ND Energy virtual symposium to explore waste-to-energy technologies and new discoveries

Author: Barbara Villarosa

1200 3rd Annual Nde Research Symposium With Dates


The Center for Sustainable Energy at the University of Notre Dame (ND Energy) will host its third annual research symposium from Thursday, November 12, to Friday, November 13, 2020, focused on addressing current technologies and new discoveries in waste-to-energy. This event is open to the Notre Dame community and general public.

This year’s symposium titled, “Waste-to-Energy: Reimagining the Possibilities,” will explore the various means and ways in which municipal solid waste (MSW) is processed to produce electricity and other forms of fuel and useful products. Researchers will share their perspectives on the current challenges and opportunities in reducing MSW in landfills and creating a cleaner, more sustainable and energy-efficient future for all.

The amount of MSW generated in the United States alone was 268 million tons in 2017, consisting of paper, yard trimmings, food waste, plastics, metals, rubber, leather, textiles, wood, and glass. Over half of which ended up in landfills, while the rest was burned for energy recovery, recycled, or composted.

ND Energy welcomes all members of the Notre Dame community and general public to attend the symposium and join this important virtual discussion via Zoom. Registration is required and will remain open until noon on November 12 at energy.nd.edu.

The symposium schedule is as follows:

November 12, 3:00 – 7:30 p.m.

3:05-3:20 p.m., Overview of ND Energy by Peter C. Burns, director of ND Energy, director of NNSA Actinide Center of Excellence, and Henry Massman Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences at Notre Dame

3:20-4:30 p.m., KEYNOTE: "Becoming CarbonSmart" by Rachel Brenc, chief of staff to the CEO at LanzaTech

4:30-5:10 p.m., "Towards Sustainable Energy and Materials: Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS)" by Ah-Hyung (Alissa) Park, Lenfest Chair in Applied Climate Science in the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering and Department of Chemical Engineering and director of the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy at Columbia University

5:10-5:50 p.m., "Using Industrial Symbiosis at the Small-scale to Increase Communities' Sustainability and Well-being" by José Alfaro, assistant professor of practice at the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan

A brief break will be held between 6:00 and 6:30 p.m.

The symposium will resume at 6:30 p.m. for a panel discussion focused on transforming waste to meet our energy needs. Moderated by Jennifer Schaefer, assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Notre Dame, Notre Dame faculty will present the following topics with ample time for questions and open discussion:

"Cyber Infrastructure Energy Consumption, Conservation and Reuse" by Paul Brenner, senior associate director of the Center for Research Computing and associate professor of the practice at Notre Dame

"The Membrane-Biofilm Photobioreactor (MBPR) for Biofuel Production from Waste CO2by Robert Nerenberg, professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences at Notre Dame

"CISTAR: Creating the Bridge to a Fossil-free Energy Future" by William Schneider, Dorini Family Chair of Energy Studies and department chair of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Notre Dame

"Thermoelectric Devices for Harvesting Waste Heat" by Yanliang Zhang, associate professor in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at Notre Dame

November 13, 1:00 – 5:30 p.m.

The symposium resumes Friday afternoon with the following invited talks and keynote address:

1:05-1:45 p.m., "Energy Research Cooperative: Integrated Community Energy and Harvesting Systems” by James Cotton, professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and associate director of the McMaster Institute for Energy Studies at McMaster University

1:45-2:25 p.m., "Converting Polyolefin (Plastic) Waste into Fuels" by Nien-Hwa Linda Wang, Maxine Spencer Nichols Professor of Chemical Engineering at Purdue University

2:25-3:35 p.m., KEYNOTE: "Using Technology and Innovation to Manage Plastic Waste and Turn it Back into Useful Products" by Bob Powell, President and CEO at Brightmark Energy

A short break occurs between 3:45 and 4:00 p.m.

A poster session will be held from 4:00 to 5:15 p.m. for Notre Dame postdoctoral scholars and graduate students to showcase all energy-related research at Notre Dame.

The symposium will close with the announcement of poster awards and final remarks.

For more information or questions, contact:

Barbara Villarosa / Business and Communications Program Director
Center for Sustainable Energy (ND Energy) / University of Notre Dame
bvillaro@nd.edu / 574-631-4776
energy.nd.edu / @NotreDameEnergy