Saturday April 22 is Earth Day!

Many know West Virginia University for our Mountaineer Pride. The football team does pretty well (usually) and the basketball team goes pretty far in March Madness. Many do not realize the academic successes here at WVU.

With a relatively high acceptance rate, the school can be overlooked when it comes to academics. Most of the time when WVU makes national headlines, it’s for partying gone wrong.

So in honor of Earth Day, let’s take a look back at what WVU has accomplished in efforts to conserve the wild and wonderful state, as well as the nation as a whole.

One of the largest headlines WVU made recently has been their results of the study conducted by WVU’s Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines and Emissions, or CAFEE. They found that nitrogen oxide emissions, one of the top 6 common air pollutants, from Volkswagen diesel engines exceeded the EPA’s standard. One vehicle exceeded the standard by a factor of 15 to 35 and the other by a factor of 5 to 20.

News broke that Volkswagen had admitted to using a “defeat device” in its diesel passenger cars. Investigations by the California Air Resources Board and U.S. EPA’s had revealed that the automaker changed code in the car’s central computer in order to cheat on emissions tests. (

Major media outlets were contacting WVU and it was out of the ordinary for the school to make major national headlines. News outlets including Motor Trend, Roadshow by CNET and Time magazine were all reporting on this story.

The CAFEE Team
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This is not the first time researchers at CAFEE have been involved in off-cycle emissions research. Back in the 1990s, CAFEE was chosen to conduct in-use emissions testing for heavy-duty engines.This led to the center developing the world’s first mobile on-board diesel emissions testing system. (


This success has led to the investment in WVU research and advancement. The United States Department of Energy donated $1.25 million dollars to the university for research on renewable energy. The university also  joined the newest branch of the United States Department of Energy’s National Network of Manufacturing Institutes. Rapid Advancement in Process Intensification Deployment institute, or RAPID. John Hu, Statler Chair in engineering

RAPID is fast-tracking research that will directly increase the productivity of industry manufacturing processes while simultaneously lowering energy costs, lowering capital equipment costs and making higher gains in overall efficiency. (

WVU is in this program with the best of the best including,

  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Georgia Tech
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • Idaho National Laboratory
  • DuPont
and more!

Headlines and stories like this proves that WVU is a leader among advancement in new conservation technologies. However, the school still struggles to have the reputation that some other big name schools have for their research. The New York Times even wrote an article about how the researchers behind the Volkswagen emissions testing have received little reward for their findings.

Still, WVU pushes forward to gain the recognition they deserve. Dan Carder, director of the university’s Center for Alternative Fuels Engines and Emissions, was named one of Time magazine’s most influential people in 2016. WVU is even honored to host the kickoff at the nations largest clean vehicle awareness event in Texas. You can learn more about the event here.

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On campus, the WVU Sierra Student Coalition is hosting an Earth Day Celebration on the downtown campus. There will be environmental speakers, music, activities, and food.

So this Earth Day we should celebrate and support the accomplishments the university has made in conserving the environment.