• Meet Baylor’s national leader on sustainable, renewable energy

    Dr. Annette von Jouanne

    Waves. Wind. Rays. Each is a renewable energy source that can power everything from small devices (like your iPhone) to entire ships. But how do we harness that power? And why is it important we do so?

    Dr. Annette von Jouanne, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Baylor, is the expert.

    To von Jouanne, electric energy is the most efficient, most sustainable, and most respectful way forward. She explains that the makeup of the earth resembles a large heat exchange machine driven by the sun; the uneven heating of the earth’s surface creates the wind, and the wind drives the waves.

    “Wind energy and wave energy are a concentrated form of solar energy — and all three can be harvested and converted into electrical energy,” says von Jouanne. “The Lord designed the earth with copious amounts of energy available in the environment for us to use. Discovering ways to use them ultimately honors Him and His creation.”

    Once these powers are put to use, they’ve proven to be more efficient. “Electric motors are efficient over the entire speed range, whereas a gas turbine generator is not as productive. It’s also better for the planet as a whole,” says von Jouanne.

    Dr. von Jouanne came to Baylor in 2017 after 22 years at Oregon State, where she initiated OSU’s wave energy program and developed it into an internationally recognized multidisciplinary program. She also co-directed the Wallace Energy Systems & Renewables Facility, one of the highest power university-based energy systems labs in the nation.

    “My wave energy work was particularly impacting, as I was considered one of the pioneers in the field,” says von Jouanne. “The success of that program required lots of support and collaboration on state, federal and industry levels. I’m really pleased we were able to come together for the greater good.”

    When it comes to teaching, von Jouanne says positivity is the way to go. “Enthusiasm is contagious,” she says. “I enjoy working with students in the classroom and lab, and I make it a point to heavily encourage them about the great impact they will have on our energy future.”

    Additionally, von Jouanne has received national recognition for her research and teaching, and she’s a National Academy of Engineering “Celebrated Woman Engineer.” She currently is working on a few sustainable transportation projects, most notably researching with the Navy to build an all-electric ship and advancing autonomous capabilities in electric vehicles.

    Sic ’em, Dr. von Jouanne!