Category: Research

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.


NSF Funding for Lei Pan on Project to Sanitize Produce

Agriculture and produceLei Pan (ChemEng/GLRC) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $159,999 research and development grant from the National Science Foundation.

The project is entitled, “Collaborative Research: Bubble Impacting a Curved Surface: A Sustainable Way to Sanitize Produce.

This is a potential three-year project.

By Sponsored Programs.

Extract

Cleaning practices using microbubbles have been proven to be a sustainable and environmentally benign sanitation method in a wide range of industrial applications. When a stream of bubbles impact and slide on a surface, contaminants on the surface can be removed due to the strong force generated by the bubbles.

Bubble-cleaning of agricultural produce like fruits and vegetables has not been studied extensively. Potentially, this method could be used to minimize cases of food poisoning affecting millions of people every year, since bubble streams could be used to remove and inactivate pathogenic microorganisms from produce surfaces.

This research project could lead to a novel technology for an environmentally benign sanitization process for raw fruits and vegetables. The method could even be applied to other technological processes such as semiconductor manufacturing.

Read more at the National Science Foundation.