ISTC provides technical assistance from a distance

The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) Technical Assistance Program (TAP) at the University of Illinois makes companies and communities more competitive and resilient with sustainable business practices, technologies, and solutions. TAP works at the intersection of industry, science and government to help clients achieve profitable, sustainable results.

In service to the State of Illinois, ISTC provides all Illinois organizations, businesses, manufacturing facilities, institutions and governments the opportunity for one free site visit and sustainability assessment from TAP. However, in light of the Governor’s stay-at-home order and restrictions on non-essential travel for University personnel as we face the COVID-19 pandemic, TAP staff members are currently not conducting in-person site visits.

But this does not mean that we are not still here to serve you. Our staff members are working remotely, and are available to help your business or community with:

  • Answers to questions related to waste reduction, water and energy efficiency and conservation
  • Guidance on institutional water treatment, particularly given recent changes to building use patterns
  • Greening your supply chain
  • Sustainability visioning, goal setting, planning and communication with stakeholders
  • Information on alternative technologies and processes to reduce resource consumption, hazardous material use, and emissions
  • General recommendations for process improvement, which can increase your productivity while reducing your negative environmental footprint

Learn more about TAP services and impacts on the ISTC web site. If you are interested in scheduling a site visit in the future, when travel restrictions have been lifted, fill out our form to request a site visit.  Questions can also be directed to istc-info@illinois.edu, to receive immediate assistance.

Subscribe to our monthly e-mail newsletter on sustainability for food and beverage manufacturers at https://groups.webservices.illinois.edu/subscribe/115948.

You can also keep up to date on TAP projects and services, case studies, and guidance by subscribing to the ISTC blog (look for the “subscribe” box for email input on the main blog page) or exploring the blog’s Technical Assistance category. Our web site also provides a list of fact sheets, case studies and other publications which may provide inspiration for your efforts. In the coming months, TAP will also be developing a new web site to more fully describe recent projects, successes, and services; this will be linked to directly from the main ISTC web site. Be on the lookout for it!

Finally, on April 9th, at 12 PM Central, we invite you to join us for a webinar, Ann Arbor Summer Festival (A2SF) Festival Footprint: Going Zero Waste. Learn more and register at https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/4557515682919003659. If it inspires you to pursue zero waste at your facility or in your community, we’d love to discuss opportunities and ideas with you! Reach out to our zero waste team at istc-zerowaste@illinois.edu.  If you want to receive notifications of future webinars from ISTC, you can sign up at https://groups.webservices.illinois.edu/subscribe/53516.

Stay safe and know that we are here to support your organization’s sustainability efforts during this difficult time.

ISTC kicks off Fall 2019 Sustainability Seminars in September

Update: September 5 seminar is canceled.

ISTC’s Fall 2019 Sustainability Seminar series kicks off in September with two talks.

On Thursday, September 5, JS Rhodes, Director of Growth at Solar Sun’s Recycling, will share talking points on solar module markets and end-of-life issues. Then there will be opportunities for a two-way discussion on these topics. Follow Rhodes on Facebook with #solarprideworldwide.

On Thursday, September 19, Andrew Turner,Associate Professor in Geochemistry, Pollution and the Environment at the University of Plymouth, UK, will discuss the origin and recycling of hazardous chemicals in plastic consumer products.

All seminars are held in the Steven J. Warner Conference Room at ISTC (One Hazelwood Dr. in Champaign, find directions on our web site). Metered and bike parking are available and the CUMTD’s Yellow bus line stops one block away.

The seminars will also be simulcast as webinars for those unable to attend in person. Register for the webinars here:

View archives of previous sustainability seminars on our web site.

ISTC announces Spring 2019 sustainability seminars

ISTC has announced its schedule of sustainability seminars for Spring 2019. All seminars are held from noon-1 pm in the SJW Conference room at ISTC 1 Hazelwood Dr in Champaign. Metered parking ($1/hr) in the lot; bike parking; and yellow bus stops at Hazelwood and Oak.

The seminars are also broadcast via webinar for those who can’t attend in person. Register for each session using the links below. Archives of previous seminars are available at https://www.istc.illinois.edu/events/sustainability_seminars.

Thursday, February 7
Recent Advancements in Virus Detection and Monitoring
Speaker: Krista Rule Wigginton, Assistant Professor
University of Michigan Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Register for the free webinar

Abstract: Viruses are important pathogens that are commonly associated with contaminated water. Norovirus, for example, is a waterborne virus that is responsible for 10x more illnesses in the U.S. than the next most common waterborne pathogen. To address risks of waterborne virus illnesses, drinking water standards include enteric virus reduction requirements; however the utility of these standards is limited in the absence of methods that can demonstrate they are achieved. Viruses are very difficult to concentrate, purify, and identify. Detection typically relies on culture-based or PCR-based methods; however, most viruses are not readily cultured, and their lack of conserved genes and rapid evolution complicates PCR primer development and sequencing efforts. In this presentation, I will report on our work focused on improving virus detection and monitoring in wastewater and drinking water.

Thursday, February 21
Materials, Assembly Approaches, and Designs for Ultrahigh-Efficiency, Full-Spectrum Operation Photovoltaics and their Applications
Speaker: Ralph G. Nuzzo , G. L. Clark Professor of Chemistry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Register for the webinar

Abstract: The production of integrated electronic circuits provides examples of the most advanced fabrication and assembly approaches that are generally characterized by large-scale integration of high-performance compact semiconductor elements that rely on rigid and essentially planar form factors. New methods of fabricating micro-scale semiconductor devices provide a set of enabling means to lift these constraints by engendering approaches to device configurations that would be impossible to realize with bulk, wafer-scale materials while retaining capacities for high (or altogether new forms of) electronic and/or optoelectronic performance. An exemplary case of interest in our work includes large-area integrated electro-optical systems for photovoltaic energy conversion that can provide a potentially transformational approach to supplant current technologies with high performance, low cost alternatives. In this talk I will highlight progress made in the collaborative research efforts that illustrate important opportunities for exploiting advances in optical and electronic materials in synergy with physical means of patterning, fabrication, and assembly to advance capabilities for photovoltaic energy conversion and highlight emerging applications for new materials and unconventional device form factors in high efficiency energy conversion technologies. Of particular interest are the materials, and new understandings of science, that will allow an efficient utilization of the full solar resource.

Thursday, March 7
Removal of Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) from Water Using Tailored and Highly Porous Organosilica Adsorbents
Speaker: Paul Edmiston ,Theron and Dorothy Peterson Professor of Chemistry and Analytical Chemist, The College of Wooster (Ohio)
Register for the free webinar

Abstract: Porous organosilicas with specific surface chemistries were developed as adsorbents for the selective removal of either perfluoroalkyl surfactants (PFASs) from water. Swellable organically modified silica (SOMS) materials were created that incorporated cationic and fluoroalkyl groups with the hypothesis that intermolecular interactions specific to PFASs would improve adsorption affinity and capacity. SOMS materials are useful in adsorbent design since they possess: i) the ability to swell to creates a continuous mesoporous structure, ii) a surface chemistry that can be tailored through synthesis or incorporation of polymer coatings to the pores, and iii) chemical stability to allow for regeneration in place. Adsorption kinetics, adsorption isotherms, and column breakthrough experiments were used to measure performance for a range of PFASs with variable chain length and chemical identity (PFDA, PFNA, PFOA, PFHpA, PFHxA, PFOeA, PFBA, PFOSA, PFxHs, PFOSA, and PFOSaAm). Organosilica materials show promise for allowing rational design of adsorbents used for remediation of PFAS impacted water. Adsorption mechanisms unique to SOMS will be presented in the context of treatment of wide range of water solutes for those with general interest in water purification technology.

Thursday, March 28
Modern Materials: New Methods in Manufacturing and Remediation
Speaker: Adam M. Feinberg, postdoctoral researcher, University of Illinois Autonomous Materials Systems (AMS) Group
Register for the free webinar

Abstract: This seminar will discuss topics at the beginning and the end of the material lifecycle. At the beginning of the material lifecycle, a new material manufacturing method will be discussed – morphogenic manufacturing, i.e. the generation of pattern and structure without machining or molding. Unstable reaction propagation during frontal ring-opening metathesis polymerization (FROMP) of dicyclopentadiene (DCPD) has been harnessed to generate spatially-resolved patterns in pDCPD resins. Autonomous color pattern development, pattern characterization and tunability, and applications to real-world systems will be discussed. The second section of this talk will center on the end of the material lifecycle. Cyclic poly(phthalaldehyde) (cPPA), an attractive transient material which rapidly depolymerizes upon activation, has been used to produce transient bulk materials. Topics will include advances in bulk processing of cPPA, mechanistic insights learned along the way, and the future of this stimulus-responsive polymer.

Thursday, April 18
PFAS remediation at MSU‐Fraunhofer: Electrochemical destruction in wastewater and landfill leachates using boron‐doped diamond electrodes
Speaker: Cory A. Rusinek – Scientist,  Michigan State University‐Fraunhofer USA, Inc. Center for Coatings and Diamond Technologies
Register for the free webinar

Abstract: Boron‐doped diamond (BDD) electrodes have shown promise over the last decade for contaminant degradation with a number of studies showing its ability to degrade PFASs. The BDD material provides a combination of rigidity, high oxygen over‐potential, and overall electrode lifetime, which makes it an attractive option for an electrochemical treatment system. This presentation will cover the basic and applied research findings of using electrochemical oxidation (EO) with BDD electrodes to destroy PFAS in wastewater and other complex samples such as landfill leachates and wastewaters. Various complimentary treatment technologies for PFAS remediation will also be addressed.

 

Upcoming ISTC Sustainability Seminar: In-situ Investigation of Subsurface Porous Media Processes: Microfluidics and Chemical Imaging

The final ISTC seminar of the fall semester,  In-situ Investigation of Subsurface Porous Media Processes: Microfluidics and Chemical Imaging, is scheduled for November 8 from noon-1 pm.

Rajveer Singh, Research Associate at the University of Illinois’ Beckman Institute, will discuss the design of a 2D- microfluidic experimental flow bed, based on real geo-materials as opposed to engineered materials in traditional micromodels. He will explain how he’s using chemical imaging (Raman and Infrared spectroscopy) methods for in-situ characterization of biogeochemical reactions in the flow cells, as well as alternate analytical techniques in environmental engineering.

The seminar will be held in the conference room at ISTC (1 Hazelwood Dr, Champaign). Metered parking ($1/hr) is available in the lot. We also have bike parking and are near the MTD Yellow route bus stop at Hazelwood and Oak.

If you are unable to attend in person, you can register for the webinar broadcast at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1517546341449737986.

Archived videos and links to slide presentations are available on the ISTC web site. Previous seminars from this semester include:

  • Oxidative Properties of Ambient Particulate Matter – An assessment of the relative contributions from various aerosol components and their emission sources — Presented by Vishal Verma,  Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Enhanced Sorption as a Means to Sequester PFAS — Presented by Matt Simcik – Associate Professor, Division of Environmental Health Sciences, University of Minnesota
  • Becoming a More Sustainable Craft Brewer – Nice to do or business imperative? — Presented by John Stier – Sustainability Mentor, Brewers Association
  • Looking Ahead at Solar Panel Recycling in Illinois — Presented by Nancy Holm, Assistant Director, and Jennifer Martin, Environmental Program Development Specialist, both from the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center

 

Illinois Sustainability Award keynote shows power of green business

With one week left to submit entries for the 2017 Illinois Sustainability Award, ISTC has released the video of one of the 2016 Awards Ceremony’s Keynote Speakers — John Bradburn, Global Waste Reduction Manager at General Motors Corporation.

 

Speakers John Bradburn and Kim Frankovich.
2016 ISA keynote speakers were Kim Frankovich, global sustainability director at Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company (left) and John Bradburn, global waste reduction manager at General Motors Corporation.

Bradburn’s address, “Stuff, Things and People Working to Grow Economies and Communities,” formed a powerful complement to the second keynote by Kim Frankovich, global sustainability director at Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, a subsidiary of Mars, Inc.

 

In her address, “Sustainability within Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company,” Frankovich described the effectiveness of a privately held company to partner with non-governmental and international expert agencies to promote environmental responsibility and social justice for suppliers, workers, and customers.

 

In a more than 30-year career, Bradburn has spearheaded efforts to recycle, upcycle, reduce pollution hazards, and create fundamentally impactful opportunities to advance the prospects for the environment, communities, and his company.

 

Both addresses were inspiring as models for how very different companies can excel in business and in society with creativity and bold action embodied by the Illinois Sustainability Awards. Frankovich’s address will also be made available online as a later date.

 

REMEMBER: Online applications for this year’s Illinois Sustainability Awards are due at ISTC by 5 p.m. Thursday, May 4.

 

2017 ISA awards ceremony, 10.24.17, Union League Club of Chicago

Challenges of Carbon Utilization Have Regional Solutions

istc director kevin o'brien speaks at technology summit in San Antonio Texas
Advances in carbon utilization technology holds diverse options for job and economic development, according to ISTC Director Kevin O’Brien.

Emerging technologies for carbon dioxide (CO2) utilization present significant opportunities for job creation and economic growth, said Kevin O’Brien, director of the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC), a division of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in a presentation to the Eighth Carbon Dioxide Utilization Summit Feb. 22 in San Antonio, Texas.

 

But success in deriving those benefits from carbon utilization depends on the assets (economic and human) of each particular region, O’Brien emphasized to energy, chemical, plastics, and construction industry leaders at the conference.

 

Mature regional partnerships for workforce development, higher education, economic development, government support, and responsive research and development capabilities are some of the factors that contribute to development of a sustainable CO2 value chain.

 

O’Brien pointed to reasons why Illinois, where coal underlies nearly the entire state and remains a $2.5 billion annual industry, is seizing on every advantage it has to align with the potential of carbon utilization innovations.

 

  • Illinois research universities have leading programs in engineering, engineering geology, carbon capture, and other scientific innovation. One example is the use of CO2 as a fertilizer substitute at the University of Illinois. In a major agricultural state with nutrient loss problems and where the climate is expected to reduce carbon retention in soil, synergies abound.
  • College curricula, community colleges, economic development professionals, political leaders, and employers are already connected to existing supply chains.
  • The University of Illinois’ Prairie Research Institute, ISTC’s parent organization, has assembled decades-long reservoirs of valuable data on Illinois weather, regional climate, soil, groundwater, stream flow, and other factors that is relevant to an economic pivot toward carbon utilization.

 

On the research front, a Midwest Regional Approach to Carbon Utilization workshop is being planned for June 28 by co-organizers ISTC, the Gas Technology Institute, and the Advanced Coal and Energy Research Center of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.

 

Other regions will have different assets and opportunities. For instance, carbon utilization will necessitate pipelines or another cost-effective transportation method for captured CO2. Markets with a track record for facilitating transportation will be ahead of the game, O’Brien said.

Sustainability Seminar Series Fall 2016: Contaminants in the Environment

The ISTC Sustainability Seminar Series continues on Thursdays this fall with the theme “Contaminants in the Environment.” The schedule of seminar speakers is below. To be added to the seminar and events email list or to receive links to the live broadcasts of the seminars, please contact Beth Meschewski at elm2@illinois.edu.

 

All seminars will be held at ISTC (1 E. Hazelwood Dr. in Champaign) in the SJW Conference Room. The series is an opportunity to share information and discussion with peers in a relaxed, informal environment. Please feel free to bring a lunch. Seminars usually last about an hour and questions are welcome. The seminars will be broadcast live and will also be recorded and archived on the ISTC website: www.istc.illinois.edu.   Continue reading “Sustainability Seminar Series Fall 2016: Contaminants in the Environment”

Ten: 10 Days of ISTC; Anniversary Presentation Video

30thBlogThing10Videos of presentations at ISTC’s anniversary event provide a fascinating look at problems of pollution contamination in Illinois and how the Center contributed to the clean up. Links to the videos will be made available over the next two weeks as they become available.

ISTC Looks Back, and to the Future During Anniversary

VIDEO 10: Mark Ryan After leading the assembly in “Happy Birthday” to ISTC, Ryan shared a brief survey of the history of “sustainability in the modern context.” In 1980, sustainable development was called a global priority in “World Conservation Strategy” published by the International Union for of Conservation of Nature.

 

The United Nation’s Bruntland Commission defined it in 1987: “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

 

But sustainability in the sense of natural resources goes back thousands of years to so many cultures across the globe that Ryan said he was comfortable labeling it a “universal truth.”

 

For examples in ancient times he cited, “Deuteronomy’s” caution not to kill female birds with young, forest management practiced in the Han Dynasty, and the Roman latifundium which managed the production of wood and other crops. Ryan noted that when Rome fell, and latifundia disappeared, so did many of the forests in Italy and France.

 

Ryan continued to offer examples of preserving resources for future use through the centuries, right up to the establishment of the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center in 1985.

 

ALL VIDEOS and other ISTC 30th Anniversary information is available at this ISTC web page.

Nine: 10 Days of ISTC; Anniversary Celebration Videos

30thBlogThing2Videos of presentations at ISTC’s anniversary event provide a fascinating look at problems of pollution contamination in Illinois and how the Center contributed to the clean up. Links to the videos will be made available over the next two weeks as they become available.

ISTC Looks Back, and to the Future During Anniversary

VIDEO 9: State Senator Scott Bennett’s presentation gave insights on how policies work their way through the state legislature. For 10 years politics, policy and science questions surrounded a proposal to store PCBs and manufactured gas plant waste in a DeWitt County landfill positioned over the Mohamet Aquifer.

 

He has been active in promoting legislation to protect the aquifer, which is a critical source of drinking water for a large region of central Illinois. Another pending bill to protect the state’s natural infrastructure is a comprehensive program to monitor the quality of air, water, and land resources. Also, a proposed law would allow cities to collect fees from power plants to prepare for the costs of environmental cleanup when the plant eventually closes down.

 

NEXT UP: Mark Ryan, PRI executive director, “A Brief History of Sustainability.”

 

Eight: 10 Days of ISTC; Anniversary Presentation Videos

30thBlogThing9Videos of presentations at ISTC’s anniversary event provide a fascinating look at problems of pollution contamination in Illinois and how the Center contributed to the clean up. Links to the videos will be made available over the next two weeks as they become available.

ISTC Looks Back, and to the Future During Anniversary

VIDEO 8: Jerri-Anne Garl represented the federal Environmental Protection Agency during the ISTC Anniversary Celebration. Since EPA’s pollution prevention program started in the early 1990s, ISTC “has been one of our most effective and innovative partners,” Garl said. “ISTC itself has served as a model for other state programs.” She outlined successes of ISTC programs in assisting local communities and small companies, as well as major manufacturers, save money, water, energy, and make their operations more environmentally friendly.

 

Garl reviewed federal priorities for the EPA: 1) making a visible difference in communities; addressing climate change and improving air quality; launching a new era of state, tribal and local partnerships; and embracing EPA as a high performing organization. She added that the agency has set three emphasis areas for its work: climate change, food manufacturing, and hazardous materials mitigation.

 

“We believe that the ISTC is really well-positioned with the tools, experience, connections and the innovative spirit, to be a central partner in this effort.

 

NEXT UP: Scott Bennett, Illinois Senate (52 Dist. D), “Protecting Our Environment.”