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Acara IonE Frontiers Presentation/IonE Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge

There are two events this week you may be interested in. One is a Frontiers Series presentation from Julian Marshall about Acara. The other is a new program, the Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award, we are doing at IonE, with sponsorship from Dow Chemical. Both are also webcast.

IonE Frontiers November 28 - 12:00-13:00 CST

What Is YOUR Story of Global Impact? A Collaborative Approach to Solving Global Grand Challenges
Acara Co-directors Julian Marshall, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Engineering in the College of Science and Engineering and Fred Rose, Institute on the Environment

How do students transition from classroom learning to global impact? Most are unsure of how make this leap. Acara's series of classes helps students create their own path to global impact. The process involves creating a local solution to a global grand challenge. Aspects include global collaboration, overseas or domestic field study and coursework, venture development and design thinking, and identifying a self-sustaining solution. Acara is multi-disciplinary and open to students of all majors; we work on the global problems and local solutions that students identify. Acara has two missions: education and impact. Marshall and Rose will talk about their educational approach, impacts beyond the classroom, how students engage with Acara and how experiences like Acara fit within a traditional university degree.

webcast at: https://umconnect.umn.edu/IonEFrontiers
more info on Frontiers at: http://environment.umn.edu/news_events/events/frontiers.html

Dow SISCA

The Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award (SISCA) is a program of the Institute on the Environment and the Dow Chemical Company. SISCA recognizes and rewards students and universities for innovation and research that encourages and promotes sustainable solutions to the world's most pressing social, economic and environmental problems. The Awards include a $10,000 grand prize and a $2,500 runner-up prize. The competition is open to full time graduate and professional students enrolled at all campuses of the University of Minnesota.

The objective of SISCA is to develop practical and innovative solutions that address global environmental challenges. It encourages action from students; action to reach out and understand how to apply their knowledge to solve important problems in the world. This means identifying and understanding a real problem. It means developing not only a solution but a plan for implementing that solution.

The Final presentations and awards for the Dow SISCA program will take place at the Institute on the Environment, November 29, 2012.

Room R380 (Seminar Room)
Institute on the Environment, 325 Learning & Environmental Sciences
University of Minnesota St. Paul Campus, 1954 Buford Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108

Agenda for Nov 29. All times, Central Standard Time. All events open to the public.

8:00 am - 12:30 pm Presentations to judging panel, R380. Also webcast on UMNConnect http://umconnect.umn.edu/ione/
3:00 - 4:00 Poster session featuring the morning presenters. IonE Commons
4:00 - 4:45 Short 2 minute presentation from each team and award ceremony. R380. not webcast.
4:45 - 5:30 Reception. IonE Commons

Summary of Presentations

All presenters are full time University of Minnesota graduate students.

8:15- 8:45 : Helping African People through Hydrothermal Carbonization of Typha australis to Create Cooking and Heating Fuel
Matthew Aro

The University of Minnesota Duluth Natural Resources Research Institute, in partnership with key collaborators, proposes to establish proof-of-concept of a transformational hydrothermal carbonization technology to convert Typha australis, an aquatic plant found in West Africa that negatively affects millions of people, into energy-dense biocoal for cooking and heating fuel.

8:45 - 9:15 Understanding Ecological Impacts of Dioxin Contamination Using Endangered Primates as Sentinel Species
Kevin Lang and Jonathan Clayton

Dioxins are a group of the most dangerous chemical compounds known. Historically, they were commonly found in preparations of herbicides including agent orange, a defoliant used in the Vietnam Conflict. The international airport in Da Nang, Vietnam is considered one of the world's most dioxin-contaminated sites. One of the pitfalls of the environmental assessment is that they assessed impacts to surrounding terrestrial and aquatic wildlife qualitatively. Son Tra Nature Reserve is located approximately 8 km from Da Nang Airport. This nature preserve is home to the red-shanked douc (Pygathrix nemaeus), which is currently listed as endangered. We propose to further assess the extent of dioxin contamination in Da Nang by investigating dioxin levels in the population of doucs residing in Son Tra. Because doucs are arboreal primates, they offer a unique way to better understand the extent of environmental impact caused by dioxin contamination.

9:15 - 9:45 Application of Thermophilic Anaerobic Digestion for the Destruction of Antibiotic Resistance Genes in Residual Municipal Wastewater Solids
Tucker Burch

The molecular causative agents of antibiotic resistance are antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs). ARGs can be found in a number of reservoirs, including the human gastrointestinal tract, soil, surface water, agricultural waste, and municipal wastewater. Residual solids produced by the municipal wastewater treatment process are one of the most significant of these reservoirs, and are known to carry vast quantities of ARGs. Approximately 99% of all ARGs that exit the municipal wastewater treatment process can be found in residual municipal wastewater solids. Treatment of residual municipal wastewater solids to destroy ARGs therefore represents a novel opportunity to reduce the spread of antibiotic resistance, thereby preserving the sustainability of antibiotics for medical uses.

10:00 - 10:30 Brighter Market
Brian Krohn

The world needs a better market for financing residential energy efficiency projects. Homeowners want to invest in energy efficiency but are hindered by high upfront costs and limited access to financing. Investors see the enormous potential returns in the market but have no way to invest because projects are too small and disaggregated. The world needs a better market. They need Brighter Market. Brighter Market is a peer-to-peer lending site dedicated to financing home energy efficiency projects. Brighter Market allows homeowners to plan and finance their energy efficiency projects. Investors, from individual to institutional, use Brighter Market to screen and select from thousands EE projects posted by homeowners. This allows an investor to instantly make diversified investments. In addition, a portion of all projects goes toward a philanthropic fund, which supports less financially attractive, yet high impact projects, thus ensuring that the maximum reductions are achieved.

10:30 - 11:00 Hygrothermal Performance of Basement Walls in Cold-Weather Climates
Anna Harmon

The hygrothermal (heat and moisture) performance of basement walls is important because it impacts the energy performance, durability, affordability and the occupant comfort of a house. Extensive research has been conducted on the hygrothermal performance of above grade wall systems, but less has been done on basement walls. This research aims to improve our understanding of the performance of basement walls and improve the output data from foundation simulation software that is under development. The software will ultimately be used by architects, engineers, builders and code officials to effectively design new and modify existing basement wall systems. By optimizing basement walls there is the potential to eliminate mold problems that result in health problems, improve energy efficiency that results in cost savings to the owner and reduced greenhouse gas emissions and eliminate water damage that reduces long-term durability of construction.

11:00 - 11:30 Development of a Silica Gel Encapsulated Cell Bioremediation System for Wastewater Treatment
Baris Mutlu and Sijin Yeom

Water is one of the most scarce resources in the world is being contaminated at an alarming rate through byproducts of industrial (like hydraulic fracturing) and agricultural (like farming herbicides) processes, posing a major environmental health risk. In this project, we hypothesized that the porous silica matrix offers protection while allowing nutrients and chemicals to diffuse to the bacteria for the purpose of maintaining degradation activity over a prolonged period of time. Based on the hypothesis, we propose an encapsulated cell bioremediation system for wastewater cleaning. We will focus on silica gel encapsulation methods to produce reactive biomaterials, which can then be used in a flow-through bioreactor configuration for wastewater treatment.


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Fred Rose
Acara Program Director
Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AcaraUMN
Website: http://acara.umn.edu/

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