Category: Research

Utkarsh Chaudhari Takes First Place in GRC 2021 Poster Session

Utkarsh Chaudhari
Utkarsh Chaudhari

Poster Session

First place was won by Utkarsh Chaudhari from the Department of Chemical Engineering for his presentation titled “Systems Analysis Approach to PET and Olefin Plastics Supply Chains in the Circular Economy.”

View the Poster Presentations, Group 2, and the PDF.

This year’s Graduate Research Colloquium organized by the Graduate Student Government was hosted virtually due to COVID restrictions. There were in total 48 presentations — 17 poster presenters and 31 oral presenters.

Poster presentations took place in a pre-recorded video style and the oral sessions were hosted live via Zoom. You can watch all the poster videos and recordings for the oral sessions here. Each presentation was scored by two judges from the same field of research.

Participants were able to gain valuable feedback from these judges before presenting their research at an actual conference. It was stiff competition amongst all presenters.

A hearty congratulations to all the winners at this year’s Colloquium. The Graduate Student Government would like to thank everyone: presenters, judges, volunteers, and GSG supporters, for making this a great event despite COVID-19 restrictions. GSG would also like to hear ways in which this event could be improved next year using this feedback form.

By Graduate Student Government.


Circular Economy Award Announced by DOE

Recycling symbol.

Michigan Tech has received notification of a new award valued at $1,027,008 from the REMADE Institute, a public-private partnership established by the United States Department of Energy and the first institute in the U.S. dedicated to accelerating the nation’s transition to a Circular Economy.

“Along with our partners, we are excited to receive this award for the project ‘Dynamic Systems Analysis of PET and Olefin Polymers in a Circular Economy'” said David Shonnard, PI, Robbins Chair in Sustainable Use of Materials, Department of Chemical Engineering.

The total funding amount is cost-shared between REMADE and Michigan Tech, along with partners Idaho National Laboratory, Yale University, Chemstations Inc., Honeywell UOP, and Resource Recycling Systems.

The project is expected to result in multiple positive impacts, including: 

  • New process models and datasets for systems analysis of a circular economy for plastics
  • Optimized plastics circular economy designs to minimize emissions and costs
  • Case study applications to plastics circular economy designs for the state of Michigan

This award is the second and the largest REMADE awarded to Michigan Tech, and involves co-investigators Robert Handler (Sustainable Futures Institute) and Distinguished Professor David Watkins (CEE).

The project is expected to begin on Sept. 1, 2021. Please send any questions or comments to David Shonnard.

By David Shonnard.


SFI Director Hosts EPA Region 5 Webinar

US EPA Region 5 States
EPA Region 5
Serving Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin and 35 Tribes

David Shonnard (ChE), director of the Sustainable Futures Institute (SFI) and the Robbins Endowed Chair in Sustainable Use of Materials hosted a webinar and panel discussion on environmentally preferable purchasing (EPP) on August 13, 2020.

The webinar was part of an ongoing project funded by the US EPA Region 5 to disseminate best practices in EPP and is a collaboration between SFI and the Great Lakes Environmental Infrastructure Center, directed by Tim Colling.

The webinar also featured two prominent guest panelists and EPP professionals from the states of Minnesota and California. The webinar video, associated documents, and Q&A can be found on the EPA site. Those with questions/comments may contact David Shonnard.


NSF Funding for David Shonnard on Waste Plastics Conversion Project

David Shonnard
David Shonnard

David Shonnard (ChE) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $50,000 Federal grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The project is entitled, “I-Corps: Process Intensification in a Multi-Product Waste Polyolefin Refinery.” Ulises Gracida-Alvarez (ChE) and Nate Yenor (Innovation & Commercialization) are Co-PI’s on this project.

By Sponsored Programs.

Extract

The broader impact/commercial potential of this I-Corps project is the development of a low-cost and energy-efficient conversion of mixed waste plastics into an intermediate product that the petrochemical industry can convert into new polymer resin.

This new technology will revolutionize the plastics recycling industry and will allow for closed-loop plastic material flows. The process technology will improve recycling of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) plastics from materials recovery facilities (MRFs), significant because PE and PP comprise over 50% of global plastics production and post-consumer waste generation.

The technology is based on rapid conversion at elevated temperature in a reactor with precise control over the molecular conversion mechanisms.

Read more at the National Science Foundation.


Lignin Project Funding for David Shonnard

David Shonnard
David Shonnard

David Shonnard (Chem Eng/SFI) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $44,982 research and development cooperative agreement with Clemson University. The project is titled, “Life Cycle Assessment and Technoeconomic Analyses of Lignin Processing: (Lignin Fractionation and Valorization: Focusing on both Value and Quality).”

This is the first year of a potential 3-year project totaling $89,964.


Daniel Kulas to Present at NAMS 2020

Graduate student Daniel Kulas has been awarded the prestigious 2020 NAMS (North American Membrane Society) Elias Klein Travel Supplement Award to present his comprehensive experimental work on the rejection mechanisms of the four most significant PFAS molecules: PFOA, PFOS, PFNA and PFHxS by Nanofiltration membrane NF270.

The presentation will be at the conference in Tempe, Arizona on May 16-20, 2020. Kulas was nominated by his research mentor Andre Da Costa.

The Elias Klein Founders’ Travel Supplement program supports students needing limited financial assistance and will provide up to $500 in reimbursement for reasonable expenses (e.g. travel cost, registration, workshops) for attending NAMS 2020 to present their research (oral or poster presentation). This award program is named in honor of Elias Klein, whose vision and spirit guided the founding of NAMS in 1985.


Making Mining Safer from Dust

Lei Pan
Lei Pan

Lei Pan is involved in a multidisciplinary project to improve the efficiency of dust scrubbers in mining operations.

His work and that of Virginia Tech researchers and collaborators from Cornell University incorporates new materials that better collect dust and use the continuous miner’s vibrations to help keep the filters from clogging as often.

In 2019 Pan received funding from the Center for Disease Control for the project “Temporal and Spatial Characterization of Respirable Coal Mine Dust Using Area Monitoring Devices and X-Ray CT.”

Mining dust was also the topic of a Michigan Tech URIP (Undergraduate Research Internship Program) project with chemical engineering major Caroline Inaury, funded by the Portage Health Foundation.

Read more at Virginia Tech Daily, by Rosaire Bushey.


Pradeep Agrawal Comments on the Use of Biomass to Produce Chemicals and Fuels

Pradeep K. Agrawal
Pradeep K. Agrawal

Sangareddy: Pradeep K Agrawal, Faculty and Chair, Department of Chemical Engineering, Michigan Technological University, US, on Monday said biomass be it agriculture waste, forest residues or crop remanants can be used to produce chemicals and fuels. The discarded portion of municipal solid waste (MSW) was another inexpensive resource for producing hydergen and carbon, he said.

Read more at Telangana Today.