2017 SyracuseCoE Symposium Presenters

Name: Charles Driscoll

Title: Distinguished Professor and University Professor of Environmental Systems Engineering

Affiliation: Syracuse University

Bio: Charles T. Driscoll is a Distinguished and University Professor at Syracuse University. Driscoll’s scholarly work addresses the effects of disturbance on forest, freshwater and marine ecosystems, including air pollution (acid and mercury deposition), land-use, and climate change. Current research focuses on: recovery of eastern forest watersheds from elevated acidic deposition; atmospheric deposition, watershed and surface water transport and transformations, and biotic exposure of mercury; co-benefits of carbon dioxide emissions controls from power plants; ecosystem restoration; and ecosystem response to changing climate. He has been a principal investigator of the Hubbard Brook Long-Term Ecosystem Research project, and is currently a co-investigator. Driscoll has testified at Congressional and state legislative committee hearings, and served on several local, national and international committees. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Presentation Title: Air Quality, Health, and Ecosystem Co-benefits and Dis-benefits of Policy Options for a U.S. Powerplant Carbon Standard

Abstract: Carbon dioxide emissions standards for US power plants will influence the fuels and technologies used to generate electricity, alter emissions of pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter, and influence ambient air quality and public and ecosystem health. An analysis was conducted of how three alternative scenarios for US power plant carbon standards could change fine particulate matter and ozone concentrations in ambient air, and the resulting public health and ecosystem co-benefits, including improving the heat-rate efficiency of individual facilities, a carbon-tax scenario and a scenario of a flexible approach that promotes energy efficiency and renewables similar to the Clean Power Plan. The results underscore that carbon standards to curb global climate change can also provide immediate local and regional health and ecosystem co-benefits, but the magnitude depends on the design of the standards. Recently the U.S. EPA is expected to replace the Obama era Clean Power Plan. We are evaluating the dis-benefits associated with a series of emission roll back scenarios.

Name: Naomi Keena

Title: PhD Candidate

Affiliation: Center for Architecture Science and Ecology (CASE) Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Bio: Naomi Keena is an architect and PhD Candidate at the Center for Architecture Science and Ecology (CASE), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). Her dissertation focuses on implementing data visual analytics as a means to investigate the lifespan of buildings during the early stages of architectural design. She received her BScArch and BArch Architecture from University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland. Naomi holds an M.S. Architecture from Pratt Institute, where she was studying on a Fulbright Fellowship. She has over five years professional, architectural experience with internationally renowned firms in both the US and Europe. She has taught architecture at both undergraduate and graduate level at the School of Architecture, University of Sheffield, UK. She has published and presented her work at architecture, computer science, and environmental policy conferences in the U.S.

Presentation Title: Interactive Visualization for Interdisciplinary Research

Abstract: One of the most valuable means through which to comprehend big data and make it more approachable, is through data visualization. At the Center for Architecture, Science and Ecology (CASE) we are developing concepts and frameworks for a novel interactive visualization platform. The aim of which is to facilitate CASE’s interdisciplinary research, by enabling comparison across a large range of heterogeneous data types and analysis techniques across multiple scientific and socio-demographic categories and scales — from metadata to microdata. Through the development of an interactive dashboard, users can juxtapose and recombine the data and data analyses across diverse studies, variables, methods, and participants. Multiple studies on how best to visualize the multivalent parameters of interdisciplinary work are under investigation, highlighting how the use of interactive data-driven visualizations are proving very useful in managing and analyzing the interdisciplinary work of the center in the pursuit of common research goals.

Name: Christa Kelleher

Title: Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences & Civil Engineering

Affiliation: Syracuse University

Bio: Prof. Christa Kelleher is an Assistant Professor at Syracuse University with shared appointments in Earth Sciences and Civil Engineering. Her research interests are at the interfaces between climate, hydrology, humans, and ecology. She uses observations and mathematical models to investigate the organization of hydrology and water quality across spatio-temporal scales. Christa is also working with unmanned aerial vehicles (also known as drones) to understand patterns of hydrology and water quality in Syracuse.

Presentation Title: Patterns and Processes: Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to Assess Urban Stream Temperatures

Abstract: Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are one of the latest iterations in new technology that is shaping the way we collect environmental data towards inferences regarding patterns of stream water quality. We present an application of UAV technology to infer patterns of stream temperature along a 2km stretch of Onondaga Creek in Syracuse, NY punctuated with culverts and other streamflow contributions. UAV images were used to understand the relative temperatures of the stream, temperatures of contributions from culverts, as well as the distances at which these culvert contributions affected stream temperatures. Overall, we demonstrate the utility of UAVs for remote data collection, and reveal unexpected patterns regarding the impact of culverts on creek temperatures.

Name: Sage Kokjohn

Title: Assistant Professor

Affiliation: Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Wisconsin – Madison

Bio: Professor Kokjohn uses detailed engine modeling and experiments to explain the mechanisms controlling high-efficiency combustion systems. His areas of interest include turbulent combustion model development and identification of pathways to achieve robust, high-efficiency energy conversion. He has published over 60 articles related to energy research in academic journals and conference proceedings and has been issued three US patents. He currently has ongoing projects funded by the Department of Energy (DOE), the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the National Science Foundation (NSF), Caterpillar, Ford, and Toyota.

Presentation Title: Advanced Combustion: Challenges and Opportunities

Abstract: Liquid hydrocarbon fuels have unprecedented energy density and are expected to be the dominant energy storage media for many years. The presentation will discuss the state-of-the-art of energy conversion using combustion through modulation of fuel reactivity. Existing technology will be reviewed and challenges and opportunities will be highlighted. Dual fuel reactivity controlled compression ignition (RCCI) combustion will be shown to be a promising method to achieve high efficiency with near-zero NOx and soot emissions; however, the requirement to carry two fuels on-board limits practical application. Several approaches will be discussed to address this issue and enable fuel flexible, high-efficiency operation.

Name: Sarah H. Ledford

Title: Post-doctoral Fellow

Affiliation: Temple University

Bio: Dr. Ledford completed her Ph.D. at Syracuse University in 2016 studying the impact of surface water-groundwater interactions on nutrients and chloride in an urban stream. Prior to this, she worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Albuquerque, NM, and completed her B.A. at Vassar College. She is currently a post-doctoral fellow at Temple University where she is funded by the William Penn Foundation and the National Science Foundation to study nutrient cycling, in-stream metabolism, and sediment loading in an urban stream heavily impacted by development and wastewater treatment plant effluent. Her research also aims to bridge the gap between scientists, managers, and regulators when working to improve stream water quality.

Presentation Title: Evaluating controls on metabolism and nutrient processing in a WWTP-impacted urban stream

Abstract: Identifying controlling factors on microbial and algal growth in high nutrient streams is key to helping improve stream water quality. Nitrate (N), phosphate (P), fDOM, dissolved oxygen (DO), specific conductivity, and depth were measured at hourly intervals for a month in the summer of 2016 at a site approximately 15 km below a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluent outfall in suburban Philadelphia, PA. N concentrations showed no signs of processing in the distance from the WWTP, while P concentrations had a distinct diurnal signal. One-station metabolism modeling from diurnal DO patterns showed gross primary productivity of 0.3 to 3 g O2 m-2 d-1 and ecosystem respiration between -1 and -4 g O2 m-2 d-1, in line with observations from other urban streams. Due to the high availability of nutrients, especially N, and normal levels of productivity, we hypothesize in-stream nutrient processing may be light-limited in this system.

Name: Lauren McPhillips

Title: Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Affiliation: Arizona State University

Bio: Lauren McPhillips is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Arizona State University with the Urban Resilience to Extremes Sustainability Research Network. There she is part of an interdisciplinary, multi-city effort to assess cities ability to deal with extreme flooding and heat. She received her BS, MS, and PhD from Cornell University where she investigated hydrologic and biogeochemical processes in a range of systems, most recently focusing on nutrient cycling function of green stormwater infrastructure and also previously worked as a Research Associate in the US Geological Survey’s Water Resources Division in Reston, VA. In summer 2018, Lauren will be returning east to begin a position as Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at PennState.

Presentation Title: Evaluation of intentional and accidental stormwater management features across multiple US cities

Abstract: With the pressures of urbanization and climate change, cities are looking to better manage stormwater and thus prevent flooding and water quality issues. Here I will compare how different cities in the United States are managing stormwater through planned strategies like green stormwater infrastructure (GSI), as well as unintentional features like vacant land. These cities include Baltimore MD, Phoenix AZ, Portland OR and Syracuse NY. Analysis of GSI explores how density of GSI varies across the cities and how types of GSI vary between cities and over time. Assessment of vacant land reveals differences in total vacant area across the cities as well as soil type and land cover of vacant properties, and runoff modeling highlights how this manifests in variable potential to retain stormwater in vacant properties. With all of this insight, we hope to help cities continue to push the boundaries on improving their stormwater management strategies.

Name: Xianzhi Meng

Title: Postdoctoral Research Associate

Affiliation: University of Tennessee Knoxville

Bio: Dr. Xianzhi Meng is a Postdoc Research Associate in the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. Xianzhi completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry at the Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and got his Ph.D. degree in Chemistry at Georgia Institute of Technology. After graduation, Dr. Meng joined Dr. Ragauskas’ research team at ORNL/UTK in 2016. His research interests are improving the utilization of lignocellulosic biomass by understanding its characteristics and creating sustainable chemical solutions essential to converting lignocellulosic biomass resources to biomaterials, biofuels, and biochemicals.

Presentation Title: Structural Characterization of Co-Solvent Enhanced Lignocellulosic Fractionation Pretreated Lignin

Abstract: A novel pretreatment named Co-solvent Enhanced Lignocellulosic Fractionation (CELF) using THF with dilute acid to reduce biomass recalcitrance was recently developed. During CELF pretreatment, more than 90% of lignin could be extracted and dissolved into the liquid hydrolysate. Physicochemical characteristics of the extracted lignin, known as CELF lignin, including molecular weights, monolignol composition, and hydroxyl groups content were measured by various analytical techniques such as GPC, 13C-1H HSQC NMR, 31P NMR. GPC results indicated a dramatic decrease in MW of lignin after CELF pretreatment. HSQC NMR revealed that lignin β-O-4 linkages were significantly decreased after CELF pretreatment. 31P NMR showed that CELF pretreatment resulted in significant decrease of aliphatic OH group, possibly due to the oxidation of lignin side chains. On the other hand, the content of total phenolic hydroxyl groups was significantly increased, suggesting the drastic cleavage of interunit linkages in CELF lignin as confirmed by 2D NMR.

Name: Aditi Nagardeolekar

Title: Graduate student

Affiliation: SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

Bio: Aditi Nagardeolekar is a Doctoral Candidate at SUNY-ESF, majoring in Bioprocess Engineering. She holds a Master’s degree in Bioprocess Technology and is a registered pharmacist in her home country of India. She is currently working on isolation and purification of lignins from angiosperms, to produce fine chemicals of added value. Her research interests include lignocellulosics, pharmaceuticals and biopharmaceuticals. She has been a member of the American Chemical Society and the Technical Association of the Paper and Pulp Industry.

Presentation Title: Lignin as a by-product of hot-water extraction: potential increase in the value of biorefineries based on angiosperms

Abstract: Hot-water extraction (HWE) is a suggested pre-treatment for xylan-rich angiosperms that selectively removes hemicelluloses (xylans) from the biomass via autohydrolysis, producing cellulose-enriched biomass. Lignin is also partially removed during the process. HWE was conducted at 160oC for 2 hours in a 65 ft3 digester at SUNY-ESF, on three US-grown species, viz. miscanthus (Miscanthus sp., Family: Poaceae, perennial grass), wheat straw (Triticum sp. Family: Poaceae, agricultural residue) and willow (Genus: Salix, Family: Salicaceae, short rotation hardwood). Lignins were isolated from the extracts, characterized by analytical and spectrometric techniques, and were investigated for the production of formaldehyde-free adhesive blends and as an antioxidant. The hot-water extracted biomass may be recommended for pellet production. The isolated lignins were purified by a mild alkaline treatment. Promising results were obtained, indicating that the economic viability of biorefineries may be improved by utilization of all streams resulting from the biorefining processes.

Name: Kyoo-Chul (Kenneth) Park

Title: Assistant Professor

Affiliation: Northwestern University

Bio: Kyoo-Chul (Kenneth) Park joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering as an Assistant Professor in January 2017. He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2013 and worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. At both institutions, he was a recipient of four awards including the MIT Wunsch Foundation Silent Hoist and Crane Award for Outstanding Graduate Research and Harvard Postdoctoral Award for Professional Development.

Presentation Title: Bio-Inspired Atmospheric Water Generation

Abstract: Designing surfaces that enable droplets to grow rapidly and be shed as quickly as possible by capturing vapor and small airborne droplets is fundamental to dew and fog harvesting systems, thermal power generation, distillation towers, etc. However, cutting-edge approaches suffer from intrinsic trade-offs that make it difficult to optimize both growth and transport at once. Here we present engineered surface designs based on principles derived from biological examples that synergistically couples droplet growth and transport and outperforms other synthetic surfaces in terms of atmospheric water generation. Inspired by an unconventional interpretation of the role of the beetle’s bump geometry in promoting condensation, we show how to maximize vapor diffusion flux at the apex of convex millimetric bumps by optimizing curvature and shape. Integrating this apex geometry with a widening slope analogous to cactus spines couples rapid drop growth with fast directional transport, by creating a free energy profile that drives the drop down the slope. This coupling is further enhanced by a slippery, pitcher plant-inspired coating that facilitates feedback between coalescence-driven growth and capillary-driven motion. We further observe faster onset and a greater volume of collected water compared to other surfaces. We envision that our fundamental understanding and rational design strategy can be applied to a wide range of liquid collection applications and can be further combined with fog harvesting.

Name: Stephen Shaw

Title: Associate Professor

Affiliation: SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

Bio: Dr. Shaw is as Associate Professor in Environmental Resources Engineering at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. His research interests focus on assessing whether standard hydrologic engineering design approaches are effective when applied in a changing climate.

Presentation Title: Analyzing Hydrologic Time Series Through the Lens of Change Points: Identifying Evidence of Natural Variability in Streamflow Across the U.S. Between 1940 and 2014

Abstract: In this study, we introduce a new method for identifying change points in stream flow records. Change points can be defined as rapid shifts in the sustained mean level of a given stream flow. Our change point identification approach makes use of over 1500 stream gage records in the U.S. that have continuous records between 1940 and 2014. Instead of examining the hydrologic record of each gage in isolation, we search for widespread, concurrent change points across multiple gages. This new change point identification method found 19 change point clusters extending over multi-state areas between 1945 and 2009. The prevalence of distinct change points in the stream flow records of most U.S. streams suggests observed changes in U.S. hydrologic time series are still dominated by natural variability and do not yet strongly reflect anthropogenic climate change. Acknowledging the role of natural variability in the recent observed stream flow record can help us more clearly consider how recent extreme hydrologic events should inform future design standards for water resources infrastructure.