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For Immediate Release

New Wave Tank Research Now a Reality

BROWNSVILLE, TX- FEBRUARY 2, 2011- A new wave of research is coming to The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College thanks to the dream of one professor and a collaboration of corporate donors.

New Wave Tank Research Now a RealityDr. Yingchen Yang, an assistant professor in the Department of Engineering, began researching a low-cost, environmentally friendly way to generate energy from ocean waves through hands-on experiments during a two-week visit last summer to the Fluids Lab at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA.

Now, with the assistance of SpawGlass, Palmers Steel, Keppel AmFels, CTO Plumbing, Haggler/Kerr Painting, Sherwin Williams and American Wave Machines Inc., Yang can bring his research to UTB/TSC and his students.

“We are all very excited, especially the students,” Yang said. “This project would not have been able to happen without the generosity and help of everyone who supported us.”

Starting in the fall, Yang and his students will begin to research the use of harnessing ocean waves as an alternative energy source.

The total cost of the technology and wave tank needed to start Yang’s research endeavor would have totaled more than $160,000, dividing the cost between the actual 50 foot, 4,700 gallon, steel tank and the wave generator, which powers a large wooden paddle to create the waves.

The most recent donation came after the tank was delivered to its permanent home at the M-2 Building at UTB/TSC Wednesday, Jan. 26.

The project came to fruition after the UTB/TSC Office of Development contacted SpawGlass with Yang’s desire to pursue ocean wave research on campus.

“This was a great opportunity for SpawGlass to play an active role in the education and research that our local universities are conducting,” said Rene Capistran, president of SpawGlass-South Texas Region. “UTB/TSC is an integral part of our community and our local culture, and SpawGlass was proud to provide support for such a unique research program.”

 SpawGlass, who is currently constructing the Science and Technology Learning Center, has increasingly become involved in philanthropy with UTB/TSC since its first project at The International Technology, Education and Commerce Center.

The company also recently created a fund for student scholarships with the SpawGlass Foundation Endowed Scholarship.

“It is important for people to know they don’t have to go far to have great opportunities,” Capistran said. “Dr. Yang’s research is a prime example of those opportunities and I think it is in the interest of companies to invest in the future.”

Through Yang’s original concept, SpawGlass’ in-house structural engineer and Palmers Steel designed the tank. Palmers Steel also built the tank and, along with Keppel AmFels, donated the materials for construction.

Haggler/Kerr Painting and Sherwin Williams provided the commercial paint coating to prevent damage and rust, and CTO Plumbing will provide and build the necessary pipes and plumbing for the tank’s installation.

Last summer, Yang contacted American Wave Inc., who decided to partner with the university by developing a wave generator capable of generating waves with controllable heights and frequencies.

“With all this help, we are confident we will reach our goal of developing a more cost effective way to produce energy that also lowers the cost of its maintenance,” Yang said.

Department of Engineering Chair Dr. William Berg said looking into harnessing wave energy not only provides an alternative, lower maintenance cost of energy, but also, more importantly, an opportunity for students to solve real-world problems in their field.

“All research, including Dr. Yang’s, is to keep our faculty in the forefront of research, which reaches down to our students and keeps them on the forefront of engineering technology,” he said. “It is vitally important for engineering especially, for students to be challenged and keep pace with technology.”

For more information on giving to UTB/TSC, contact the Office of Development at (956) 882-4324, or make a gift online at www.utb.edu/giving.


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