Environment and Sustainability Features and Impacts

Roger Ruan and his team have developed a Microwave-assisted pyrolysis reactor with a fixed-bed microwave susceptor silicon carbide catalyst that absorbs microwave radiation and quickly achieves a high temperature allowing rapid heating of VDBs.

Peter Larsen and his interdisciplinary team have reached a new milestone in their goal to develop a robust next-generation antemortem test for the rapid detection of Chronic wasting disease. 

Howard Hoganson and his research team have led detailed analyses to support the current forest plans for both the Chippewa and Superior National Forests in Minnesota, expanding modeling methods spatially to recognize important site-level conditions important for wildlife, while also still addressing the economics of timber production--including aspen.

Research in this program area focuses on protecting the diversity of Minnesota's forests, wildlife and native plants as environmental conditions continue to shift in the state.

Matt Russell and his team conducted a study to simulate natural disturbance regimes and their interaction with timber harvest goals across the Superior National Forest (SNF) in northeastern MN.

There is a prevailing assumption that honey bees can do well in agricultural areas but that wild bees need natural areas to thrive. To test this theory, Elaine Evans, Dan Cariveau and Marla Spivak compared wild bee community success with health and survival of managed honey bees at six apiary locations over three years.

In addition to discovering novel forms of bioenergy, research on sustainable energy is providing a better understanding of how we can use renewable energy sources and technologies in ways that are both economically and environmentally friendly.

Simo Sarkanen and his team have developed new generations of lignin-based plastics using processes that can be easily scaled to industrial volumes.

The Forever Green Initiative employs cutting-edge research focused on developing cover cropping and perennial plant systems that keep the land covered 365-days-a-year thus preventing soil erosion and nutrient loss.

About 50 Minnesota water bodies have chloride levels that exceed state water quality standards. To help determine sources of chloride in MN, Sara Heger and her team performed a mass budget for wastewater treatment plants to estimate chloride discharged from household and commercial water softeners.