At the U of M, there are many students and faculty studying renewable energy. Some examples include building solar cars, designing solar houses, and researching wind power.
We also have some professors and students studying another type of renewable energy: movement.
Professor Bill Robbins, associate head of the electrical and computer engineering, is an "energy scavenger." He is studying how to store and use electricity generated by people. For example, pressing on a piece of plastic that can fit in the sole of your shoe can generate enough power to run a cell phone.
Rusen Yang, professor of mechanical engineering, is studying how to use nano-generators to produce electricity from anything that moves. By attaching pieces of plastic covered in nano-wires to a bridge vibrating from traffic, electricity can be produced. Even a hamster running in a wheel can produce electricity.
Just think...one day, this research might make it possible to charge your iPod by simply walking to class!