Mr. Kevin Orner, an Environmental Engineering PhD Candidate at the University of South Florida, was announced as a winner at the 8th Annual Graduate Student Research Symposium for his poster titled “Nutrient Removal and Energy Recovery from Digester Effluent Using a Microbial Fuel Cell”. On April 22nd, Kevin will represent the University of South Florida at the Statewide Research Symposium, an event designed to highlight the best research being carried out by graduate students in the state of Florida.
Dr. Mark Santana, former USF graduate student and Reclaim social media team member, is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher in Spain. The following is a summary of his research project and progress so far:
For many communities, tourism is a significant contributor to the local economy. This is the case for the many coastal towns in the northeastern coast of Spain, called the Costa Brava. During the summer, these communities, ranging from quaint, historic towns to lively party destinations, attract tourists from around the world. For over 60 years this tourism played a significant role in the region’s economy.
However, while tourism provides jobs and economic development, there are serious environmental implications for many communities that rely on this sector, especially water use. For the Costa Brava, the months with the highest tourism have the lowest rainfall, putting a strain on existing water resources originally used for a smaller community. In addition, climate change may result in dryer Mediterranean coastal regions, thus forecasting even more water shortages.
As a result of the aforementioned environmental and economic concerns, the Catalan Water Research Institute (Institut Català de la Recerca de l’Aigüa, ICRA) in Girona, Spain, is participating in European Union-funded research that aims to determine the economic, environmental, and social implications of the integration of water reuse technology in hotels in Mediterranean coastal communities.
More specifically, this research will result in the creation of a decision support system that will determine the environmental, social, and economic impacts of water reuse technologies. Technology vendors would then be able to use this tool to show their clients (most likely hotels) the effects of the integration of their technologies in the water management systems.
The case study that is the basis of our research is a hotel located in the coastal community of Lloret de Mar. In the 1990’s the hotel decided to install a water reuse system the collects water from the room showers and handbasins, treats it via a membrane bioreactor, and sends the treated greywater back to the toilets for reuse. Many days, almost all water use by the room toilets is treated greywater thus preventing the use of a significant amount of potable water.
What our research will do is first design a decision support system that analyzes the cost, environmental impacts, energy use, and social implications of this technology as well as other possible technological configurations at the hotel. Right now, we are at the design stage, and have just begun programming a simplified water cycle model to be integrated into the decision support system. When finished the water cycle model will be able to simulate demands, flows, and the integration of a wide range of technologies.
If you would like more information about the project, you can consult the website at: http://www.demeaumed.eu/index.php/inno/
The British Antarctic Survey is seeking a highly motivated Experienced Researcher (ER) in Biological Sciences to join the EU-FP7 Marie Curie CACHE project (Calcium in a CHanging Environment – http://www.cache-itn.eu/) to determine the impacts of climate change on the European shellfish industry. Your role will be to: Collate, critically appraise and produce a synthesis of data derived from various sources on the resilience and adaptability of cultured bivalves to climate change; Make predictions about how the industry could best adapt to climate change and the broader ecological consequences of such adaptations and;. Develop statistical models to predict the economic and ecological impacts of climate change to the industry. You will need to exhibit excellent communication and numeracy skills, must be prepared to travel widely within Europe and be able to produce comprehensive papers/reports within strict deadlines.
It’s Friday, 11:45 am, and in the atrium of the Interdisciplinary Research Building at USF students & faculty with coffee mugs begin to appear and gather around for a new USF Reclaim social: “Tea Time.” Recent USF PhD graduate and “Tea Time” initiator, Dr. Matt Verbyla provides an assortment of tea bags and electric kettles are set-up for a hot cup of tea. These 15-20 minutes in the atrium have become an open space and a welcomed break for our USF Reclaim research team. “Tea Time” provides a time to gather and catch up with peers in our department, provide insight on each other’s research, encourage one another, and brainstorm ways that we can continue to #Reclaim! Afterwards, we all head over to the Environmental and Water Resources Engineering Seminar where every week we have a guest speaker that covers a topic relevant to a global challenge and how they are uniquely contributing to solving it. Check out the seminar schedule here.
The “Tea Time” idea was well received by students and faculty. Dr. Jeffrey Cunningham especially encourages USF graduate students “Tea Time” and recalls that as a graduate student at Stanford University he would also have a similar tradition that he says “helped to foster a valuable esprit de corps.”
“Building a strong network and community among our graduate students helps everybody in a number of ways. It helps you now because you learn from your peers and you know whom to ask when you have questions; it helps you later because you will have a professional network of your fellow graduates from our program; and it just makes life more enjoyable when you feel that you are part of a community, rather than working in isolation… We have a very strong faculty and a very strong group of students here at USF, and I am very proud of our program, but I do believe that our program can be made even stronger by building these traditions and culture. “– Dr. Cunningham
Check out our USF Reclaim Tea Time video here: https://youtu.be/skvEa5eNJiY
Do you have a “Tea Time” break at your school, university, or workplace? We’d like to see them! Share your pictures on our FB page of your “Tea Time” break, and how you are building a culture that encourages a sense of community, support, and new ideas for innovations and solutions to our present environmental challenges. As always, remember: There is no such thing as waste. Everything can be #Reclaimed!
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