Agriculture and engineering join forces to promote renewable energy

Writer: Isabel A. Rodriguez

New Mexico State University’s College of Engineering has partnered with the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences to create a series of short videos that promote renewable energy.

Tom Jenkins

NMSU engineering technology Professor Tom Jenkins demonstrates the use of a solar-powered water pump. (Courtesy photo)

The videos – each about four minutes in length – are available on the NMSU website and YouTube.

“The Engineering New Mexico Resource Network at NMSU is committed to expanding readily available training materials for New Mexico residents,” said Patricia Sullivan, assistant dean of the College of Engineering. “This first series on renewable energy supports the growing need for applications that meet the needs of the state’s rural population and we are pleased to team with the Cooperative Extension Service in making these materials available.”

“The video project came about through discussions with NMSU’s Cooperative Extension Service,” said Thomas Jenkins, engineering technology and survey engineering professor at NMSU. “We talked about answering renewable energy questions for constituents.”

ACES administers the Cooperative Extension Service.

While the target audience was initially citizens of New Mexico, Jenkins said that thanks to social media, anyone can benefit from the advice in the videos.

“As energy costs continue to climb, New Mexicans are increasingly asking our NMSU Extension faculty, located in every county of the state, for down-to-earth information about alternative energy,” said Jon Boren, associate dean and director of the NMSU Cooperative Extension Service.

“This collaborative project between NMSU”s Extension Service and Engineering New Mexico Resource Network has produced an outstanding educational program that is both scientifically accurate and practical.”

“Because NMSU is a land-grant institution, we have a mission to do this kind of work for the people it serves,” added Jenkins.

“Once we show that the videos have an audience, maybe we can expand topics to be addressed,” he said. “Featured video topics include small wind turbines, standalone solar arrays and sterling engine models.”

Some of the systems featured in the videos have already been applied on the NMSU campus, such as the Student Health Center’s solar panels, which supply electricity.

“Hopefully we’ll have more use of renewable energy on campus,” said Jenkins, who credited Tomilee Turner, manager of media services, and her staff for helping in video production.

“Many of the demonstrated modules were designed as student projects,” he said. “That’s one of the interesting parts of this. We’ve applied students’ hands-on experiments, and they become a benefit to the community through service learning.”

Jenkins appears in the videos and explains the concepts and practices of each topic. Kenny Stevens, NMSU engineering technology professor, is also featured.

To view the videos, visit

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