2015 Seminars


New Developments and Novel Approaches for Understanding Mercury and Methylmercury

Dr. Dwayne A. Elias, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Assistant Professor, Biochemistry & Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Tennessee
Adjunct Associate Professor, Biological Sciences, Missouri University of Science and Technology 

3:30 PM
Friday, December 4, 2015
Room 314 Butler-Carlton Hall
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract
Mercury (Hg) is a pervasive global contaminant of concern impacting human and ecosystem health. Mercury methylation produces the neurotoxic, highly bioaccumulative methylmercury (MeHg). The genes responsible for this activity were recently identified after a >40 years search. The highly conserved nature of these genes (hgcAB) provides a foundation for broadly evaluating spatial and niche-specific patterns of microbial Hg-methylation potential in nature. Discovery and validation of the hgcAB genes has provided a starting point to further understand Hg methylation at a variety of scales, from the atomic to ecosystems and our recent work at these scales will be discussed.

Biography
Dr. Dwayne Elias has been involved in environmental microbiology for more than 15 years with a particular focus on microbial community dynamics and metals of concern, including U, Tc, and Hg. The overall focus in the Elias laboratory is to forward efforts in bioremediation and advance preventative measures in risk management to avert contamination from occurring. Dr. Elias is regarded by the US Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation as an expert in microbial ecology and physiology. Dr. Elias currently leads two major efforts at ORNL for the DOE in Hg research and microbial community responses to organic and inorganic contaminants. He also is currently a contributing investigator to two efforts for the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Elias received his doctorate from the University of Oklahoma in 2002 and has since graduated 5 Ph.D. students and mentored 9 post-doctoral and 1 post-masters fellows along with several summer high school students. Since 2002, Dr. Elias has published 76 refereed articles in scientific journals, 5 patents, 7 invention disclosures, 3 book chapters and delivered 204oral and poster presentations at national and international meetings. Dr. Elias also serves as an Academic Editor at the PLoS One Journal, an Associate Editor at the Frontiers in Microbiology Journal and a scientific advisory committee member for the Department of Energy.


Water: A Driving Force

Sara Parker Pauley
Director

Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Jefferson City, MO

2:00 PM
Monday, November 30, 2015
Room 125 Butler-Carlton Hall
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract
Missouri’s Department of Natural Resources provides research, planning, protection and enhancement of Missouri’s waters through the work of dedicated staff and partners. Director Pauley will discuss various integrated efforts the department is employing to ensure the citizens of the state and its visitors enjoy clean and abundant water for generations to come.

Biography
Sara Parker Pauley leads the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ efforts to protect our air, land and water; preserve our unique natural and historic places; and provide recreational and learning opportunities for everyone. Pauley began as director in December 2010 and is the second female to lead the agency. She received both her law degree and her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri – Columbia, completed post-graduate studies in Australia as a Rotary Fellow and was an instructor for MU’s School of Natural Resources. She is also a graduate of Columbia's Hickman High School. During her career, Pauley has worked in the executive and legislative branches of state government, both fish and wildlife environmental agencies in state government, profit and nonprofit sectors and with federal, state and local governments. Under her leadership, Pauley has worked on policy development, marketing, environmental compliance, and built and improved relationships with Missouri’s communities, business and industry, the environmental community, legislators, and the public to make Missouri a leader in innovative resource conservation, while protecting our outdoor heritage for generations to come.


The Politics of Climate Change

Dr. David Robertson
Curators’ Teaching Professor,
Political Science
University of Missouri-St. Louis

2:30 PM - Hosted by History and Political Science
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Ozark Room, Havener Center
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract:
“After a brief overview of the evidence for climate change, the talk explores the role of public opinion and political disagreement, as well as concerns about costs and international cooperation. It describes “cap and trade,” the most important solution that has been considered in Congress, and presidential actions to mitigate carbon emissions.  It emphasizes the importance of elections and state actions in the policy agenda for climate change, and explores the prospects for future policy change.”

Biography:
He is a Curators’ Teaching Professor of Political Science at the University of Missouri-St. Louis where he has been on the faculty for thirty-two years. His areas of specialization are in political history and public policy with a special interest in Social and Environmental Policy. His many publications include The Development of American Public Policy (1989), coauthored with Dennis R. Judd; The Constitution and America’s Destiny (2005) published by Cambridge University Press and The Original Compromise:  What the Constitution’s Framers Were Really Thinking (2013) published by Oxford University Press.

In the spring 2016 semester, he will be the Maxwell C. Weiner Distinguished Professor of the Humanities and will offer a course entitled “Environmental Politics and Policies.”


Public History and Climate Change: A View from St. Louis

Dr. Andrew Hurley
Professor and Department Chair, History
University of Missouri-St. Louis

3:30 PM
Friday, November 13, 2015
Room 314 Butler-Carlton Hall
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract:
Using Historical Research to Assist Sustainability Planning in Urban Districts

This presentation will report on a university-community partnership that employs historical data to encourage critical thinking about issues of urban heritage and sustainability in the context of long-term climatic changes.  The “Sustainability in Historical and Ethnographic Perspective” project at the University of Missouri-St. Louis revolves around a photo-narration exercise in which residents of two inner-city historic districts in St. Louis reflect upon local environmental history and collaborate in constructing an inventory of meaningful neighborhood spaces. The collected narrations suggest strategies for reconciling architecturally-based notions of local heritage with the surge of grass-roots greening and sustainability initiatives.


A Staged, Pressurized Oxy-Combustion Approach for Carbon Capture

Dr. Richard L. Axelbaum
Jens Professor of Environmental Science
Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering
Director, Consortium for Clean Coal Utilization
Washington University, St. Louis, MO

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Friday, November 6, 2015
Room B10 Bertelsmeyer Hall
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract
A new approach to oxy-combustion for Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) will be introduced in this talk. The process incorporates pressurized combustion and fuel staging to maximize efficiency and minimize the cost of electricity (COE).  Fuel staging allows for increased control of the temperature and heat transfer during combustion.  This eliminates the need for other temperature control processes, such as flue gas recycle or water/steam injection.

In the Staged, Pressurized Oxy-Combustion (SPOC) process, combustion is carried out initially at very high stoichiometric ratio, enabling control of temperature even with minimal flue gas recycle.  To enable combustion under non-stoichiometric conditions, fuel is brought into the combustion chamber in stages. The products of the first stage, a mixture of O2, CO2 and H2O, enter stage 2, where more fuel is injected and more O2 is consumed.  This process continues in multiple stages until nearly all of the O2 is consumed.

Results from a techno-economic assessment of the process, systems modelling, experiments and CFD simulations of the combustion process will be presented.  Results indicate that the process is technologically feasible, the efficiency is high, and that the cost of electricity with 90% carbon capture can be held within 35% of the existing COE without carbon capture.

Biography:
Professor Axelbaum is the Jens Professor of Environmental Engineering Science in the Department of Energy Environmental and Chemical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis.  He is the Director of the Consortium for Clean Coal Utilization and heads the Laboratory for Advanced Combustion and Energy Research.  From 1998 to 2007, he was chairman and chief scientific advisor for AP Materials, Inc., a startup company he founded that specialized in flame synthesis of nanopowders. Cabot Corporation acquired the company in August of 2007.

Professor Axelbaum studies combustion phenomena, ranging from oxy-coal combustion to flame synthesis of nanotubes. His studies of fossil fuel combustion focus on understanding the formation of pollutants, such as soot, and then using this understanding to develop novel approaches to eliminating them. More recently, his efforts have been focused on addressing global concerns over carbon dioxide emissions by developing approaches to carbon capture and storage (CCS).

Professor Axelbaum also performs fundamental research on combustion in microgravity, and is principal investigator of a combustion experiment that is being prepared for the International Space Station.


Application of anaerobic biotechnologies for environmental remediation and green energy production

Dr. Glenn Ulrich
Technical Director
Parsons Corporation

3:30 PM
Friday, November 6, 2015
Room 318 Butler-Carlton Hall
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract: 
Anaerobic bioremediation (natural and enhanced) has emerged as a leading technology for the remediation of a wide variety of environmental contaminants including hydrocarbons, chlorinated solvents, and inorganics.   The anaerobic biodegradation of buried hydrocarbons (shale, oil, and coal) to methane provides a source of heat and electricity for millions of people around the globe.   Example applications of anaerobic biotechnology that highlight the importance of key scientific discoveries, ongoing research, trial and error in the field, and risk takers in developing and implementing these technologies will be provided. 

Biography:
Dr. Ulrich received a PhD in environmental microbiology from the University of Oklahoma in 1999.  Dr. Ulrich was the founding scientist for an independent oil and gas firm which developed and implemented full-scale in-situ processes for stimulating biogenic methane creation and production in US coal bed methane and oil reservoirs. Dr. Ulrich is currently a Technical Director for the Environmental Division of Parsons Commercial Services.  Glenn enjoys coaching soccer and spending time with his family in the Missouri outdoors.


Superfund Research Program and the Convergence of Sciences

Dr. Luis O. Rivera-González, Ph.D.
Research Associate, Department of Energy, Environmental, and Chemical Engineering

Washington University in St. Louis

3:30 PM
Friday, October 23, 2015
Room 314 Butler-Carlton Hall
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract:
In order to properly address the future of health issues it is important to fully understand the contribution that different scientific disciplines may have during problem solving. The perfect marriage of physical and life sciences with engineering provides the stepping stone for the emerging field of convergence. This talk will introduce the Superfund Research Program as an example on how complex environmental problems can be solved with the use of a transdisciplinary approach.

Biography:
Dr. Luis O. Rivera-Gonzalez is originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico and received his Masters degree from University of Puerto Rico where his research focused in water quality issues (i.e. eutrophication). He completed his doctoral studies at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) where he focused his research in examining associations between certain environmental exposures (i.e. air pollution and toxic metals) and the development of adverse pregnancy outcomes. He has been involved, since its conception, with the Superfund Research Program in Puerto Rico which investigates the role of phthalate exposure in the high incidence of preterm birth that occurs in the Island. He has also collaborated in the establishment of pregnancy cohorts in Mexico City and Puerto Rico. 


Single Particle-Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (SP-ICP-MS) for Metallic Nanoparticle Characterization in Complex Matrices

Yongbo Dan
Ph.D. Candidate, Chemistry

Missouri University of Science and Technology
Rolla, MO

3:30 PM
Friday, October 16, 2015
Room 314 Butler-Carlton Hall
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract:
Rapid development of nanotechnology and manufacturing of nanoparticle-containing products will inevitably result in NPs discharge into the environment. Nanoparticles (NPs) characterization and quantification in environmental relevance (very low concentration) and complex matrices (for example biological matrices) remain a great challenge. Single particle- inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (SP-ICP–MS) is an emerging technique for metallic NP characterization and quantification with super sensitivity and high throughput, which makes SP-ICP-MS a unique technology to characterize and quantify NPs at environmental relevant concentrations and in complex matrices. An enzymatic digestion method, followed by SP-ICP-MS analysis, was developed for simultaneous determination of gold NP (AuNP) size, size distribution, particle concentration, and dissolved Au concentration in tomato plant tissues. The experimental results showed that Macerozyme R-10 enzyme was capable of extracting AuNPs from tomato plants without causing dissolution or aggregation of AuNPs. The detection limit for quantification of AuNP size was 20 nm and the AuNPs particle concentration detection limit was 1000 NPs/mL. The particle concentration recoveries of spiked AuNPs were high (79%-96%) in quality control samples. The dosing study indicated that tomato can uptake AuNPs as intact particles without alternating the AuNPs properties.

A rapid SP-ICP-MS method was also developed to simultaneously determine the primary particle size, size distribution, particle concentration (particles/mL), and mass content (weight percent) of TiO2 NPs in commercial sunscreens. Four types of commercial sunscreens containing different amounts of TiO2 were analyzed. The TiO2 mass contents in these sunscreens were determined by a novel standard addition-SP-ICP-MS method. The standard addition-SP-ICP-MS method offers a promising alternative for determining the TiO2 NP mass content in sunscreen, in lieu of using the time-consuming and costly acid digestion-ICP-MS method.


Energy in the Anthropocene Era: A tale of fire, smoke, time, and power

Dr. Tami C. Bond
Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

MacArthur Foundation Fellow
University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign

3:30 PM
Friday, October 9, 2015
Room 103 Engineering Management
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract:
Fire marked the dawn of humanity, and continues to bless and curse us. The energy it provides is transformative, and key to economic development. Growing human population and activity initiated the Anthropocene Era, distinguished by humans' clear influence on the Earth system. Now, we struggle to manage combustion effluents, which affect health and climate change.

Combustion exhaust includes greenhouse gases, which have atmospheric lifetimes on the order of decades, and short-lived pollutants, whose effect on climate, or “forcing,” occurs within the first year after emission. Short-lived pollutants are often neglected in planning future climate trajectories, yet contribute a significant fraction of total forcing. I’ll discuss a framework to illustrate how changes in individual sources affect climate in the near-term and long-term. Within this framework, I show how mitigation efforts from sources such as diesel freight delivery, brick kilns, cooking stoves, and kerosene lamps affect climate.


Multifunctional nanostructured ceramic materials: from membrane filtration to catalysis

Dr. Maria M. Fidalgo
Associate Professor

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Missouri

3:30 PM
Friday, October 2, 2015
Room 314 Butler-Carlton Hall
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract:
Inorganic materials have been traditionally less attractive then polymeric membranes in water treatment applications mainly due to higher costs and more complex fabrication processes. An alternative ceramic material manufactured from metal oxide nanoparticles has addressed these drawbacks, and allowed for the introduction of new chemical compositions to the traditional alumina ceramic membranes. In recent years, our work has focused on the investigation of iron oxide nanoparticles as base materials for the fabrication of new devices and processes for drinking water treatment. Iron oxide nanoparticles were used as precursor for high specific surface area ceramics. Their adsorption properties regarding arsenic and other heavy metals were studied in a variety of conditions and water matrixes, and the material characterized extensively through SEMs, XRDs, XAS and nitrogen adsorption isotherms. The iron oxide ceramics were also investigated as ultrafiltration membranes. Retention and fouling potential of different organic macromolecules was measured.

The work on this area has focus on the evaluation of new cleaning methods for the ceramics, through degradation of the adsorbed foulants by Fenton type reactions. Cleaning of the fouled membrane with Fenton reagent recovered 100% of the initial membrane permeability, with no detectable membrane material loss.  Additionally, mixed metal oxide nanoparticles can also be synthesized following a simple approach by partial replacement of the iron atoms, leading to mixed metal oxide porous ceramics.


USGS Water Science Activities in Missouri

Amy Beussink, Director
U.S. Geological Survey

Missouri Water Science Center
Rolla, Missouri

3:30 PM
Friday, September 11, 2015
Room 314 Butler-Carlton Hall
Missouri University of Science and Technolgoy

Abstract:
As the Nation’s largest water, earth, and biological science and civilian mapping agency, the US Geological Survey (USGS) collects, monitors, analyzes, and provides scientific understanding about natural resource conditions, issues, and problems.
The diversity of our scientific expertise enables us to carry out large-scale, multi-disciplinary investigations and provide impartial scientific information to resource managers, planners, and other customers.

Attend this seminar to learn more about the variety of water resource science activities of the USGS Missouri Water Science Center across the state of Missouri including monitoring, analysis, and modeling of streamflow, groundwater, and water-quality; application of advanced technologies such as motion-compensated LiDAR used for bathymetric and topographic mapping; contaminant source tracking and more.

Biography:
Ms. Beussink has been a water resource professional for more than 15 years. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree with a double major in Geosciences and Biology from South¿east Missouri State University, and a Master’s Degree in Watershed Management from The University of Arizona. As a hydrologist and GIS specialist with the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Forest Service and as a private consulting, Amy has applied hydrology and watershed management experience in Arizona, California, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and Texas. She has served as Hydrologist and Supervisory Hydrologist with the USGS since 2008. In May 2015 Ms. Beussink was appointed as the new Director of the USGS Missouri Water Science Center.


Dye Sensitized Solar cell & Dye Sensitized Platinized TiO2-catalyzed Photodegradation of 4-Chlorophenol Under Visible Light in Aqueous Solution

Norman (Liang-Szu) Lu, Ph.D.
Institute of Organic and Polymeric Material
National Taipei University of Technology

3:30 PM
Friday, August 28, 2015
Room 314 Butler-Carlton Hall
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract:
Environmental chemistry, also known as part of green chemistry, is the chemical research and engineering technology that encourages the design of processes that remove or destroy the organic molecules and hazardous materials from the environment. For example, the photocatalytic processes have been widely used to remove the small organic molecules from the water. Dr. Norman (Liang-Szu) Lu will share his findings that support global initiatives in Envirotech (Environmental or Renewable Technology). He will discuss his group’s ongoing research on Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells (DSSC). His solar cell research with highly stable, water repellant, solar cell dyes has shown excellent efficiencies exceeding benchmark dye, N719. His presentation will also include “Dye Sensitized Platinized TiO2-catalyzed Photodegradation of 4-Chlorophenol Under Visible Light in Aqueous Solution”. This solar energy-driven method provides us an efficient and economical way to remove small organic pollutants from the water and to treat the waste water.

Biography:
Dr. Norman (Liang-Szu) Lu, from National Taipei University of Technology, serving a 2011 sabbatical leave in the Department of Chemistry at Purdue University West Lafayette, frequently spend his summer in Purdue University for the collaborative projects. Purdue is home to the 2010 Noble Laureate in Chemistry, Dr. Ei-ichi Negishi. Dr.  Lu won several research awards. He was a recipient of 2011 National Taipei University of Technology, University Research Excellence Award. (One recipient a year from 450+ faculty members).


Nanotechnology in Water Treatment

Dr. Leslie Petrik, Ph.D.
Professor, Environmental and Nano Sciences Group
University of Western Cape, Department of Chemistry
Cape Town, South Africa

3 p.m.
Tuesday, May 5. 2015
Room 103 Engineering Management
Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract:
The synthesis, modification, characterization and application of nano phase materials including, photocatalysts and high capacity adsorbents, such as zeolites, mesoporous materials and functional polymeric nanofibers which are suitable for application in remediation of water pollution will be overviewed.

Biography:
Dr. Leslie Petrik has been involved in nano science research for more than 20 years with the focus on development of nano phase materials, focusing on environmental remediation, treatment of industrial brine effluents and acid mine drainage, applying fly ash and low cost adsorbents to treat the water. Low-cost zeolites are being made from fly ash, a waste product from power stations, and are used remove almost all traces of heavy metals such as lead, mercury and arsenic. Other applications of novel nanomaterials currently under investigation include the disinfection of water through photocatalysts combined with electrochemical systems.

Petrik received the Distinguished Women Scientist Award in 2012 from the Department of Science and Technology in South Africa and is also the recipient of several Department of Trade and Industry (dti) THRIP Technology Awards for “Quality and Quantity of students.” Since 2003, Petrik has graduated 14 Ph.D. and 34 M.S. students and has published seven patents, 10 book chapters and 102 refereed articles in scientific international journals, and delivered 214 oral communications and poster presentations in international and national meetings.


Contaminant Mass Transfer during Boiling in Fractured Geologic Media

Fei Chen
Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering
St. Louis, MO

3:30 PM
Friday, May 1st, 2015
Room 314 Butler-Carlton Hall
Missouri University of Science & Technology

Abstract:
Remediating fractured geologic media is regarded as one of the most difficult challenges. This is because the low-permeability matrix prevents remediation reagents (e.g., water, surfactant, cosolvent, and oxidants) from accessing the contaminants in the matrix. Thermal methods are promising because heat can be effectively delivered to the matrix materials by either thermal conduction or electrical resistance heating. When the matrix is heated to the boiling temperature of water, a depressurization in the fracture might induce the occurrence of boiling in the matrix, resulting in the volatile contaminant being stripped out of the matrix by partitioning to the flowing steam vapor phase.

This study investigated the contaminant mass removal process from heated low-permeability matrix materials that are bounded by a depressurized fracture network, using an integrated bench scale experimental and numerical modeling approach. A laboratory experiment was conducted to experimentally demonstrate the removal of dissolved 1,2-DCA from a heated sandstone core.The experimental results showed that, as boiling occurred, the concentration of 1,2-DCA in the condensed effluent peaked up to 6 times higher than before heating. A temperature gradient toward the outlet was observed when boiling occurred in the core, indicating that steam was generated and a pressure gradient developed toward the outlet, pushing steam vapor and liquid water toward the outlet. When 38% of the pore volume of condensate was produced, essentially 100% of the 1,2-DCA mass was recovered.

Further analysis on the process was conducted using TMVOC models. Confidence of the TMVOC code for such problems was established by simulating the experiment using a TMVOC model: good agreements were achieved between the simulated and experimental results. Field-scale removal of TCE and heat transfer process in heated fractured geologic media was then simulated using the Multiple Interacting Continua (MINC) method, to evaluate effects of parameter sensitivity on contaminant recovery. The simulation results showed that the removal of TCE increased with matrix permeability, and the removal rate was more sensitive to matrix permeability than any other parameter. Increasing fracture density promoted TCE removal, especially when the matrix permeability was low (e.g., <10-17  m2).


Microorganisms in geothermal environments

Dr. Brent M. Peyton
Director, Thermal Biology Institute
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
Montana State University, Bozeman, MT

3:30 PM
Friday, April 24th, 2015
Room 314 Butler-Carlton Hall
Missouri University of Science & Technology

Abstract:
Geothermal environments are small in size and distribution on Earth, however, they play strategic role in the pursuit of novel microbial activity for industrial and energy related processes. Hot springs are natural ecosystems where microorganisms have adapted to high temperatures and unique geochemical environments, over centuries, making them ideal to study for understanding extreme ecosystems.  Thermal features are also “target” environments for isolating novel and robust microorganisms for biotechnology and energy applications.

Thermal environments have been a source of beneficial microorganisms, including the discovery of unique microorganisms and thermostable enzymes (e.g., Taq polymerase), for the degradation of biomass, and the production of lipases, and for algal biofuels. This presentation will include a brief overview of Yellowstone thermal areas, and results of interdisciplinary geochemical and microbial investigations in the Heart Lake Geyser Basin focused on characterization of unique microbial communities, microbes for enzyme discovery, and for algal biofuels applications.


Birds in the world’s cities:  What makes an urban biota “urban”?

Charles Nilon
Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences
University of Missouri, Columbia, MO

3:30 PM
Friday, April 17th, 2015
Room 314 Butler-Carlton Hall Missouri University of Science & Technology

Abstract:
Literature on urban ecosystems and wildlife documents patterns of bird species diversity within a number of cities. This literature suggests that urbanization drives global biotic homogenization resulting in urban avifaunas dominated by a few cosmopolitan or commensal species that occur in most cities. Relatively few studies have compared these patterns among cities at regional or continental scales. We compared data on birds from across 55 cities worldwide to ask: How do cities act as filters of regional bird species pools?; Do urban avifaunas show patterns associated with biotic homogenization?; and, Do measures of urban form and land cover predict global patterns of bird species composition? We compiled breeding bird checklists from 55 cities developed from surveys conducted since 1990, and range data from BirdLife International to derive an expected species density for each city. We used Beta- sim hierarchical cluster analysis to group cities based on species composition. We developed models using urban form and land cover to predict urban species density, and compare observed vs. expected species density. The 55 cities capture a median of 8% of the expected species density. Our sample contained 20% of the world's 10046 bird species and 75% of the 198 avian families. One-third of our sample cities contained IUCN Red Listed species. The cities clustered by biogeographical realm, suggesting they still reflect their regional species pool. The majority (94%) of urban bird species are native. Only four species occur in >80% of cities: Columba livia, Passer domesticus, Sturnus vulgaris and Hirundo rustica. Percent urban land cover within 15 km of city center predicts urban bird species density and changes from expected species density. Our results highlight that cities support both biodiversity and people, and retain high potential for sustaining these connections. Cities can play a critical role for biodiversity conservation, restoration, and community education.


Thermochemical gasification of biomass

Ali Rownaghi
Department of Chemical & Biochemical Engineering
Missouri University of Science and Technology

3:30 PM
Friday, April 10th, 2015
Room 314 Butler-Carlton Hall
Missouri University of Science & Technology

Abstract:
In the 21 century, biomass is perceived as an attractive source of biofuels and chemicals. Thermochemical gasification of biomass is one of the promising routes of using this abundantly available and highly diverse renewable energy source. Gas cleaning and conditioning are currently among the major areas of study in the field of biomass gasification. The hot gas cleanup is a more preferable technology because energy loss is minimized by avoiding cooling of raw syngas (CO/H2) derived from biomass. Syngas to hydrocarbon (STH) and Fischer-Tropsch synthesis (FTS) are important routes to utilize syngas derived from gasification of coal and biomass and steam reforming of natural gas. These two routes have been gaining ever-growing interests in recent decades because of increasing demands for sustainability and alternative sources to conventional fossil fuels. Both STH and FTS are well established technologies for the production of predominately olefins, aromatics, gasoline-range hydrocarbons and aliphatic straight-chain hydrocarbon molecules. Utilization of syngas to hydrocarbons over solid catalysts (such as mixed-metal oxide and zeolites) via STH and FTS processes has drawn increasing attention in the petrochemical industry as one of the efficient methods for manufacturing olefins, fuels and other chemicals. The development of advanced heterogeneous catalysts with improved catalytic properties is a major challenge for both academia and industry from a molecular-level understanding of surface reaction mechanisms. This presentation will consider examples of heterogeneous catalysts for production of methanol, dimethyl ether, gasoline and diesel-range hydrocarbons.

Bio:
Dr. Ali A. Rownaghi, joined the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering,
Missouri S&T in the fall of 2014. He received his BS in Chemistry from University of Mashhad
(2001), his MS in Catalysis from University of Tehran (2004) and PhD from University Putra in
Catalysis (2008). Dr. Rownaghi conducted his post-doctoral research at Georgia Tech working on composite hollow fiber membranes for gas separation. Dr. Rownaghi's research, presented in more than 30 publications (patents and journal articles), focuses on heterogeneous catalysts and composite hollow fiber membranes for energy and chemical processes. He also serves as an Editorial Board of “Modern Research in Catalysis” and “Carbon Capture, Storage, and Utilization” journals.


Impacts of Climate and Land Use Changes on Water Quality: A Remote Sensing and Hydrological Modeling Approach

Abuduwasiti Wulamu
Assistant Professor, Center for Sustainability, Saint Louis University
St. Louis, MO

3:30 PM
Friday, April 3rd, 2015
Room 314 Butler-Carlton Hall
Missouri University of Science & Technology

Abstract
Assessing the impacts of land use and climate changes on water quality is of paramount importance in understanding the drivers of water pollution and the development of effective strategies to mitigate the effects of anthropogenic changes on watershed processes. Remote sensing techniques integrated with hydrological models (e.g., SWAT) can provide time stamped and georeferenced water quality information at regional scales, and insights on the relationships between urbanization, climate change, and stream water quality. We demonstrate a remote sensing  and hydrological modeling approach to 1) map the traits and processes of soil erosion, land-use and land-cover, climate change and their connection to surface water pollution, and 2) develop predictive models suitable to identify areas prone to high risk of soil erosion and water quality deterioration under future climate and land use scenarios.

Biography
Dr. Wulamu is an Assistant Professor with the Center for Sustainability at Saint Louis University, where he conducts research on environmental impacts of land cover and land use (LCLU) and climate change, with particular attention to water resources and agriculture. He develops algorithms to characterize the changes to Earth's land cover and integrates remote sensing observations with model-based approaches to understand the impacts of climate and land use changes on the water and energy cycles and ecosystems from local to global scales. He has mentored 7 PhD students, over 10 masters student thesis and a post-doctoral researcher, and served as a member on several graduate dissertation committees. Currently, he is involved in NASA's Air Quality Applications Science Team (AQAST), and NASA's next mission that will study atmospheric composition, TEMPO (Tropospheric Emissions: Measurement of Pollution), which is scheduled to be launched in 2019. He has authored over 30 peer-reviewed journal publications, one book chapter, and presented more than 30 conference papers and workshops.


Using phytoremediation to enhance ecosystem services and benefit local communities

Ronald S. Zalesny Jr.
Team Leader, Research Plant Geneticist
U.S. Forest Service
Northern Research Station
Institute for Applied Ecosystem Studies
Rhinelander, Wisconsin

3:30 PM
Thursday, March 19th, 2015
Room 314 Butler-Carlton Hall
Missouri University of Science & Technology

Abstract:
Short rotation woody crops (SRWCs) such as Populus species and their hybrids (i.e., poplars) are ideal for incorporating biomass production with environmental applications such as phytoremediation. In addition to being phreatophytes (i.e., having fast growth, extensive roots, and elevated water usage), poplars exhibit tremendous genetic variability that allows for selection of superior clonal material based on genetic- and site-related factors, as well as how specific genotypes respond to such stimuli. In this seminar, Dr. Zalesny will present information about how poplars used for phytoremediation enhance ecosystem services and benefit local communities. His presentation will focus on the impact of differences in remediation and restoration potential given contaminants ranging in complexity from salts to petroleum hydrocarbons. He will also discuss practical implications within the context of provisioning (e.g., biomass, water) and regulating (e.g., carbon, soil quality, erosion control) ecosystem services and the need for a cleaner environment during times of accelerated ecological degradation.

Biosketch:
P Dr. Zalesny earned his Ph.D. in forest genetics from Iowa State University, and currently develops short rotation woody crops for phytotechnologies, fiber, and energy. His primary research focus is on testing the genetic and physiological mechanisms governing tree growth and development for the provision of ecosystem services. Relevant professional affiliations include serving as: 1) coordinator of IUFRO Working Party 2.08.04 (Poplar and Willow Physiology/Genetics), 2) delegate of the IPC-FAO Environmental Applications of Poplar and Willow Working Party, and 3) steering committee member of the Short Rotation Woody Crops Operations Working Group. He also serves on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Phytoremediation and BioEnergy Research.

 


Legacy sediment waves in channel and floodplain deposits of the Big River, SE Missouri

Robert T. Pavlowsky, Ph.D.
Professor Department of Geography, Geology, and Planning

Missouri State University

3:30 PM
Friday, March 6th, 2015
Room 314 - Butler Carlton Hall
Missouri University of Science & Technology

 Abstract
Geomorphic wave models can describe long-term sediment transfers in watersheds affected by past periods of episodic sediment inputs. If the timing and locations of sediment release points within a watershed are known, downstream relationships between sediment transport and channel form can be evaluated over timescales of 10-100 years.  The Big River (2,500 km2) drains the Ozarks Plateaus of southeast Missouri. It has been affected by two sources of legacy sediment inputs: (i) watershed-scale settlement and land-clearing from 1870 to 1920 and (ii) tailings releases by the Old Lead Belt mining district active from 1890 to 1972.  This study evaluates downstream trends in bed composition, channel form, and floodplain properties to assess the role of sediment waves in controlling geomorphic response and aquatic habitat quality along 200 km of the Big River main stem.  Wave dispersion and translation occur in the Big River with bar-size sediment transport distances typically 0.2 to 0.5 km per year.  Geochemical and mineralogical tracers indicate that bed sediment waves are internally sorted according to particle size with finer sediments being selectively transported farther downstream.  An attempt will be made to link channel sediment storage and floodplain stratigraphy to sediment wave models and river sediment transport to evaluate the potential for long-term channel recovery in the Big River.

 Bio
Dr. Pavlowsky received his B.S. in Natural Resource Management and M.S. in Geography from Rutgers University in New Jersey.  He earned his Ph.D. in geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the areas of fluvial geomorphology, environmental geochemistry, and water quality.  He has been at Missouri State since 1997 and has mentored over 35 completed Master theses on environmental problems in the Ozarks.  In 2005 he became the director of the Ozarks Environmental and Water Resources Institute within the College of Natural and Applied Sciences (http://oewri.missouristate.edu/).  Recent projects focus on stream restoration, channel stability, water quality trends, human impacts, sedimentation patterns, and sediment contamination in Ozark streams and lakes. He has been working on the geomorphology, hydrology, and contaminated sediment transport in the Big River since 2009.


Harnessing Energy and Freshwater from Wastewater: Reversing the Environmental Footprint

Jianmin Wang, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Civil, Architectural & Environmental Engineering
Missouri University of Science and Technology

3:30 PM
Friday, February 27th, 2015 Room 314 Butler-Carlton Hall
Missouri University of Science & Technology

 Abstract:
Wastewater is disgusting. To make municipal wastewater dischargeable, we have to use 0.8% of total U.S. energy load. The energy consumption is expect to increase by 30 - 50% as more advanced treatment is required. However, with proper technologies that synergistically reduce energy demand and improve treatment quality, energy used to treat wastewater can be totally recovered, even with a net gain, from wastewater itself. Wastewater can also be converted to freshwater, to alleviate the world-wide water shortage problem.
In this presentation, Dr. Wang will discuss the feasibility of low dissolved oxygen (DO) aeration strategy he developed for advanced wastewater treatment, which will reduce more than 10% of energy use without major infrastructure modification. Dr. Wang will also discuss other approaches that can be practically used to further reduce energy use by more than 30% for wastewater treatment. Moreover, Dr. Wang will introduce a maintenance-free biogas generator to effectively produce biogas energy while reducing waste production from the treatment plant. A total energy balance will be presented to show that a wastewater plant can practically be a net energy producer rather than a consumer. In addition to saving energy and reducing carbon footprint for wastewater treatment, Dr. Wang will also present a new alternating anaerobic-anoxic-aerobic (A3O) process that can reduce energy use while improving effluent quality, especially for nutrient minimization.

Biosketch:
Dr. Jianmin Wang is an associate professor in the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, Missouri S&T. His main research focuses are sustainable wastewater treatment and reclamation, heavy metal chemistry, and environmental impacts of nanoparticles. He had over 20 years experience in academia and industry, and has published more than 50 refereed journal papers He also presented in many national and international conferences. Recently he has developed multiple technologies to improve wastewater treatment energy efficiency, reduce O&M needs, and improve effluent quality especially nutrient removal.


Using Renewable-powered Microgrids for Groundwater Circulation and Treatmen

Joe Guggenberger, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Geological Engineering
Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering Department
Missouri University of Science and Technology

3:30 PM
Friday, February 13th, 2015
Room 314 - Butler Carlton Hall
Missouri University of Science & Technology

Abstract
Using photovoltaics to charge a vanadium redox battery (VRB) has proven to be a valuable technique for meeting energy demands to areas without grid access. Characterizing system performance would allow the system to be appropriately sized to meet all required electrical loads at a given renewable source operational time frequency, which would decrease capital, transportation costs, and quantity of emergency fuel required. A microgrid system was installed at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri to simulate groundwater circulation and treatment at forward operating bases.  An iterative model was derived to incrementally predict microgrid system performance. This model requires incremental values of solar insolation, ambient temperature, and VRB temperature to predict VRB state of charge (SOC). A case study was performed to estimate the constant loads the system could power at varying renewable source probabilities. Typical meteorological year 3 (TMY3) data from 217 Class I locations throughout the United States were inserted into the model to characterize the quantity of external AC and DC load the system could supply at intermittent diesel generator operational frequencies.


Capabilities and Ongoing Research- An open house

3:30 PM
Friday, February 6th , 2015                                     
Room 125 Butler Carlton Hall- Civil Building
Missouri University of Science & Technology

Abstract
The activities and capabilities related to environmental research at Missouri S&T are as diverse as the environment itself. As the campus community looks to increase the cross-campus collaborations and integrate a variety of expertise, we are offering a sampler-platter of our current expertise, ongoing projects, and analytic capabilities in hope to develop more cross-campus collaborations for years to come. Topics include:

  • New Analytic capabilities: Confocal microscopy,
    Single nanoparticle ICP-MS, Field portable SPME-GC, 3Flex Chemisorption/Physisorption/Micropore Analyzer, UAVs for remote sensing
    ...
    All to go with core of existing analytics that are on par with any environmental analytic capabilities in Missouri.

Unique research areas

  • Indoor air pollution and building health, such as Methhouse health impacts
  • High atmosphere aerosol characterization, formation and chemistry
  • Toxicity and fate of engineered nanoparticles
  • Pharmaceuticals and emerging pollutants in natural water and in drinking water.
  • Waste to energy waste treatment processes for Missouri communities and military installations
  • Environmental microbiology in extreme environments: including mine waste treatment
  • Novel assessment of pollution in the biosphere and potential exposure routes
  • Remote sensing of plant stress related to pollutants or climate change
  • Fate and toxicity of engineered nanoparticles
  • Chemistry of and toxicology of byproducts from coal combustion (flyash, CO2) and mining (tailings, sediments, mine discharges)
  • Fate and transport of metal, organic, and radionuclide contaminants in a wide range of environmental settings.

Phytoremediation Field Implementation and Tree Establishment Challenges

Brad Snow
Principal, Snow Environmental Solutions
Austin, Texas

3:30 PM
Friday, January 30th, 2015                           
Room 314 Butler-Carlton Hall
Missouri University of Science & Technology

Abstract
Many industrial site owners with groundwater contamination migrating toward neighboring properties have discovered that their conventional pump-and-treat systems are expensive to maintain and that in situ treatment methods can be technically and/or economically impracticable.  A phytoremediation application using trees to capture and hydraulically control affected groundwater can contribute to a sustainable cost-effective solution over the long-term.  This seminar presents two such phytoremediation applications, at a former petroleum refinery and at a manufacturing facility, both in Oklahoma.  The presentation focuses on the field implementation process and efforts to establish trees during challenging conditions.  The refinery site groundwater has light non-aqueous phase liquids (LNAPL, free-phase petroleum hydrocarbons) trapped within a confined aquifer.  Results of a bench-scale study designed to simulate possible upward migration of LNAPL into the tree backfill material will be presented. 

Biography
Brad Snow is a self-employed environmental consultant (President-for-Life and Benign Dictator operating Snow Environmental Solutions from a spare bedroom).  His 32 year professional practice has focused on strategic management of environmental liabilities, risk-based site remediation, environmental due diligence, and litigation support.  He has conducted soil and groundwater investigations and cleanup projects throughout the U.S. and internationally for a wide variety of industrial clients. Most of his recent projects use in situ chemical treatment, monitored natural attenuation, and land use restrictions to control human exposures.  Brad received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Geological Engineering from MST, finally leaving behind his six monastic years in Rolla in 1982.  He is a registered professional engineer and professional geologist in several states.


Lab Safety Training

Santosh Mishra, Ph.D.
Research Chemist,
Environmental Research Center

3:30 PM
Friday, January 23rd, 2015                           
Room 314 Butler-Carlton Hall- Civil Building
Missouri University of Science & Technology

The Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) is committed to providing a safe learning and working environment for our students and employees. As part of this commitment, lab safety training is required to establish a standard format for safety in the laboratories of the university.
In this seminar, we will discuss general lab safety rules, protective equipment, chemical hygiene plan, chemical storage, and chemical waste management. After training, you should be able to protect yourself in a lab. Your safety is our priority.