Center for Sustainable Energy and Environmental Engineering

Research, grants, and publications

Research Interests:

Dr. Tarek Abdel-Salam

My research is focused in two areas: technical research in thermo-fluids and engineering education. My technical research includes computational fluid dynamics methods related to combustion processes, fuel injection, fluid flow and micro mixers, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and environmental management. In engineering education, my research includes areas related to recruitment to STEM fields, virtual engineering laboratories and distance education.

Dr. Randall Etheridge

My primary research interests are in the areas of agricultural and ecological engineering. A goal of my research is to increase the sustainability of the agriculture industry by reducing water use and improving the water quality leaving agricultural operations. In the field of ecological engineering, my research focuses on improving the design of coastal ecosystem creation and restoration projects to maximize nutrient retention while also providing other ecosystem services. My expertise includes high frequency measurement of nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations to improve the accuracy of water quality monitoring projects.

Dr. Praveen Malali

My research interests are in the areas of ocean-wave energy conversion and solar-thermal power generation. With an overall aim of increasing energy conversion efficiency while maintaining the structural integrity of the converter, I seek novel solutions to control aspects of single and multiple point absorber wave energy converters. Further, I want to explore new and efficient designs for the power take-off systems for wave energy converters. Another topic of interest to me is the sensitivity analysis and performance optimization of solar-heat engine cycles used in solar-thermal power generation.

Greening Coastal Vacation Rental Properties (EPA, Source Reduction Program 2012-2015)

PI: Dr. Tarek Abdel-Salam


In this project 31 environmental site audits of vacation rental homes were conducted in the vacation rental dense communities of North Carolina’s Outer Banks and provide individual written reports outlining cost effective pollution prevention and green building recommendations based on the assessment of the rental property. Information on the specific needs of coastal vacation rental properties were collected to improve the NC GreenTravel recognition criteria for vacation rentals. Resources specific to improving the energy efficiency and environmental performance of vacation rentals were created. Property owners and vacation rental property management businesses were offered relevant and applicable information to improve the environmental performance of their properties.


Lean and Green at North Carolina Wineries and Breweries: Putting Theory into Practice. (EPA, Pollution Prevention Program, 2014-2017) 

PI: Dr. Tarek Abdel-Salam

The project translates Lean and Green principles to production practices by providing on-site pollution prevention technical assistance for the craft brewing and small to medium winery industry of North Carolina, both growing industries in the state. This effort serves to reduce pounds of pollution, conserve water and/or energy, reduce greenhouse gases, and save money through economy, energy, and environment (E3).


Greening of Food and Beverage Industries in North Carolina (EPA, Pollution Prevention, 2016-2018)

PI: Dr. Tarek Abdel-Salam


This project will address one of the P2 National Emphasis Area, “Food Manufacturing and Processing: Implement P2 projects to support more sustainable food manufacturing and processing resulting in reduced greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, hazardous materials generation and use, and/or business costs.” The project will:

Make available specific technical assistance to food and beverage industries in North Carolina seeking information about source reduction opportunities, including providing on-site technical advice to assist in the development of source reduction plans.

Target assistance to food and beverage industries in North Carolina for whom lack of information is an impediment to source reduction.

Provide training in source reduction techniques.

Organize seminars/discussion sessions on pollution source reduction and production waste reduction.


Investigating Drivers of Storm water Flooding in Coastal Communities: A Citizen in Science Project (NSF Eager grant) 

PI: Dr. Randall Etheridge

The project will investigate the coastal communities on Bogue Banks that frequently experience flooding after significant precipitation events. Etheridge will work with town managers to employ engineering solutions to alleviate the effects of storm water flooding events using both scientists and citizens for data collection.


Participatory Mapping of Surface Water Hydrology as an Initial Step in the Restoration of Lake Mattamuskeet (DOI US Fish and Wildlife Service) 

PI: Dr. Randall Etheridge


Lake Mattamuskeet is a natural lake system located on the Albemarle-Pamlico Peninsula on the coast of North Carolina. The 40,000-acre Lake Mattamuskeet is the centerpiece of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), which provides habitat for wintering waterfowl and other migratory birds. Mattamuskeet NWR annually supports a significant percentage of wintering waterfowl in the Atlantic Flyway. Lake Mattamuskeet has historically contained dense beds of submerged aquatic vegetation that provide food for swans, diving ducks, and puddle ducks and important habitat for fish, but declines in water quality are most likely the cause of recent reductions in submerged aquatic vegetation coverage in the lake. The declining water quality and loss of submerged aquatic vegetation are serious concerns to the citizens of Hyde County and the Refuge. The resources, sport, and recreational opportunities provided by Lake Mattamuskeet are important for the community and the local economy.

Despite its status as a National Wildlife Refuge, Lake Mattamuskeet has a long history of human alteration. Understanding the causes and potential corrections for water quality concerns is complicated because of the lake’s large surface area (41,000 acres), extensive shoreline (72 miles), shallow depth (average of 1 meter), and long history of hydrological alteration. In addition, many adjacent land owners farm and/or manage duck impoundments that drain into the lake and can periodically be flooded by the lake during times of high water. Agricultural production and the waterfowl impoundments are vital to the area’s economy, but their impact on the lake ecosystem is unknown.

The Refuge and community have an immediate need to improve their understanding of the complex hydrology in the region in order to develop a plan for improving water quality and restoring submerged aquatic vegetation. Due to the flat landscape and the substantial human alterations, understanding the hydrology in the watershed is nearly impossible without community input. In addition, this project will seek input from community members at the beginning of the solutions planning process as any proposed changes must be sustainable for the lake and community.


Building Net Zero Energy Sustainable Communities (Constellation, E² Energy to Educate grant)


PI: Dr. Ranjeet Agarwala  


The program is for student projects focusing on energy science, technology, and education. This project will educate and inspire students on the significance and societal benefits of sustainability and renewable energy in the preservation of environment and natural resources through a hands-on solar technology project. Around 150 students from the College of Engineering and Technology (CET) will partner with International Green Construction Code (IGCC) to develop and deploy renewable energy sustainable systems with a goal to build a net zero energy facility.

Malali, P., Chaturvedi, S., Abdel-Salam, T. (2017). Performance optimization of a regenerative Brayton heat engine coupled with a parabolic dish solar collector. Energy Conversion and Management,143, 85-95.

Curtis, S., Popke, J., Moulton, A. (2017). Climate change, agriculture, and tourism: Observations from Jamaica, in Coastal Tourism, Sustainability, and Climate Change in the Caribbean, in M. Honey and S. Hogenson (Eds.), Volume 2: Supporting Activities, New York, NY, Business Expert Press, 74-81.

Hao, H., Long, P., Curtis, S. (2017). Climate and weather impacts on tourism and vacation homes in coastal North Carolina, in M. Honey and S. Hogenson (Eds.), Coastal Tourism, Sustainability, and Climate Change in the Caribbean, Volume 1: Beaches and Hotels, New York, NY, Business Expert Press, 22-29.

Das, K. (2017). Incorporating Lean Systems in Sustainable Supply Chain Design, in K. Coperich, E. Cudney and H. Nembhard (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2017 Industrial and Systems Engineering Conference, Pittsburgh.

Malali, P., Chaturvedi, S., Abdel-Salam, T. (2016). An approximate method for prediction of thermal performance of direct expansion-solar assisted heat pump (DX-SAHP) systems for water heating applications. Energy Conversion and Management, 127, 416 – 423.

Wang, G. (2016). The Utilization of Slag in Civil Infrastructure Construction. London, UK, Cambridge, MA: Elsevier.

Wang, G., Wang, Y., Gao, J. (2016). Use of steel slag as a granular material: volume expansion prediction and usability criteria. La Revuedes Laitiers, 108, 8-23.

Das, K., Posinasetti, N. (2015). Addressing environmental concerns in closed loop supply chain design and planning. International Journal of Production Economics, 163, 34-47.

Viren, P., Vogt, C., Kline, C., Rummel, M., Tsao, J. (2015). Social network participation and coverage by tourism industry sector. Journal of Destination Marketing & Management, 4, 110-119.

Wang, Y., Wang, G., Ahn, Y. (2014). Effects of using recycled asphalt shingles in open-graded friction course on flexible pavement performance. Journal of Testing and Evaluation, 42(5), 1173-1182.

Viren, P., Kline, C., Tsao, J. (2014). Social networks and tourism in the Roanoke River Valley. Anatolia, 25(3), 483-486.

Ahn, Y., Wang, Y., Wang, G., Pearce, A. (2013). Drivers and barriers of sustainable design and construction: the perception of green building experience. Journal of Sustainable Building Technology & Urban Development, 4(1), 35-45.

Wang, Y., Wang, G., Ahn, Y. (2013). Impact of climate conditions on effectiveness of asphalt pavement preservation techniques. Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2292, 73-80.

Wang, G., Smith, G., Shores, R. (2012). Pavement noise investigation on North Carolina highways – an on-board sound intensity approach. Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, 39, 878-886.

Schneider, P., Vogt, C. (2012). Applying the 3M model of personality and motivation to adventure travelers. Journal of Travel Research, 51(6), 704 –716.

Wang, G., Thompson, R., Wang, Y. (2011). Hot-mix asphalt that contains nickel slag aggregate – laboratory evaluation of use in highway construction. Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2(2208), 1-8.

Wang, G., Thompson, R. (2011). Slag use in highway construction – the philosophy and technology of its utilization. International Journal of Pavement Research and Technology, 4(2), 97-103.

Wang, G., Wang, Y., Gao, J. (2010). Use of steel slag as a granular material: volume expansion prediction and usability criteria. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 184, 555-560.

Wang, G. (2010). Determination of the expansion force of coarse steel slag aggregate. Construction and Building Materials, 24, 1961–1966.

Wang, G. (2004). Rubblization of concrete pavement. Shanghai Highway, 2, 2-6.

Montgomery, D., Wang, G. (1992). Instant-chilled steel slag aggregate in concrete - fracture related properties. Cement and Concrete Research, 22(5), 755-760.

Montgomery, D., Wang, G. (1992). Instant-chilled steel slag aggregate in concrete - strength related properties. Cement and Concrete Research, 21(6), 1083-1091.

Montgomery, D., Wang, G. (1991). Preliminary laboratory study of steel slag for blended cement manufacture. Materials Forum, 15(4), 374-382.