Sustainable Utilities Research and Education

About SURE!

The overarching goal of our research is to find solutions within the water energy nexus to provide sustainable solutions to renewable energy, wastewater recycling and resource recovery. More specifically, the team has worked on algae based wastewater treatment, algae biofuels, conversion of wastewater solids to energy, potable re-use and dairy wastewater treatment. The work focuses on innovative solutions that will lead to technology adoption within the broader context of the water resource recovery and energy sectors.

Our Mission

Help expand the wastewater recycling workforce and develop new sustainability technologies.

sustainability in motion

View our program video featuring Carly giving an overview and tour of the City of San Luis Obispo Water Resource Recovery Facility. The video highlights the facility’s and programs’ focus on water and energy sustainability. She discusses the growth of the facility and research programs since their inception in 2007, starting with just one graduate student and a few small tanks. Currently, the program boasts twenty experimental tanks and an impressive 2,200 Cal Poly students involved in SURE!, showcasing a significant commitment to research, innovation, and education in water resource management and sustainability.

excellence through experience

Graduate student Hayley attributes her decision to pursue a master’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Cal Poly to her involvement in the SURE! research program. Beginning her journey as an undergraduate testing water samples, she found herself increasingly drawn to the evolving research in the lab. Over time, her involvement deepened, fueling her passion for the work. Hayley’s dedication and inspiration led her to continue her research through the graduate program. Her journey highlights the transformative impact of hands-on experiences and mentorship in shaping academic and professional trajectories. To learn more about her journey, watch her webinar!

On average, we manage 3-6 simultaneous, multi-year projects, securing $5 million in funding over five years from esteemed entities such as USDOE, CEC, USDA, USEPA, WERF, water districts, and various companies.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and the City of San Luis Obispo were honored with the 2021 Water Environment Federation Award for their longstanding work in water education and research.

Our Services

Thank you to our sponsors

our latest news

  • SLOlidify our water future – Interactive Virtual Q&A Panel | May 26, 11 AM – 12 PM, Event Flyer
  • Video from KCOY: Cal Poly students researching ways to turn algae into transportation fuel, Youtube Link
  • Tribune article and video: Cal Poly students study how algae can cut wastewater treatment costs, Link to ArticleLink to Video
  • 2022 CASA Awards of Excellence: Link to Video

Interested in Joining?

Join the Water Energy Sustainability Training Team (WESTT) for a hands-on activity course offered by the Sustainable Utilities Research and Education Program. Technical elective units may be available.

Apply by June 9th, 2023, and seize the opportunity to enhance your expertise in sustainable water and energy solutions.

program contact

Tryg Lundquist

SURE! Program Director