The University Consortium is excited to share the news about two newly funded projects getting underway led by Consortium researchers. Both projects are aimed at finding solutions to difficult environmental challenges, and the research will bring meaningful, real-world value to industry and help shape best-practices in their respective areas.
Jessica Meyer (University of Iowa) is the Co-Principal Investigator of a newly-funded NSF project aimed at supporting the renewable energy industry through two related initiatives. The first seeks to identify sources of rare earth elements: vital ingredients in renewable technologies. These elements are required to build things like the batteries and magnets inside wind turbines, for example. Second, the project will evaluate groundwater resources in Kansas and Iowa in an effort to ensure the sustainable production of ethanol. Combined, these two initiatives will support the growing renewable energy industry in the region, providing data and expertise to the private sector. The project is a collaboration between the University of Iowa and the University of Kansas.
Meanwhile, Jens Blotevogel (Colorado State University) is the Co-Principal Investigator of a Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) project that seeks to find ways to remove artificial chemicals, known as Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), from the environment. PFAS are harmful to human health, but can be found nearly everywhere. Blotevogel has worked on devising ways to filter PFAS from water, but the only known way to break down PFAS entirely is through incineration. The team hopes to find ways of improving the incineration process to destroy PFAS without producing hazardous byproducts.
Both projects promise to provide important data in areas of ongoing environmental concern, and we are proud of the work that the Consortium PIs and their collaborators are carrying out.