Research Groups

Sustainable Biofuels Project

Objectives: As part of a partnership between KCC’s STEM Program and the Culinary Institute of the Pacific, used cooking oil is utilized to sustainably synthesize biodiesel. The biodiesel produced is then used to power the Culinary Institute’s food service carts. Students experiment with different mechanical and chemical processes to better optimize biodiesel manufacturing. Students also explore methods to make the manufacturing process more sustainable and ecologically. Other focuses include developing methods to recycle the glycerin byproduct that remains as a result of the biodiesel synthesis. Uses for glycerin include soap and candle products.


Solar Tracker Project

Objectives: Students test the efficiency of double-axis solar panel systems by constructing an automated tracker system able to align a double-axis solar panel towards the sun at all times to increase the gathered solar energy efficiency. Students develop and program an automated tracker to move according to a 5-sensor system. A secondary standalone double-axis tracker will also be constructed. Energy gathered from both systems can be compared to find the accuracy of the automated tracker as well as compare it to the energy gathered by a stationary set up.



Objectives: Using electronic video pupillography (EVP), an objective method for monitoring the size and dynamics of the pupil, students investigate the possibility of using pupil instability to determine daytime sleepiness. Additional research involving pupillometry includes the development of computer algorithms to determine daytime sleepiness.