Category Archives: Research

Shonnard Delivers SCPPE Keynote Address

David Shonnard
David Shonnard

David Shonnard (ChE/SFI) delivered the keynote address at the 4th International Conference on Sustainable Chemical Product and Process Engineering (SCPPE) held in Nanjing, China from May 31 – June 3, 2016.

The conference was hosted by Nanjing Tech University and the State Key Laboratory of Materials-Oriented Chemical Engineering.

Shonnard provided an update on research into sustainable biofuels through environmental life cycle assessment.

From Tech Today.

Unscripted: To Purify a Virus

Allison Mills Interviews Caryn Heldt
Allison Mills Interviews Caryn Heldt

A new theory about virus surfaces—that they’re hydrophobic—has opened up new processes to improve vaccine production, potentially making them more affordable around the world.

Virus Flocculation

Virus hydrophobicity is the focus of research by Caryn Heldt, an associate professor of chemical engineering, who won a National Science Foundation (NSF) Early Career Award grant. Heldt’s CAREER Award will help her explore a process that causes viruses to clump, making them easier to remove.

Our focus for purification is for improved vaccine manufacturing. Reducing cost could increase adaption around the world.

Read more and watch the video at Unscripted, by Allison Mills.

Shonnard Presents at Advanced Biofuels Workshop

David Shonnard (ChE/Robbins Chair, director of the Sustainable Futures Institute) will participate in a workshop to be held in Washington, DC at the Keck Center of the National Academies from May 26 to May 27.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) requests the assistance of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in convening a two day meeting of experts who are knowledgeable about the commercial viability of advanced biofuels in the short-, medium- and long-term.

Read more at Tech Today.

Chemical Engineering News Briefs

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David Shonnard (ECM/SFI) gave an invited talk, “Biofuel Sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities” at Wayne State University for the Sustainability@Wayne seminar series on Oct. 20.

CBS Sunday Morning featured a story about David Edwards, a 1983 Michigan Tech alumnus and winner of Tech’s Melvin Calvin Medal, who designed and markets the o-phone, a phone that transmits aromas. Edwards is a biomedical engineering professor at Harvard University. Watch the story.

Faith Morrison (ChE), has been elected to the status of Fellow of the Society of Rheology. She’ll receive her certificates during the SOR 87th Annual Meeting in Baltimore in October. In his letter to Morrison, SOR President Gregory B. McKenna said the awardees recognized at the Baltimore meeting are the “inaugural” class of fellows.

Associate Dean for Research and Innovation, Adrienne Minerick (ChE), has received a $50,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for a research project titled, EAGER: Therapeutic Protein Separations via Surface Isoelectric Focusing (SIEF).

Technology Century, a science and technology news website run by the Engineering Society of Detroit, published an article about the NSF-funded meeting of multidisciplinary bioenergy researchers from Canada, the US, Central and South America that was held at Michigan Tech last week. Read the article.

In an article about graphene, The Economist mentioned Michigan Tech’s research into graphene-based 3-D bioprinting to regenerate nerve cells in patients with spinal cord injuries.

Technology Century, a science and technology news website published by the Engineering Society of Detroit, reported on a visit by ESD executives to Michigan Tech and plans to establish a student chapter of the ESD at Michigan Tech.

Tech Century, a science and technology news service published by the Engineering Society of Detroit, ran a comprehensive report and photo gallery on their tour of Michigan Tech engineering labs last week.

ScienceAroundMichigan, a science news website focusing on Michigan research, published an article on the international bioenergy conference held at Michigan Tech earlier this month.

Caryn Heldt (ChE) is the principal on a three-year research and development project that received a $349,250 grant from the National Science Foundation. The project is titled, GOALI: Graphene Paper Sensor for Disease Detection.
Also involved in the project are Adrienne Minerick (ChE), Julia King (ChE) and Warren Perger (ECE).

TV 6 and Fox UP, reported on Professor Adrienne Minerick’s (ChemEng) appointment as associate dean for research and innovation in Tech’s College of Engineering. You can view the story online.

Assistant Professor Caryn Heldt (ChE) has been awarded an Air Force Summer Faculty Fellowship to conduct research at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio on graphene biosensors.

Adrienne Minerick has been invited to serve on the Chemical Engineering Education (CEE) Journal Publications Board. Her three-year appointment will begin Fall 2015. CEE is the premier archival journal for chemical engineering educators.

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Pan American Researchers Gather in Houghton

by David Shonnard

About 40 biofuel and bioenergy researchers from many countries in the Pan American region (from Argentina to Canada) will attend a workshop hosted by the Sustainable Futures Institute at Michigan Tech tomorrow through Friday.

The goals of the workshop are to develop a research roadmap report (RRR) with diverse international perspectives and to recommend priority areas for future research. The RRR will be disseminated to funding agencies such as the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy and other federal research sponsors in the United States and their equivalents in other Pan American countries, as well as to industry and the general public.

This is the final workshop in the NSF-funded project “RCN-SEES: A Research Coordination Network on Pan American Biofuel and Bioenergy Sustainability”. The project is directed by David Shonnard (ChE) and with co-investigators Barry Solomon (SS), Kathy Halvorsen (SS), Sam Sweitz (SS) and Robert Handler (SF I).

Pan American Researchers Gather in Houghton
Pan American Researchers Gather in Houghton
Pan American Researchers Gather in Houghton
RCN Workshop on Pan American Biofuels & Bioenergy Sustainability Michigan Technological University

Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE)

Project efforts focus on woody bioenergy for heat and power, switchgrass used for cellulosic ethanol, and palm and jatropha oil for biodiesel in six case studies across Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Uruguay, Argentina, and the United States (US). This allows us to examine diverse socio-ecological systems in countries experiencing rapid bioenergy development. These systems’ complexity enables the development of new approaches to studying and assessing sustainability as it relates to dynamic systems in general, while focusing on bioenergy in particular.

Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE)
Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE)
PIRE Student Group
PIRE Student Group

More articles:

Bioenergy Across the Americas

ECNmag, an online energy magazine, reported on an international conference hosted by Michigan Tech, where 80 researchers from six countries including the US, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Uruguay met to discuss bioenergy.

Biotechnology Research Center Research Forum Awards

Maria Gencoglu
Maria Gencoglu
The Eleventh Annual Research Forum sponsored by the Biotechnology Research Center was held on Wednesday, Oct. 22, and Thursday, Oct. 23. Forty-one graduate and undergraduate students conducting research in life science, biotechnology, human health and related areas presented posters. Oral presentations were also given. Speakers included Jeremy Goldman (Bio Med), Ashutosh Tiwari (Chem), Hairong Wei (SFRES), Justin Segula (SFRES graduate student), Jingtuo Zhang (Chem graduate student) and Caleb Vogt (Bio Med undergrad student). Continue reading

First Commercial Quantities of EPA-Approved Cellulosic Ethanol Sold–With a Little Help from Michigan Tech

drshonnardScientists and engineers—including several at Michigan Technological University—have been talking for years about biofuel, particularly cellulosic ethanol, which is fuel made from trees and other woody plants. The stumbling blocks have been huge and progress, slow. But the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Renewable Fuels Standard mandates that cellulosic ethanol be blended into gasoline for use in vehicles, so the need is immediate.

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Advanced Power Systems Research Center (APS LABS) Social Event

thumbThe Michigan Tech Advanced Power Systems Research Center (APS LABS) hosted an open house and tours of their new facilities along with the Michigan Tech First Friday Social for October 2014.

Laboratory tours and presentations were given by faculty, staff and graduate student researchers.
The guests saw research, outreach and educational initiatives in mobility, sustainable transportation, and energy. Continue reading