2017 Energy and Environment Student Research Projects Announced

The Office of Energy and Environment is pleased to announce the winners of the 2016-2017 Student Research Project Grants, offered to students interested in researching a particular energy, environment, or sustainability-related issue on or near campus. Seven students were selected to receive funding to conduct research in a variety of topic areas.

Joseph Duggan (Dr. Ramteen Sioshansi, College of Engineering) $3,000

Mr. Duggan is proposing to study two market designs commonly used in the procurement of wholesale electricity: centrally-committed and self-committed. These markets have been studied theoretically, but there has yet to be a systematic analysis of how market participants behave in these markets. According to Mr. Duggan, such experiments will generate insight into strategic behavior of the participants in these markets and will provide evidence of how these markets may be improved in practice.

Mohammad Amin Amooie (Dr. Joachim Moortgat, College of Arts and Sciences) $5,400

In this first phase of a multi-phase project, Mr. Amooie proposes to build low-cost demonstration cluster computers to write and develop software to study the convective mixing of CO2 in heterogeneous three-dimensional porous media. The second phase, not covered by this funding request, is to apply the programming developed and lessons learned to larger scale studies using advanced supercomputers, such as those at the Ohio Supercomputer Center. This is a necessary first step because the software does not yet exist to study this phenomenon.

Colleen Cheverko (Dr. Mark Hubbe, College of Arts and Sciences) $7,750

Ms. Cheverko will study curated collections of skeletal remains in New York City, Washington, DC and Cleveland to determine how environmental variability affects patterns of human growth. She argues that it is essential to understand the role of the environment on human health, especially in the past, in order to discuss the impact of sustainability measures and policies. Skeletal remains provide the ideal means to investigate these associations.

Nall Moonilall (Dr. Rattan Lal; College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences) $10,871

Mr. Moonilall will study the effects of soil erosion and health on the productivity and sustainability of cropping systems. His theory is that soil health is directly related to agrosystem resilience in the face of climate change. Improving soil health and restoring degraded soils improves the capacity for carbon sequestration, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and provides more efficient use of soil inputs such as fertilizers. Maintaining soil micronutrients and microbes increases the self-sustainability of soil resources.

Kaushik Rangharajan (Dr. Shaurya Prakash, College of Engineering) $8,037

Mr. Rangharajan will study the desalinization of shale gas well water. Hyper-saline water (3-7x sea water) produced from unconventional oil and gas recovery processes are predominantly disposed of via deep-well injection, that trigger seismic activities. With more than 20 deep-wells within a 50-mile radius of Ohio State, this proposal is aimed at testing the feasibility of upscaling a novel nanoscale platform that desalts hyper-saline water, which can subsequently be treated via centralized wastewater treatment facilities, mitigating the need for deep-wells.

Fengyang Xiong (Dr. Joachim Moortgat, College of Arts and Sciences) $11,312

According to Mr. Xiong, the estimated technically recoverable reserves of shale gas are around 610 Tcf; however, shale as reservoir rock remains poorly understood. Specifically, organic matter was not recognized to dramatically contribute to shale porosity networks until abundant organic pores were observed using ion milling and Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). Because of these findings, the evaluation of shales as hydrocarbon resources critically depends on the characterization of the organic matter. Mr. Xiong proposes to develop a better understanding of the role of organic matter and pore structure in shale.

Hopeton Palmer (Dr. Cynthia Dassler, College of Arts and Sciences) $1,000

Mr. Palmer, the only undergraduate student to submit a research proposal this year, will study fern spore banks in central Ohio metro parks and make comparisons to similar studies in Kentucky in order to make conclusions about the overall health of spore banks in the Midwest. Although many studies have evaluated the health of fern seed banks, few have studied the health of spore banks, a better indicator of overall health according to Mr. Palmer. Mr. Palmer will work with his advisor and the PI for the study in Kentucky to make sure his study is similar enough to make valid conclusions. Mr. Palmer plans to present his findings at the Denman Undergraduate Research Forum.