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Tignis Sponsors University of Washington Industry Capstone Program

Author: Jon Herlocker

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The University of Washington College of Engineering is renowned for its innovation. Their Industry Capstone Program brings together UW students and chosen companies to tackle multidisciplinary engineering problems. The program allows students to work side-by-side with industry technical partners and faculty on real-world projects, and provides valuable experience, skills and connections.

Tignis recently sponsored a UW Industry Capstone Project, giving support to a team of talented seniors who were selected to design and build an innovative HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) modeling solution.

This 6-month project was proposed for academic review by College of Engineering faculty, with funding provided by Tignis to cover project and program costs. The student team—Robert A. Rochlin (B.S. Mechanical Engineering), Zhenghao Guo (M.S. Electrical and Computer Engineering), and Tiankai Zheng (M.S. Electrical Engineering)—were supported by a team of experts from Tignis, PSR Mechanical, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (a U.S. Department of Energy lab).

The students designed and implemented software responsible for getting IIoT sensor data from buildings into a normalized format in the cloud, worked with HVAC experts to identify the most common issues affecting performance of HVAC systems, created analytics algorithms to detect those issues, and designed a web-based application to expose all the value to HVAC engineers.

This project provided the students with real-world experience in highly marketable skillsets such as IIoT software design, big data analytics, data science, machine learning (ML), control theory, HVAC optimization, and hybrid physics/ML models.

The outcome of this project was aimed at increasing the speed at which the industry can identify and validate opportunities to improve HVAC efficiency and cost, which could have a direct and broad impact on energy usage globally.