Category Archives: Research

Michigan Sea Grant Funding for Pengfei Xue

Pengfei Xue
Pengfei Xue

Pengfei Xue (CEE) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $48,969 research and development grant from the University of Michigan-Michigan Sea Grant. Xue is part of the Michigan Sea Grant.

Martin Auer (CEE emeritus) is the Co-PI on the project “Cladaphora, Mussels and the Nearshore Phosphorus Shunt in Lake Michigan.”

This is the first year of a potential two-year project totaling $199,870.


Tech Biosolids Research Featured at National Conference

Jennifer Becker
Jennifer Becker

Jennifer Becker (CEE) and graduate student Karina Eyre participated in the Water Environment Federation’s Residuals and Biosolids Conference 2018 (May 15-18) in Phoenix, Arizona. Becker gave an invited presentation entitled “Pathogen and Indicator Organism Inactivation in Class A Biosolids Produced by Low-Tech Methods,” during a session focused on identifying critical research needs related to biosolids, the treated residuals produced during municipal wastewater treatment. Becker and Eyre each gave podium presentations based on ongoing research sponsored by The Water Research Foundation and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Eric A. Seagren (CEE) is also a principal investigator on these projects.


Victoria Sage Receives Award from Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council

Victoria Sage Accepting AwardVictoria Sage, technical writer in the Center for Technology & Training (CTT), is the recipient of the 2018 Carmine Palombo Individual Award from the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council (TAMC). In addition to her duties as a technical writer at the CTT, Sage is editor of the Michigan Local Technical Assistance Program’s The Bridge newsletter.

In announcing the award, the TAMC notes “Vicki’s work in these roles has been a great service to the TAMC in that many of Vicki’s efforts advance the strategies of the TAMC Work Program through key training and educational initiatives for professionals at local transportation agencies. Vicki has also provided leadership and advocacy of asset management principles as well as communicating relevant programs of the TAMC and transportation agencies across Michigan in helping develop stories in The Bridge.”

One of the driving factors in Sage’s nomination for this award was her role in development of the TAMC Bridge Asset Management Workshop. Using innovative features of common desktop software, she transformed the TAMC training into a focused workshop to quickly and easily create a bridge asset management plan for students attending the training.

“Vicki had a vision to improve the creation of bridge asset management plans, and she developed an innovative way to use everyday tools to help the workshop attendees,” says TAMC Bridge Committee Chair Beckie Curtis. “This innovation has been a game changer in terms of what can be accomplished in the training workshops and making it even easier for people to have a document that they can then use to organize treatments in a way that is financially manageable.”

Vicki had a vision to improve the creation of bridge asset management plans…Beckie Curtis

Transportation asset management is a process of managing public assets, such as roads and bridges, based on the long-range condition of the entire transportation system. TAMC, created in 2002 by the Michigan Legislature, promotes the concept that the transportation system is unified, rather than separated by jurisdictional ownership. Its mission is to recommend an asset management strategy to the State Transportation Commission and the Michigan Legislature for all of Michigan’s roads and bridges.

Victoria Sage at TAMC Conference



Michigan Sea Grant Supports Pengfei Xue’s Environmental Research

Pengfei Xue
Pengfei Xue

Since invading the Great Lakes, filter-feeding zebra and quagga mussels have brought increased water clarity to lakes Michigan, Huron, and Ontario. This has boosted the growth of bottom-dwelling filamentous algae like Cladophora, which washes ashore in stringy green mats to foul beaches and harbor harmful bacteria. The invading mussels also recycle phosphorus — a nutrient that feeds algal growth — through their feces. Pengfei Xue, an assistant professor in the Michigan Technological University Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, will lead a team building computer models to simulate how wave and current patterns influence the distribution of mussel-boosted phosphorus levels. They will investigate how that cycle affects Cladophora growth near Sleeping Bear Dunes and Grand Traverse Bay.

Read more at Michigan Sea Grant Upwellings April 2018.


Students Design Underground Utilities Corridor for the Straits of Mackinac

Students Who Designed the Utilities CorridorHOUGHTON — A group of Michigan Technological University seniors are working on a possible solution to protect the gas, oil and electrical lines under the Straits of Mackinac.

University Professor Mike Drewyor said his senior capstone project class of 16 is wrapping up a semester of work examining how to build an underground tunnel beneath the straits. They’ll present their findings in May on what they hope could be a way to protect the Great Lakes from environmental disaster.

Chad Brown, a civil engineering major on the class’s geological investigation team, said he thinks there’s a good potential the tunnel could come to fruition.

“I think that there’s so many concerns, environmental concerns for the public that they would actually like this to happen,” he said. “In terms of it being economical, it could have some complications there, but in terms of preserving the beauty of the Mackinac Straits, I think it’s a very good solution.”

Read more at Record Eagle, by Jordan Travis.


Green Campus Enterprise Final Presentations April 12 and April 19, 2018

Two students carrying insulation in a basement.Join us from 5 to 6 p.m. today (April 12, 2018) in DOW 875 to learn about what Green Campus Enterprise has been working on all year. This event is open to everyone; find us on Facebook for more information.

Teams presenting:

  • GLRC Retrofit—exploring the feasibility of using the water of Portage Lake as a heat sink for the GLRC year round with the greatest application in the warmer months
  • Solar Thermal—evaluating the feasibility of installing a solar thermal collector at Michigan Tech. The solar collector would be used to preheat water for hot water usage on campus.
  • Building Efficiency—investigating how energy is used throughout the DOW and M & M buildings

Next week the following teams will present at the same time and place on April 19:

  • Tiny House Community
  • Campus Culture
  • Wind Power
  • Clean Air-Cool Planet

NSF Funding for Alex Mayer on Sea Level Rise Study

Alex Mayer
Alex Mayer

Alex Mayer (CEE/GLRC) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $130,093 research and development grant from the National Science Foundation.

The project is titled “Collaborative Research: How Does Groundwater Inundation of Carbonate Island Interiors from Sea Level Rise Impact Surface Water-Aquifer Interactions and Evaporative Losses?” This is the first year of a two-year project totaling $254,330.

Extract

  • Sea-level rise and coastal flooding are well-known to reduce freshwater resources. It is however less recognized that sea level rise can push water tables above the land surface to flood low-lying depressions.
  • During this project, new field data will be collected, and new transient modeling tools will be developed, to test the overarching hypothesis that how groundwater flooding will impact island water resources.
  • The results of this study should improve predictions of freshwater resource loss of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) from groundwater flooding.
  • The modeling tools to be developed as part of this project will be freely distributed to the hydrological community.

Read more at the National Science Foundation.


Tech Research Team Gives Invited Presentations on Pathogen Inactivation in Biosolids

Battle Creek Event image showing a facilityOn March 13 and 14, 2018, Jennifer Becker and Eric Seagren (CEE), along with graduate students Karina Eyre (CEE) and Tanner Keyzers (BioSci), participated in the Michigan Water Environment Association 2018 Biosolids Conference, which was held in Battle Creek, Michigan.

Biosolids are the treated solid residuals produced during wastewater treatment. They contain abundant organic matter and nutrients and can be beneficially reused as soil amendments and fertilizers to improve the sustainability of wastewater treatment.

The Michigan Tech team gave two invited presentations on their pilot-scale research evaluating low-cost, low-tech (LCLT) methods for producing what are known as Class A biosolids. Class A biosolids are essentially pathogen-free and thus can be land-applied and distributed without restriction. Increasingly, wastewater treatment facilities are seeking to produce Class A biosolids, but many lack the resources to implement the conventional processes for producing these materials. LCLT processes provide a possible alternative to Class A biosolids production for such facilities.

The presentation by the Michigan Tech researchers was complemented by a presentation by one of their utility collaborators, highlighting the benefits of the university-utility partnership.

Becker and Keyzers presented Pathogen & Indicator Organism Reductions & Biosolids Changes During Storage.

Seagren and Eyre presented Study of Low-Cost Low-Tech Treatments for Biosolids at the PLWSA.


John Velat Presents on Federal Traffic Safety Regulations for Tribal Governments

John Velat
John Velat

John Velat, director of the Center for Rural and Tribal Resilience in the department of civil and environmental engineering, recently presented work at the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) 2018 annual convention in Kansas City, Missouri, a competitive, peer-reviewed conference.

Velat’s presentation, “When Cultures Collide: Considering Implications of Federal Traffic Safety Regulations for Tribal Governments,” explored how American Indian and Alaska Native governments can improve their participation in federal programs and impact the design of those programs by considering many data collection methods and offering local solutions to traffic safety problems.

Each year the CCCC Convention draws college faculty members from around the world. They gather to hear award-winning speakers, attend presentations by colleagues on the latest innovations in education and network to gain knowledge of best practices in the field.