earth abundant materials instead of rare earth elements, precious metals and so-called ‘conflict minerals,’ which are essential to nearly all of the electronic devices people use each day. That includes your car, computer and all of your lights.
“One of the reasons the colors are so bright on your computer screen is because of rare earths — Europium in particular,” said Chris Keane, vice president of research at WSU.
According to Dr. Alex King of the Critical Materials Institute, who was the symposium’s keynote speaker, modern mobile phones contain about 75 elements alone. That’s up from 30 when the first mobile phones reached consumers. That trend will continue and demand will increase for limited rare earth resources, according to King, especially as the world’s population sees greater economic prosperity and more people have the financial capacity to buy such devices.
The Daily Herald reported that 90 percent of rare earth production in the world is controlled by China. “One of the impacts of JCDREAM could be to make that statistic irrelevant,” said Dr. Dave Field, associate dean for research in the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, who serves as the acting director of the center. “The center’s research will focus on alternatives to various rare earth elements and better methods of recycling them from common electronic devices.”
The center, headquartered at WSU North Puget Sound at Everett, was funded by legislation championed by Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton. Kicking off the symposium, Smith said, “I’m so excited to learn how we can partner with you to propel these issues forward. If we harness the intellectual horsepower at our research institutions, and we help to educate a generation of young men and women who long to create economies that are sustainable, then we can lead this nation.”
Smith added, “The second part is to be able build it here, to deploy it here, to raise up jobs that have the opportunity of not only being a benefit to our economy, but to the world.”
Research will be a collaborative effort led by WSU, the University of Washington and Pacific Northwest National Laboratories (PNNL). Community colleges will also become partners, as well as several local industry leaders.
“It was critical to launch our research with strong partnerships from local industry. We had a tremendous reception from leaders from Modumetal, PACCAR, The Boeing Company, EnerG2, Kaiser Aluminum, and so many more,” said Field. “This symposium brought the right people together and clarified our purpose. It was exactly how we wanted to move this research forward.”
“We are thrilled to be launching JCDREAM as our first research initiative at our campus in Everett,” WSU Everett chancellor Paul Pitre said. “Community leaders in the North Puget Sound region are looking for growth in research from WSU and opportunities for that research to seed a series of new companies in the region. This is where that begins.”
Looking to the future of the burgeoning research, Smith said, “Let’s take this toddler and do something with the amazing potential of JCDREAM. I know each and every year it’s going to be so exciting to see it grow and flourish. With your help we will indeed help lead this nation and lead this world.”
Contact: Dave Field
EVERETT, Wash. – A $250,000 gift from the Boeing Company means Washington State University’s new building in Everett will be equipped with state-of-the art technology when it opens its doors next fall.
In recognition of the generous gift and the Boeing Company’s long-standing support for the university, WSU President Kirk Schulz said the university will designate the Fabrication Lab on the first floor of the new 95,000-square-foot building in Everett as the Boeing Innovation Studio.
The Boeing gift will allow the 900-square-foot lab space to contain an array of state-of-the-art equipment, including a 3D printer and scanner, concept CNC mill, laser cutter and more, providing students with the opportunity to learn and create using the very tools that they will work with when they enter the workforce in Washington’s aerospace and other cutting-edge industries.
“Boeing will be a significant jobs provider in Washington for decades to come. Our hope and goal is that those future jobs will continue to be filled by kids who grow up right here in the state,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner. “We are working hard today to give Washington students opportunities for employment within aerospace, manufacturing and other STEM-related fields when they graduate. Despite the always dynamic aerospace industry, Boeing remains consistent in its investment in our future here in Washington.”
“WSU established a presence in North Puget Sound to be able to deliver ready-to-work employees directly to the aerospace industry and other advanced manufacturing industries in our region,” said Schulz. “This generous gift from The Boeing Company will allow us to equip our new building in Everett with the type of sophisticated technologies our students will be working with once they enter the workforce.”
The new building will house existing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs in Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Software Engineering and Data Analytics, as well as Integrated Strategic Communication and Hospitality Business Management. All of the building’s lab spaces, including the Boeing Innovation Studio, are designed to showcase innovation at its finest, as the engineering students work on challenging capstone projects, club projects, and hands-on coursework. The spaces will serve to bring together students from multiple disciplines as they tackle open-ended, challenging problems.
”The curricula offered and student activity in the building will be enhanced by such unique infrastructure, as a wind tunnel, devices such as a robotic arm, as well as all the basic equipment necessary to teach the fundamentals of mechanical, electrical and software engineering,” said Paul Pitre, chancellor of the WSU North Puget Sound at Everett campus.
More broadly, the engineering labs serve to fulfill three of WSU’s strategic plan goals of providing a transformative student experience (with emphasis in improving retention through an enriched set of student experiences), building a stronger support structure to recruit and retain transfer students, and facilitating student engagement in high-impact learning experiences.
WSU’s newest campus in Everett uniquely serves the local population by providing a seamless pathway for transfer students as well as maintaining a strong collaboration with community colleges in the region, including Everett Community College, Edmonds Community College and Skagit Valley College. WSU North Puget Sound at Everett has also participated in the WSU Boeing Mentorship program for several years, received Boeing scholarship support, and will be participating with its first interdisciplinary Boeing Scholars cohort this coming year.
Robert Strenge, WSU News, 509-335-3583, firstname.lastname@example.org