Grand Valley is participating in national transportation research effort

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Grand Valley State University is among nine universities from across the country that are part of a national research coalition to address public transportation issues. Grand Valley is specifically researching ways to remanufacture, repurpose and recycle electric batteries from transit vehicles like buses.

Led by the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University, each university is concentrating on a public transportation issue. Graduate students and faculty and staff members from Grand Valley’s School of Engineering and the Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center will research ways to remanufacture batteries from buses, find alternative uses to dispose of fully-used batteries, and evaluate the overall economic impact of those processes.

One issue and challenge in public transit is using alternative fuels in buses, specifically batteries, and these types of issues have never been addressed in a comprehensive and integrated way before, said Charlie Standridge, assistant dean of the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing at Grand Valley. “West Michigan is a big battery area and our public transportation is increasingly run on batteries, so we decided it would be a great opportunity to get involved in this project,” he said.

The consortium’s areas of expertise include alternative fuels, safety and security, public policy, finance, workforce development, livable communities, environmental sustainability, economic competitiveness, new modes, and many other critical factors essential to sustainable mobility.

The consortium was awarded a 2-year, $3.49 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation in February to fund transportation research, workforce development, technology transfer and education. The National Transit Research Consortium includes Grand Valley, Rutgers University, Howard University, University of Detroit Mercy, Bowling Green State University, University of Toledo, University of Nevada, Pennsylvania State University and San Jose State University’s Mineta Transportation Institute. Click here for more information about the initiative.

Standridge said the Grand Valley group is just getting started on research and they will present their findings at conferences and in journals when they are done.