Schedule for Spring 2024

Friday, Sept. 22
Presenter: Daniel Yeh, professor of civil and environmental engineering, University of South Florida; 2023 Kappe lecturer, American Academy of Environmental Engineers & Scientists
Title: Reinventing the Toilet for Global Sanitation: The NEWgenerator Resource Recovery Machine

Abstract:
Billions of people worldwide suffer from poor sanitation due to a lack of wastewater infrastructure.  With high CAPEX and OPEX, the conventional approach of centralized wastewater treatment plants served by an extensive sewer system is not an option for many communities. A new classification of modular and pre-fabricated non-sewered sanitation systems (NSSS, ISO 30500) has been introduced as an onsite micro-infrastructure alternative. Developed at the University of South Florida, the NEWgenerator is a solar-powered, modular, automated wastewater treatment and recycling system capable of operating independently from grid power, piped water and sewer.  The core technology within the NEWgenerator is the anaerobic membrane bioreactor (AnMBR), capable of handling a wide range of wastewater strengths, intermittent flows, and prolonged shutdowns. The value proposition of the NEWgenerator is that it makes flush toilets possible in off-grid, remote locations. The NEWgenerator was a recipient of the 5th Cade Museum Prize for Innovation and the 2020 USPTO Patents for Humanity Award. This presentation will follow the two-decade journey of the NEWgenerator from concept to development to commercialization, including extended field trials in India (Kerala) and South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal). The presentation will also highlight initiatives to implement the NEWgenerator in disadvantaged communities in the U.S.

Bio:
Daniel Yeh is a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of South Florida and the PI of the Membrane Biotechnology Lab. He is also a visiting professor at NASA Kennedy Space Center and co-founder of the cleantech startup BioReNEW, Inc.  Professor Yeh’s research and teaching interests are in water & wastewater engineering, global water & sanitation, water/energy/food nexus, and life support systems for space travel. He is keen to communicate and promote environmental engineering to the public and school children through classroom lesson plans, museum exhibits, podcasts, TEDx and Pint-of-Science talks, and late-night talk show comedy feature.  Yeh holds degrees from the University of Michigan (BS Natural Resources, BSE Civil Engineering and MSE Environmental Engineering) and Georgia Institute of Technology (PhD Environmental Engineering). Yeh is a professional engineer, an AAEES board-certified environmental engineer, and a LEED Accredited Professional. He is also a senior member of the National Academy of Inventors and a two-time recipient of the Excellence in Innovation Award at USF.

Friday, Sept. 1
Presenter: Walter Dodds, university distinguished professor, Kansas State University
Title: Battles and skirmishes: Controversies over nutrient pollution 

Nutrient pollution (eutrophication) causes many water quality problems in freshwater and marine systems including harmful algal blooms, taste and odor issues, and hypoxia. Battles and skirmishes have occurred between the public, the regulated community and environmental scientists, as well as among scientists regarding causes and solutions for eutrophication. The initial battles to regulate nutrients were met with resistance from the public, but science prevailed in some cases (such as Lake Washington) to reverse eutrophication. These initial victories led many to the view that phosphorus control alone would stop eutrophication. However, many researchers have argued that nitrogen and other nutrients can play a role, and empirical data supports this view. Understanding the best attainable condition is important in setting management goals, and much progress has been made in doing so in the developed world, and more recently in developing countries. Still, controversies occur when scientists can benefit from supporting an anti-regulation viewpoint. This example demonstrates that translating science to protective action requires understanding basic aspects of human nature.

Friday, Sept. 8
Presenter: Alyssa Whitcraft, research professor, University of Maryland, director of NASA Acres, deputy director for NASA Harvest
Title: Bringing space data down to Earth: how NASA achieves impact in agriculture and food security

 Research Professor Alyssa Whitcraft is a geographer with extensive expertise in remote sensing, agriculture and interdisciplinary development studies. Her work encompasses a wide range of activities including managing large-scale multinational projects to leading applied research on remote sensing of agriculture and the integration of Earth Observations into decision support systems. As the founding executive director of NASA Acres and the co-founding deputy director of NASA Harvest, respectively the U.S.-focused and global NASA Applied Sciences programs on food security and agriculture, Whitcraft has made significant contributions to both national and global initiatives. She is recognized for her tremendous impact and leadership with the G20 Global Agriculture Monitoring (GEOGLAM) programme and Harvest Sustainable and Regenerative Agriculture Initiative (SARA).

Friday, Sept. 15
Presenter: Denis Muthike, PhD, research associate, Moretenson Center in Global Engineering & Resilience, University of Colorado Boulder
Title: Driving East Africa's climate resilience through earth observations and environmental data science

Friday, Sept. 22
Presenter: David Yeh, 
Daniel Yeh, professor of civil and environmental engineering, University of South Florida, 2023 Kappe lecturer,  American Academy of Environmental Engineers & Scientists
Title:  Reinventing the Toilet for Global Sanitation: The NEWgenerator Resource Recovery Machine

 Billions of people worldwide suffer from poor sanitation due to a lack of wastewater infrastructure.  With high CAPEX and OPEX, the conventional approach of centralized wastewater treatment plants served by an extensive sewer system is not an option for many communities. A new classification of modular and pre-fabricated non-sewered sanitation systems (NSSS, ISO 30500) has been introduced as an onsite micro-infrastructure alternative. Developed at the University of South Florida, the NEWgenerator is a solar-powered, modular, automated wastewater treatment and recycling system capable of operating independently from grid power, piped water and sewer.  The core technology within the NEWgenerator is the anaerobic membrane bioreactor (AnMBR), capable of handling a wide range of wastewater strengths, intermittent flows, and prolonged shutdowns. The value proposition of the NEWgenerator is that it makes flush toilets possible in off-grid, remote locations. The NEWgenerator was a recipient of the 5th Cade Museum Prize for Innovation and the 2020 USPTO Patents for Humanity Award. This presentation will follow the two-decade journey of the NEWgenerator from concept to development to commercialization, including extended field trials in India (Kerala) and South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal). The presentation will also highlight initiatives to implement the NEWgenerator in disadvantaged communities in the U.S. 

Friday, Sept. 29
Presenter: Chris Zink, vice president, Conservation International
Title: Carbon Crediting of Natural Climate Solutions – A practitioners guide to high integrity and impact

Friday, Oct. 6
Presenter: Assistant Professor Kim Parker, McKelvey School of Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis
Title: 

Friday, Oct .13
Presenter: Cloelle Danforth, scientist, Office of the Chief Scientist
Title: Where rubber-manufacturing adverse health effects meet the road: development of an action plan for benzene exceedances during disaster response in Houston, Texas

Friday, Oct. 20
Presenter: Colorado State University Student Exchange
Title: NA

Friday, Oct. 27
Presenter: Karen Bailey, assistant professor, Department of Environmental Studies, CU Boulderr
Title: 

Friday, Nov. 3
Presenter: Boris Martin, CEO, Engineers without Borders
Title: 

Friday, Nov. 10
Presenter: Ron Garan, Mortensen Fellow, Mortenson Center in Global Engineering & Resilience, CU Boulder
Title: A day in the life of a data scientist 

Friday, Nov. 17
Presenter: Maryam Aniya Khalili, PhD student, mechanical engineering, CU Boulder
Second presenter: 
Title: 

Friday, Nov. 24
No seminar due to Thanksgiving

Friday, Dec. 1
Presenter: Senator Cleave Simpson, Colorado General Assembly
Title: 

Friday, Dec. 8
Presenter: Greg Whiting, associate professor, mechanical engineering, CU Boulder
Title: 

Friday, Dec. 15
Presenter: Julie Zimmerman, professor of chemical & environmental engineering, Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science
Title: Designing Tomorrow