MAE Solar Engineering
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department

at San Jose State University  
Charles W. Davidson
College of Engineering

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This page last updated
March 2013


zem house
ARTWORK: Dr. L. Speer


ZEM House
A ZEM (Zero EMissions) House will be designed and built during the 2010-2011 academic year by a huge, multidisciplinary student team from engineering, business, political science, and industrial design. It is part of a novel co-instructional model for multidisciplinary senior project supervision in sustainability topics to be piloted at SJSU, which is funded by the National Science Foundation (Award No. EEC 0935194). The principle investigator is J. Rhee, and the co-PIs are: D. Parent, A. Basu, L. Speer, and L. Gerston. Read more about us on the MAE webpage, and receive updates from Facebook and LinkedIn. Our project website is coming soon, so stay tuned...

zem car

ZEM Vehicle
The ZEM (Zero EMissions) Car, also known as the Human Hybrid Powered Vehicle (HHPV) is a multidisciplinary project. It is the first of its kind to be powered by human, solar, and electric energy. The target audience is people living in urban areas and developing countries. This project won the National I2P (Idea-to-Product) Competition for EPICS and Social Entrepreneurship at Princeton University on March 24, 2007, and was featured on CBS news on 4/2/07. This project is currently exploring the addition of wind power in the academic year 2007-2008.
Cogenerating Solar Collector
The efficiency of modern photovoltaic cells converting sunlight to electricity is typically 7% to 40%; the remainder of the energy is lost as heat. Furthermore, photovoltaic cells must be kept cool to achieve rated efficiencies. This project explores the design and construction of a solar collector that captures waste heat from photovoltaics with a thermal management fluid, and optimizes the electricity-heat output ratios for various target applications.
Solar Ice Maker
An intermittent absorption refrigeration cycle can be powered entirely by heat – in this case, solar energy. The design uses no electricity whatsoever, and could be of use in non-industrialized areas without access to central power. 'Solar Ice', headed by J. Rhee and A. Basu, was a finalist in the 2008 California Clean Tech Open, a business plan competition for green entrepreneurs. Read about this project in NBC Universal's DVICE tech blog and!

Solar Water Heating
Solar water heating is in widespread use in sunny climates, and typically has a shorter payback period than the installation of photovoltaic panels. In this project, our students are applying their talents to community service by designing and overseeing the installation of a solar water heating system for the Portuguese Community Center (POSSO) in San Jose, CA. Close collaboration with POSSO, EPICS at SJSU, and the Neighborhood Housing Services organization in San Jose is an integral part of this project.