Research Posters

13C Metabolic Flux Analysis and Kinetic Modeling of Clostridium Thermocellum for Cellobiose Conversion to Biofuels

Charles J. Foster, Shyam Srinivasan, Satyakam Dash, Sarat Gopalakrishnan, Travis Korosh, Tyler Jacobson, Daniel G. Olson, Daniel Amador-Noguez, Costas D. Maranas

Clostridium thermocellum is a potential candidate for consolidated bioprocessing due to its ability to consume and ferment cellulose to ethanol. However, ethanol titers currently obtained in wild-type and engineered strains are below industrial requirements for economic viability.

A Case Study to Maximize Human and Environmental Health in the Built Environment

Richard Piacentini, Sarah States

As climate change risks and global human population grow, we need to design sustainable buildings that are closely tied to nature to reduce carbon emissions while simultaneously improving health outcomes. Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens views humans and ecosystems as inextricably connected, rather than separate, and demonstrates how technology and building design can maximize both human and environmental health.

A Methodology for Calculating the Fiber Footprint of a Large Organization : A Case Study of Penn State University

Nathaniel Elser, Judd Michael

The sustainability of an organization cannot exceed that of its supply chain. This realization has led many organizations to consider how procurement functions can impact sustainability of operations. Metrics to evaluate sustainability performance of procurement outcomes often focus on reducing overall material purchases and purchasing products having third-party certifications. Such metrics have limited utility for assessing environmental impact of purchasing decisions.

Adapting Agricultural Anaerobic Digestion to Human Behavior: Factors of Adoption in Pennsylvania and Beyond

Risa Lewis

Recent federal policy changes have allowed captured methane from anaerobic digesters (AD) to help ethanol meet the Renewable Fuel Standard’s national goals. Agriculture generates almost a tenth of US carbon emissions, and agricultural AD has emission reduction potential far greater than ethanol, especially when the biogas generated is upgraded to Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) for pipeline injection or vehicle use.

Additionality & Carbon Neutrality: Insufficient for Real Climate Impact

Ben McCall

Many institutions want to eliminate their contribution to climate change, but not all are critically evaluating the actual climate impact of their actions. Well intentioned organizations risk falling into a trap of thinking they are making a difference by purchasing financial instruments, such as carbon credits, with unclear climate impacts.

Agroforestry Systems May Play Vital Role in Mitigating Climate Change

Andrea De Stefano, Michael Jacobson

Agroforestry systems could offer a viable opportunity to deal with climate change issues, having the potential to sequester and store atmospheric CO2 over long periods. The purpose of the study was to provide an empirical foundation to support agroforestry systems as a strategy to reduce atmospheric CO2 concentration and mitigate climate change. A meta-analysis was carried out to investigate changes in soil organic carbon (SOC).

An Innovation Platform for Scalable Sustainability

John Bohlmann, Daniel Poynter

The need for sustainable buildings is urgent, yet most technologies for improving the efficiency of buildings, cities and infrastructure fail to achieve significant deployment in the market. We are not implementing green solutions fast enough to meet sustainability goals. Why?

Apples to Energy: Achieving Pittsburgh, PA's Climate Action Goals Using Food Waste as a Feedstock for Anaerobic Digestion

Sarah Schanwald

Anaerobic digestion utilizes biomass feedstocks from farms, wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), landfills, and municipalities to generate biogas, which contains methane, a potent greenhouse gas (GHG). Because methane has ~34x the heat-trapping potential of carbon dioxide, it is necessary to manage the methane produced through anaerobic digestion by harnessing the gas for energy as heat and electricity.

Assessment of Potential Human Health Consequences Associated with Processing and Handling of Switchgrass Biomass for Bio-Based Products

Pankaj Kuhar, William Groves, Ryan Trexler, Terrence Bell, Bhushan Jayarao, Douglas Schaufler, Dennis Murphy, Gretchen Kuldau

In an expanding, regenerative bio-based economy, the role of cheap, low impact lignocellulosic switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) biomass is that of a steady energy source, as we make the transition from fossil fuels to wind and solar power. However epidemiological studies have linked worker exposure to high concentrations of bioaerosols when handling and processing biomass in a biofuel plant.

Back to Basics: Improve Building Performance Using Vegetation

Jordan Porter

Atmospheric CO 2 concentrations have reached 416 ppm, surpassing the highest known concentration in the last 400,000 years by over 38%. The United States is the second largest CO 2 emitter in the world, with residential electricity use accounting for 20% of the total emissions. Therefore, a radical reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the housing sector is necessary to mitigate the consequential effects of global warming.

Battery and Energy Storage Technology Center

Chris Rahn, Chao-Yang Wang

Penn State is leading the emerging research field of energy storage with the Battery and Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Center. The BEST Center was formed in 2011 to bring together the campus-wide expertise in energy storage, foster collaboration, and provide a focal point for research and education activities. The expertise of Penn State researchers within the BEST Center spans from materials to cells to systems.

Battery Health Assessment Using Ultrasonic Testing

Dalton Nycz

Batteries are used throughout many sectors for energy storage, but issues with degradation related to both use and time can affect their efficiency. As the world depends more and more on batteries for uses like electronics, electric vehicles, and storing renewable sources of energy, assessing the health of these batteries is increasingly relevant. Current methods to check battery health rely on checking the voltage or current and using state-estimation software.

Biogas Cleaning and Optimization of Biomethane Transportation in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Matthew Arenas

Anaerobic digestion is the process in which biological material is naturally broken down by bacteria in an oxygen deprived environment to produce a biogas composed of 55% - 70% methane and 30%-45% carbon dioxide (CO 2 ). Through a cleaning process, the methane can be extracted and hold properties similar to natural gas; referred to as biomethane. This creates the potential for injection of biomethane into the existing natural gas pipeline.

Brazilian Sugarcane Ethanol as an Expandable Green Alternative to Crude Oil Use

Deepak Jaiswal, Amanda P. De Souza, Søren Larsen, David S. LeBauer, Fernando E. Miguez, Gerd Sparovek, Germán Bollero, Marcos S. Buckeridge, Stephen P. Long

Build-the-Foundation Strategy: Environmental Education for Sustainability (EEfS)

Khulood Tubaishat

Jordan is a leading country in Environmental Education and Awareness (EEA) with undoubtedly many achievements to celebrate. Many EEA initiatives are currently launched in Jordan by government agencies, international donors, national NGOs, the private sector and individuals.

However, while examining initiatives, a number of key issues became evident:

Cafeterias are Classrooms: Measuring Student Food Waste in the National School Lunch Program

Melissa Terry

The expanding footprint of food and agriculture represents one of the biggest threats to biodiversity on the planet. Even more problematic, it’s estimated that the US wastes 63 million tons of food every year. A large percentage of this food waste ends up in landfills where it emits harmful methane greenhouse gas emissions, while also wasting water, energy and wildlife habitat that was sacrificed to grow [wasted] food.

Can nitrous oxide emissions be reduced by changing the application timing of dairy manure fertilizer and amount of total nitrogen input to crops?

Jessica Chou

A portion of animal manure and inorganic urea ammonium nitrate (UAN) fertilizer applied to farmland as fertilizer can emit as the greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide (N 2 O), which has a warming potential 298 times greater than carbon dioxide. A potential opportunity to reduce nitrogen losses to the environment is improving the application timing and amount of fertilizers.

Capacity for Li-Ion batteries in Solar Energy Distribution and Home Energy Storage

Benjamin Pascal

Renewable energy is becoming a more mainstream source of electricity that combats climate change with clean energy. Though many difficulties arise with implementation, the storage of such energy which would be essential still needs to be developed. Lithium ion batteries are a growing source of energy storage in homes.

Changing Behaviors to Reduce U.S. Emissions: Seven Pathways to Achieve Climate Impact

Katherine Heller, Antonius Gagern, Michael Berger, Kevin Green, John Thomas

Human behavior is at the core of many of the world's greatest environmental threats and climate change is no exception. Project Drawdown’s seminal list of 80 global climate solutions contains 30 in which individual and household behavior changes play a significant role. The United States is one of the highest-emitting countries of greenhouse gases and studies show that individual behavior contributes significantly to these emissions.

Clayey Soils and Waste Brick Powder for Partial Cement Replacement

Anuja Oke

This research is an exploration of materials that can be used as partial replacement of cement in mortar or concrete. According to the International Energy Agency, cement production accounts for 7% of industrial carbon dioxide emissions and one of the key areas of reducing these emissions is increasing the use of blended cements.

Climate Action Accelerator for Campuses: "Drawdown Campus"

John Moorhead, Chris Jones, Antoinette Vermilye, John Vermilye

Schools are pillars of communities. They provide children with inspiration, knowledge and tools to take into the world. Due to concerns about the climate crisis, biodiversity and plastic pollution facing our planet, students across the world are mobilizing and striking in protest of the lack of action, to raise awareness and to demand change to protect our futures.

Climate Change Across the Curriculum: Teaching 'Drawdown' Solutions in Higher-Education

David Proffitt, Ariane Mohr-Felsen

Climate change affects every aspect of our world, from human health and the ecosystems we live in to the ways we support ourselves both materially and emotionally. But the siloed world of higher education can make it difficult to present cross-cutting solutions to climate change in the classroom.

Climate Change Prevention, Mitigation, and Adaptation in Kenya

Gracie Pekarcik

Climate change is a phenomenon that has major implications across our entire plant. Within just the continent of Africa, The Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) “presented strong evidence that surface temperatures across Africa have increased by 0.5-2°C over the past 100 years, and from 1950 onward climate change has changed the magnitude and frequency of extreme weather events” (Kenya NCCAP 2018-2022, 2018).

Clothes Are Not Trash: Clothing Recovery on a College Campus in the Nation’s Capital

Meghan Chapple, Danielle Nkojo

The abundance and availability of inexpensive clothing reduces its value to the customer to the point of conveying disposability. In 2014, according to the World Resources Institute, the average consumer purchased 60 percent more items of clothing as compared to 2000, but each garment was kept half as long. This emerging “fast fashion” consumer demand has major repercussions for the climate.

Conserving Forest and Farmlands Facing Climate Uncertainty With Market-Based Approaches and Conservation Finance

Christopher Wally Wright

This poster will cover the mechanics of executing market-based conservation strategies to conserve and protect working forests and farmlands in an era of climate uncertainty. It includes our lesson learned from our research in the Puget Sound.

Cotreatment-enhanced Anaerobic Digestion of Lignocellulosic Biiomass

Anahita Bharadwaj, Drew May, Thomas Richard

Anaerobic digestion is a method of biomass degradation via microbial activity in the absence of oxygen. This process creates useful products like digested solids, which can be used as fertilizer, and biogas, which can be upgraded to produce renewable natural gas. Lignocellulosic materials, like grasses, woody materials, and agricultural residues are favored for this process due to their affordability and availability.

Coupling Carbon Sequestration with Nitrogen and Phosphorus to Synergize Water Quality Trading in the Muskingum Watershed of Ohio

Richard H. Moore

Our project aims to synergize an existing successful phosphorus(P) and nitrogen (N) trading program by adding carbon sequestration measures. By bundling C conservation measures with N and P, the program will lower its overall cost and expand. The C conservation measures will focus on no-till farming and cover crops.

Croton Tree – Is It the Answer to Africa’s Growing Demand for Cheap, Low-Carbon Energy?

Michael Jacobson, Yau-Huo Shr, Floris Dalemans, Christine Magaju, Rodrigo Ciannella

Trees that produce oilseeds have the potential to improve rural livelihoods through the production of vegetable oil for energy and other purposes, as well as valuable co-products, such as animal feed and organic fertilizers. In Kenya, Croton megalocarpus (Croton) is a prolific and widely distributed tree with such potential being currently underutilized.

Cultural Context for the Implementation of Integrated Pest Management on Mushroom Farms in Pennsylvania: Perceived Control Matters

Mira Baum

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) includes exclusion, biological, and chemical controls that aim to reduce the spread of pests and pathogens. When successful, IPM helps reduce reliance on pesticides to control pests. However, the extent to which IPM is implemented on commercial mushroom farms in Pennsylvania is unknown. Moreover, over 90% of the agricultural mushroom workforce in Pennsylvania is Latino. Relationships between nativity and IPM implementation have not yet been studied.

Curriculum Design for an Inclusive, Interdisciplinary Collegiate Wind Competition Course

Valerie Doornbos

The motivation of this research project was to design curriculum for an interdisciplinary and inclusive wind energy course, which would prepare students to attend the U.S. Department of Energy’s Collegiate Wind Competition (CWC). The CWC is attended by Penn State students every year and allows for many personal and professional development opportunities. A student wind energy club already exists at Penn State, but the gender diversity has historically trailed off throughout the year.

Developing Genome-Scale Metabolic Models for Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum)

Patrick F. Suthers, Thomas H. Pendergast IV, Malay C. Saha, Mitra Mazarei, Katrien M. Devos, Costas D. Maranas, Gerald A. Tuskan

The present work describes genome-scale reconstructions for Panicum virgatum (switchgrass), a perennial plant with increasing importance for biomass production with bioenergy applications. The metabolic model for Panicum virgatum accounts for 3,564 genes and 3,392 reactions. Although there are differences between switchgrass and maize, both are members of the Panicoideae subfamily and employ C4 carbon fixation.

Developing Wind Energy Curriculum for First Year Engineering Seminars

Dharma Santos-Santiago

In the midst of a climate crisis, it is imperative that Penn State as an institution educates students to be aware and critical of the context and impact of their professional work. This means rooting the College of Engineering curriculum in sustainability and ethics. To accomplish this, we have developed wind energy curriculum for Penn State’s First Year Engineering Seminars (FYS).

Development of Distributed Control Methods for Distributed Storage Devices in Microgrids

Colton Schlauderaff

The current state of the national power grid does not accommodate for the rapid growth of energy demand. In order to better meet this demand, the Department of Energy aims to implement a microgrid system, which incorporates both renewable energy sources and energy storage devices in localized areas.

Does Tillage Depth of Cover Crops and Manure Impact Nitrous Oxide Emissions?

Whitney Ashead

Nitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas with 298 times more warming potential than carbon dioxide, causing it to be a major contributor to global warming and depletion of the stratospheric ozone. A large portion of nitrous oxide emissions occur in agriculture, primarily in saturated or low-oxygen soil conditions with excess nitrogen. Nitrous oxide is challenging to measure and there is little data that illustrates the effects of cover crops and livestock manure on nitrous oxide emissions.

Drawdown Learn Conference: Empowering Schools & Communities to Address Climate Change

Laura Weiland

The Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL) opened in 2009 with the construction of our EcoMachine, a natural wastewater reclamation facility designed in partnership with acclaimed biologist, John Todd. As the world’s first LEED Platinum and Living Building Challenge certified project, the center receives thousands of visitors and many school groups each year. In 2018 we worked with Project Drawdown to produce the first Drawdown Learn Conference.

Emissions Abatement via Implementation of Electrocaloric Cooling in Residential Air Conditioning

Christopher Contos

Air conditioning systems negatively affect the environment; their electrical consumption and leakage of the refrigerant required to run them contribute to global warming. As the planet warms and global GDP increases, the demand for these systems will rise world-wide, stressing energy grids beyond capacity and preventing compliance with global refrigerant and emissions reduction goals.

Enabling Emissions Reductions through High-Efficiency Gas Turbine Research at Penn State

Jacqueline O'Connor, Stephen Lynch, Reid Berdanier, Robert Kunz, Karen Thole

Gas turbine engines play a key role in power generation and aircraft transportation across the globe. As a result, emission reduction targets proposed through Project Drawdown include gas turbines as a necessary constituent.

Energy and Air Pollution Modeling for Cities: A Case Study on Cuba

Jessie Madrazo Bacallao, Alain Clappier

Nowadays, energy consumption is dominated by fossil fuels. This situation leads to a large number of environmental problems intensifying climate change and human health risks. Scenario analysis through modeling can help design less-pollutant energy strategies.

Energy Impacts of Improved Signal Transmission Systems Used in Autonomy

Stephen Spoonamore, Fred Buzzell

All devices signal fidelity, range and power consumption are linked to the quality of the transmitting and receiving antenna hardware. With advent of 5G, CubeSat constellations and increasingly autonomous machines, the architecture and impact on electrical grid/power choices are growing increasingly complex. Autonomous Cargo Ships, Logging Equipment, Farm Tractors, Trucks, Planes and Cars are now in use.

Engineering Ethics for First Year Seminar Courses

Corrin Collins

Engineers develop advanced technology that benefits society. Engineers’ ethics focus on human well-being, health, and safety that are essential to provide an improved quality life for individuals, society, and our planet. Climate change is a societal issue that encompasses these three ethical focuses. Therefore, climate change topics should be included in the engineering students’ curriculum.

Enhanced Weathering is More Than A Coming Attraction, It's Earth's Main Event

Eric Matzner, Kelly Erhart, Pol Knops, Fransec Monserrat

When we look over the longterm, Earth's main mechanism for atmospheric CO2 removal is through the weathering of silicate minerals. This cycle, known as the carbonate-silicate cycle is responsible for counterbalancing the CO2 released from volcanos. Rock storage of CO2 should not be relegated to a "Coming Attraction" because it is Earth's main event, with 99.94% of carbon on Earth currently stored as rock in the Earth's crust through this process.

Enhancing the Impact of Gen Ed-level Environmental Science at Penn State Using Drawdown Solutions

Eduardo Granata-Rodriguez

With the goal of improving understanding of carbon cycling to a non-STEM, collegiate-level audience, we have developed an interactive video series to explain the impact of Drawdown solutions in local to regional-scale communities. Initial development is aimed at students of EARTH 100, a Gen-Ed level environmental science course at Penn State University.

Environmental Prospects of Carbon Dioxide Sequestration and Utilization in Pennsylvania’s Industrial and Agricultural Sectors

Laura Rodriguez Alvarez

To achieve future climate goals, reducing carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) levels in the atmosphere is imperative as this greenhouse gas (GHG) amplifies and accelerates global warming, causing disruption in all ecosystems. According to Project Drawdown, the power sector is the largest emitter of GHGs, contributing approximately 40% of total annual GHG emissions.

Estimating Energy Savings and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction through Substitution of Penn State Harrisburg's Water Source

Natalie Neptune

Project Drawdown highlighted the energy required to distribute water from a source to the people and noted that improvements to the water distribution system could reduce this energy. Rainwater and condensate harvesting, e.g., replacing non-potable use water from a distant treatment plant with locally harvested rainwater or condensate, has the potential the energy required for treating water and pumping it to the campus.

Feasibility Analysis of Electric Vehicles in Pennsylvania

Corey Scamman

There are 12 million cars in Pennsylvania and 99% of those are conventional vehicles which emit greenhouse gases. Collectively, these cars emit an estimated annual 55 million metric tons of CO # and other harmful gases. The wide scale electrification of passenger vehicles in our society is a promising solution to reduce these emissions. This study presents a state level feasibility assessment framework that can be applied to all states and a case study focusing on Pennsylvania.

Feasibility Assessment of Electric Bicycles in Centre Region, Pennsylvania

Emmeline Evans

In the search for lower-emissions alternatives to internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, electric bicycles, or e-bikes, have emerged as a popular option due to their ease of use, comparatively low cost, and extended range when compared with manual bicycles. This study develops a framework for performing a community level feasibility assessment for the adoption and use of e-bikes, particularly as a mode shift away from ICE vehicles.

Feeding Cities: Reconfiguring Urban Environments and Food Systems for Future Resilience

Chris Jones

As we move towards a global population of 9 billion + with our urban areas hosting most of the planets people, the need to be creative in providing quality food in a responsible way is ever greater.

First experience with a Drawdown Scaling Challenge in the Netherlands

Marinus Augustijn

The solutions to reduce climate change are available as shown by Project Drawdown and for instance, the projects submitted for the annual Energy Globe. The question which remains: how to scale these solutions?

Flood and Soil Property Impacts on Crop Yields: Where Perennial Buffers May Make Sense Financially within Pennsylvania Watersheds

Jack Lattimore

Flooding can lower annual cash crop yields and threaten the economic prosperity of farmers. As flooding events become more intense, frequent, and long-lasting due to the effects of climate change, more consideration is needed for which crops to place in high-risk areas. Previous studies have examined the broad impacts of weather events such as flooding or drought on crop yield and farmers’ revenue using long-term averages.

Forest Carbon Uptake Over 22 Years in a Northeastern U.S. Temperate Forest

Gabriel Batista, Emma Lancaster

Temperate forests play an important role in the global carbon cycle by sequestering atmospheric carbon dioxide and storing above-ground and below-ground carbon. Quantifying these carbon (C) pools and fluxes is critical in understanding temperate forests’ relevance in reversing global warming. As forests age, tree growth is one of the primary ways in which carbon accumulates. Therefore, by measuring tree growth, an increase in forest carbon stock over time can be evaluated.

Framework for Assessing Climate Change Implications of Green Stormwater Infrastructure

Madeline Weikel

Because wet weather events have been increasingly overwhelming urban stormwater management systems, cities have been turning to green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) to relieve pressure on existing stormwater systems. Vegetated GSI strategies, including bioretention cells and rain gardens, provide additional, nature-based tools to slow, disperse, and/or infiltrate polluted runoff before it reaches local waterways.

From Eating Plants to Smaller Families, Strong Reactions to Low-Carbon Behaviors

Katilyn Mascatelli, Sarah States

Background: Perceptions of potentially difficult yet impactful individual actions to reduce carbon emissions are understudied. These impactful actions include having one fewer child, living car-free, and eating a plant-based diet. A mixed-methods approach prompted conversation about these topics by soliciting direct input and measuring emotions and planned behaviors people have in reaction to information about the carbon savings of these individual actions.

From Food to Power in Pittsburgh: A Financial and Policy Analysis of Industrial Food Waste as an Anaerobic Digester Feedstock

Allison Saunders

Anaerobic Digestion (AD) is a process under which microorganisms break down organic matter to create biogas. Biogas, composed of 60% methane and 40% carbon dioxide, can be used to generate electricity, heat, or compressed for vehicle fuel. This process prevents methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas with roughly 23-34 times more heating potential than carbon dioxide, through the decomposition process.

Full-Circle Nutrient Management for Regenerative Agriculture in a Local Watershed

Rachel Brennan, Georgia Christopoulos, Ashleigh Henry, Benjamin Roman

The overarching goal of this project was to evaluate the feasibility of full-circle nutrient management by absorbing nutrients (N, P, and K) from wastewater effluents and agricultural runoff into aquatic plant biomass (ex., duckweed), and then using that biomass as a sustainable soil amendment to support regenerative agriculture.

Full-Circle Nutrient Management Using an Aquatic Biomass for Regenerative Agriculture in the State of Pennsylvania

Georgia Christopoulos, Ashleigh Henry

Nitrogen and phosphorus pollution from agricultural runoff is the leading cause of eutrophication in the Chesapeake Bay, followed by discharges from wastewater treatment plants. This project evaluates the feasibility of full-circle nutrient management by using duckweed to absorb nutrients from wastewater effluents and agricultural runoff. Duckweed can then be applied as a sustainable soil amendment to support regenerative agriculture.

Geographic Variation of US Residential Charging Opportunities for Electric Vehicles

Elizabeth Traut

Electric vehicles, in combination with a decarbonized electric grid, are an important strategy to shift US transportation energy use away from fossil fuels and towards cleaner sources. However, lack of residential charging opportunities could be a major barrier to high levels of plug-in vehicle adoption, since the current charging paradigm relies heavily on overnight charging and most drivers prefer it.

Green Retrofit Design of a Single-Family House in Severe Cold Climate in Harbin, China

Selena Tan

China is the world’s leading emitter of greenhouse gases and consumer of coal, but it is optimistic to peak CO 2 emissions and lower the carbon intensity of gross domestic product by 60% to 65% below 2005 levels by 2030. However, the country has grand urbanization plans—by 2030, 60% of the country’s population, 880 million people, will live in urban areas. Indoor thermal control of residential buildings consumes large quantities of energy and is responsible for significant CO 2 emissions.

Green Theatre in Training, College Green Captains and the Broadway Green Alliance

Charlene A. Gross

Live Entertainment Production, including Sports, Concerts and Theatre are resource intensive. Live events demand purpose built stadiums, theatres and substantial infrastructure investments. These investments impact utilities, transportation, parking/stormwater and facility maintenance. There are also short term scenic elements purpose built for single shows. The Broadway Green Alliance is dedicated to reducing the overall environmental footprint of live production.

Ice911 Research: A Reversible Localized Geo-Engineering Technique to Mitigate Climate Change Effects

Leslie Field, Alex Sholtz, Lauren Polash

It is now known that the accelerated loss of Arctic Ice has a profound global effect, causing extreme weather events and driving up global temperatures.Ice911 is a nonprofit based out of Silicon Valley with the mission of restoring Arctic sea ice. Currently, Ice911 is acknowledged as the furthest ahead Arctic restoration effort in the world.

Impact of Bioplastic Use on Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Benjamin Sekely

Throughout the past several years, researchers have been trying to understand the positive and negative effects of the implementation of bioplastics into an industrial and commercial setting. The analysis of greenhouse gas emissions of bioplastics compared to oil-based plastics will help to determine if a conversion is necessary to draw down greenhouse gases.

Indiana Drawdown

Daniel Poynter

Indiana Drawdown is inspired by Georgia Drawdown and others. It's grassroots and modeled after the opensource software movement. It values radical transparency and participation. Our main goal is to reduce Indiana's emissions 45% by 2030, as the IPCC says we must.

We've identified 200 entities already implementing Drawdown solutions in Indiana. Most don't know about Drawdown or how impactful their work is regarding climate change.

Integrated Migrant-Pasture Systems in Montane Agropastoralist Communities: Untangling Interactions of Environmental Change, Livestock, Remittances, and Left-Behind Children

Guangqing Chi, Erica Smithwick, Jennifer Glick, Katherine Zipp, Armen Kemanian, Scott Yabiku, Kathleen Hill, Ashton Verdery, Ludmil Zikatanov, Mark Feinberg

Environmentally-driven migrants are estimated to increase to 200 million globally by 2050. As environmental changes disrupt livelihoods, families use labor migration as a human resilience strategy. Migrant remittances can affect family income and relations, children’s well-being, and pasture dynamics and soil quality, but we lack information on how this flow of people and resources affects the dynamics of integrated socio-environmental systems (SESs) in origin communities.

Integrated Pest Management Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions: The Case of Pennsylvania Mushroom Farms

Hayley Furman

Pennsylvania (PA) is the leader of mushroom production in the U.S.; 63% of all mushrooms in the U.S. are produced in PA. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is heavily implemented on commercial mushroom farms, and is employed via exclusionary, behavioral, and biological methods of pest control, leaving chemical pesticide use as a last resort for eradication of pests. This is critical, since pesticides may contribute to the anthropogenic impact on the planet’s climate.

Integrating Holistic Thinking into Cornerstone Engineering Curriculum

Courtney Claire Barber, Clara Bardot

Engineering Design 100 (EDSGN 100) is the cornerstone course taken by nearly all first-year Penn State engineering students. One of the course’s emphases is the importance of systems thinking in the engineering design process.

Investigating the Impact of Green Roofing Carbon Sequestration with GHG Emissions in Structural Reinforcement Production

Joshua Wagner

In order to achieve proper carbon sequestration, it is estimated by Project Drawdown that as much as thirty percent of worldwide roofing area (136B Sq. ft.) be converted to green roofing. In newly built structures, green roofing is accounted for before construction by reinforcing the structural design of the building. However, in order to achieve thirty percent green roofing space worldwide, it is necessary to convert older structures as well.

Landscape Architecture Depth Studio: Adapting Drawdown Strategies for Local Climate Change Intervention

Stephen Mainzer

Climate change is a global phenomenon with real, tangible, and potentially dire impacts at the local scale. The 12-week project investigation piloted an emergent and flexible design process that responded to the needs of each student’s efforts.

Load Leveling Trainer For A Physical Microgrid

Jonathan Diller

Improving the reliability and efficiency of microgrids to handle diverse load types will lead to more dependable electrical grids in small communities, which can reduce costs, for both consumers and utility companies, and reduce carbon emissions by decreasing reliance on traditional energy sources, such as burning coal.

Localizing Drawdown: Collaboratively Building Regenerate Lancaster

Eric Martin Usner, Eric Sauder, Michael Jennings, Tony Israel, Ana Furnari, Ian Godinez, Kris Williamson, Benjamin Jennings

Regenerate Lancaster is a collective of co-working individuals launching a Drawdown plan for Lancaster County, PA. Grounded in sustainability as a regenerative project for communities, economies, and ecologies (cf. Lovins, Wallis, Wijkman & Fullerton 2018; Raworth 2018; Rodale Institute; UN SDGs), we are identifying the twenty-five most relevant solutions for our place, connecting organizations to act on these solutions, and nurturing the initiatives we seed within our community.

Material & Energy Waste during Turbine Blade Replacement

Nicole Angel

Aircraft propulsion belongs to a critical industrial segment with the blades inside the gas turbines representing one of the most aggressive applications of high-temperature materials. Traditionally, turbine blades are manufactured using conventional methods, such as investment casting. However, investment casting, especially single crystal (SX) casting, is expensive and consumes a high amount of energy.

Millersville University’s Net Zero Energy Building Creates Positive Energy Fund

Kathleen Schreiber, Chris Steuer

Millersville University of Pennsylvania recently constructed a $7.5 million, 14,600 square-foot campus building that is currently undergoing review for Net-Zero Energy certification. The Lombardo Center houses the Admissions, Marketing, and Residence staff, and is also a Welcome Center with an educational focus.

Mirrors for Earth’s Energy Rebalancing (MEER:ReflEction): Resource-Driven Engineering Leveraging Earth’s Chemistries to Immediately Offer Remediation

Ye Tao

Anthropogenic aerosols and greenhouse gases (GHG) enter the atmosphere as peoples exercise their unalienable rights in pursuit of well-being and prosperity.  Once airborne, the aerosols cool the Earth almost as much as co-emitted GHG warm it.  This balancing act has masked an additional 1C of warming, should the aerosols disappear when phasing out the fossil fuels without compensatory solar radiation management.  In this scenario, existing knowledge about ecosystem responses project a probabl

Modeling the Energy Yield of Microtracking CPV Technology

Franz Chee

Solar photovoltaic(PV) performance models have been instrumental in the renewable energy sector as they can predict annual and lifetime energy yields of a given PV system and location. Current models used in the residential/rooftop scale are based on commercially available silicon solar panels. New performance models must be developed for emerging PV cell technologies as they become commercially viable over the next decade.

More Cooling for Less Carbon – Why Designing With Moving Air Matters

Dana Miller, Ed Arens, Gail Brager, Paul Raftery, Stefano Schiavon

Buildings account for 38% of greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion, and heating, cooling, and ventilating buildings alone contributes 13% of national CO2 emissions. Globally, demand for cooling has doubled since 2000, and is projected to triple again by 2050 without ambitious changes in design and practice. One major strategy for reducing cooling energy use while maintaining comfort is using more air movement.

Natural and Living Building Materials as Carbon Reduction Strategies in the Built Environment

Jay Arehart, Wil Srubar

Operating the built environment contributes 28% of global greenhouse gas emissions, while the extraction and manufacturing of building materials contributes another 11%. One emerging class of materials that can reduce both the operational and embodied emissions of the built environment are responsive, biomimetic and/or living materials.

Ocean Current Turbines in Realistic Turbulence Environments

Peyman Razi

Understanding the effect of turbulent intensity (TI) is crucial in the wake models of Ocean Current Turbines (OCTs). The focus of this research is on generating the realistic data of spatial and temporal velocity with respect to coherence structure of inlet boundary conditions, and investigation the effect of these turbulence structures on wake profile to modify earlier a low-order analytical wake interaction model.

On-Site Application of ATP's CRBBP Process to Reduce the Adverse Environmental Impacts of Power Plants

Joe James

I would like to inform you about the latest application of our recently-patented Combined Remediation Biomass and Bio-Product Production (CRBBP) Process, on-site, at coal-fired power plants, to cost-effectively reduce their adverse environmental impacts.

Optimizing Nutrient Uptake in Shrub Willow and Switchgrass to Provide Multiple Ecosystem Services

Eric Fabio, Armen Kemanian, Brian Richards, Jeremy Feinstein, Craig Carlson, Felipe Montes, Jonathan Berlingeri, Larry Smart

Optoelectronically Optimized Nonhomogeneous Thin-Film Solar Cells

Faiz Ahmad, Akhlesh Lakhtakia

Photovoltaic solar cells are an eco-friendly source of energy. The key challenge in photovoltaics is to deliver high conversion efficiency at low cost. Thin-film solar cells are a promising alternative to wafer-based crystalline silicon solar cells with significantly reduced material consumption and the promise of reduced manufacturing cost.

Passive House Project Becomes Pilot Program for National Policy on Net-Zero Energy Building (NZEB)

Andrew Straus

In tropical countries, hot and humid climate present different challenges than those the Passive House standard has dealt with so far in heating dominated climates. These challenges, in addition to coping with local building practices for affordability are why the project has been chosen as a pilot program for defining national policy and constructions standards for NZEB.

Perennial Grasses in Integrated Landscape Designs: Carbon Drawdown, Profit Potential, and Ecosystem Service Opportunities

Veronika Vazhnik, Stephanie Herbstritt, L. Michael Griffel, Tom L. Richard, Jason Hansen

Perennial grasses are an alternative to conventional annual crops, especially on land that is eroded, prone to flooding and low-yielding. Besides providing water quality benefits through the extensive root system, creating habitat for wildlife, and serving as an additional income stream to the farmers, perennial grasses sequester carbon and prevent erosion and thus reduce the carbon footprint of a farm.

POLARIS: The Pursuing Opportunities for Long-term Arctic Resilience for Infrastructure and Society

Guangqing Chi, Davin Holen, E. Lance Howe, Chris Maio, Ann Tickamyer, Kathleen Halvorsen, Erika Smithwick, Andy Baltensperger, Matthew Berman, James Ford, Kathleen Hill, Anne Jensen, Leif Jensen, Nic Kinsman, Philip Loring, Joshua Moses, Bronwen Powell, Todd Radenbaugh, Alyssa Rodrigues, Douglas Wrenn, Junjun Yin, Qiujie Zheng

Alaskan coastal Indigenous communities face severe, urgent, and complex social and infrastructural challenges resulting from environmental changes. However, the magnitude and significance of impacts are unclear; as is how local communities will respond to resulting disruptions and disasters.

Pollution Reduction Effectiveness of Land Use Change as a Climate Change Adaptation Effort in the Conewago Creek Watershed

Kpoti Gunn, Tameira Veith, Anthony Buda

Agriculture intensification in Northeast US to meet food demands of the growing population must be sustainable, balanced against the pressure to continually improve water quality for use by that same population. Climate models predict increases in temperature and precipitation in the Northeast throughout the 21st century, further complicating temporal planning toward agricultural sustainability.

Powerful Thoughts: The Power of Universities as Thought Leaders in Scaling Renewable Energy

Meghan Chapple, Robert Orttung, Saniya LeBlanc, Andrew Dickson

As the second largest contributor to GHG emissions, the U.S. has a responsibility to curb its energy usage. American college and university campuses are as big as small cities, yet they act like large retail electricity consumers that wield control over their energy sources. Campus administrators can now choose renewable energy that is cost-effective. Already more than 150 colleges and universities in the U.S.

Producing Pennsylvania-themed Podcasts for Project Drawdown

Anna Nguyen

Podcasts have become popular as an educational tool in recent years, but there is still a lack of podcasts that focus on climate change, specifically ones that address efforts to reverse global warming in Pennsylvania. The goal of this project is to create a series of audio files that address the Project Drawdown solutions in Pennsylvania.

Proposing Smart Piezoelectric Sensor Networks for Sustainability Research

Benedicte Adair

Energy efficiency has long been heralded as one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Yet despite being a good financial investment, the practice of using smart networks of piezoelectric sensors on factory floors is rarely connected to sustainability. Known as preventative maintenance, these easy steps are well known to reduce energy demand and extend the lifespan of industrial equipment – factors with significant emissions costs.

Quantifying and Reducing Halocarbon Emissions at Academic Institutions

Martin Wolf, Debra Stump, Meier Adam, Bridget Nyland, Sejong Youn, Wendy Jacobs

Halocarbon gases are among the most powerful greenhouse gases ever emitted. Their global warming potentials are thousands of times greater than carbon dioxide, and their emissions account for 14% of current global warming. Halocarbons are also the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in developed countries. U.S. emission rates have increased nearly 250% since 1990, and unabated global emissions could induce an additional 0.5 ˚C of warming by 2100.

Quantifying the Impact of Albedo-Warming from Afforestation: A Historical Case Study

James Sanders

Recent IPCC analysis has demonstrated the necessity of large-scale carbon sequestration as a supplement to emissions reductions if global warming is to remain below 1.5 degrees Celsius. While afforestation is a cost-effective carbon sequestration strategy, the change in surface cover also reduces the Earth’s overall albedo (reflectivity).

Quantifying the Impact of Albedo-Warming from Afforestation: Looking to the Future

Maxwell Goodman

The IPCC’s 2018 special report emphasizes the necessity of large-scale biological carbon sequestration, in addition to rapid emissions reductions, to restrain global warming to 1.5 ֯ Celsius. While afforestation is a popular, scalable, and cost-effective biosequestration strategy, it also reduces the earth’s overall shortwave albedo (reflectivity).

Realistic Ways to Drastically Reduce the CO2 Emission of Cement and Concrete

Farshad Rajabipour, Khashayar Jafari, Mona Zahedi

Portland cement concrete is the most widely used human-made material and makes up approximately 40% by mass of everything we produce. At the same time, it is responsible for 5 to 10% of the global anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Portland cement, the most critical ingredient of concrete, is made of the most available elements in Earth’s continental crust, as well as in other terrestrial planets.

Reduction in PM2.5-associated Health Care Costs as Incentive for Healthcare Sector Advocacy for Climate Policy

Rebecca Florsheim, Sarah Johnson

The nature and extent of adverse health outcomes exacerbated by the climate crisis are firmly established. The scientific community has consistently appealed to the healthcare sector to intervene on climate change for the benefit of population health, but also because of the sizeable percentage of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions attributed to the healthcare system and the significant lobbying power of hospitals and insurers.

Refrigerant Management: Financial Analysis of Reducing Greenhouse Gases through the Montreal Protocol

Maya Zambrano-Lee

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is an international environmental treaty that has enabled an international reduction of ozone-depleting chemicals, such as hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). However, this transition away from ozone depleting chemicals has led to the widespread use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), notably for refrigeration and air conditioning. Many HCFC and HFC chemicals have 1,000 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.

Repair or Replace: How Consumers React to Product Failure

Nathan Allred, Karen Winterich

Over the past several decades, there has been a substantial shift toward disposable consumption, which includes replacing rather than repairing broken durable goods. While this disposable mindset may be perceived as driven by consumers’ desire for new products, we argue that it is, at least in part, driven by a product replacement choice default and thus perception of effort to repair products.

Reshaping the Netload of Buildings with PV Considering Ramping and Carbon

Nina Dupes

This research modeled and analyzed the total change in CO 2 emissions of a medium sized commercial office building under varying weather conditions, solar energy levels, and subject to optimal control of HVAC systems.

Retaining Embodied Carbon & Energy Through Commercial Building Material Reuse

Andrew Ellsworth

Building material reuse represents a tremendous opportunity for sequestering carbon, retaining embodied energy, reducing landfilled material, and conserving natural resources. It is far more effective than many other forms of construction waste management that rely on additional inputs to grind, melt or pulp materials into a new form.

Simulating Building - Level Carbon Capture Systems

Joey Zamora

There are compelling studies that display the danger of metabolic CO 2 and fossil fuel CO 2 while entrapped in the buildings many people occupy. In fact, productivity amongst workers and students can be increased by minimizing CO 2 concentrations at building-level. Current direct air capture (DAC) systems are massive and have been developed to sequester carbon dioxide, created from the ignition of fossil fuels, directly from the air at 400 ppm.

Simulating Energy Saving and Carbon Reducing Building Strategies For Residential Buildings in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Stephanie Tsopanidis

Around 40% of global energy consumption can be contributed to buildings. 1 By evaluating the materials with which we construct our buildings, we can determine how to reduce their energy consumption and related carbon emissions. This study will focus on simulating the energy consumption, embodied carbon, and monetary cost of a single-family home in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Social-Economic Assessment of Products from Valorized Faecal Sludge in Johannesburg Metropolis: Case Study of Wits University Campus and its Environs

Anna Coleman

Faecal valorization is the process of transforming human faecal sludge into useful products such as fertilizer, animal feed and combustibles. It is a viable solution to the issue of inadequate sanitation because it incentives investment in sanitation systems. Additionally, it is associated with economic and environmental benefits.

Solve Climate By 2030: Solar Dominance + Citizen Action

Eban Goodstein

This poster will discuss a climate education project sponsored by the Bard Center for Environmental Policy that, on April 8, 2020, will sponsor 52 simultaneous, university-hosted, state level webinars focused on the top 3 policy actions needed in each state to drive climate solutions.

Species Mixtures May Enhance Disease and Water Use Benefits Under Climate Change

Mark Boudreau, Breath Hand, Barbara Shew, Laura Duffie Andrako

Throughout agricultural history, intercropping has been the dominant system of cultivation. Although industrialization has emphasized monoculture, there is strong evidence that species mixtures often provide greater productivity and resilience, representing both mitigation and adaptation to climate change. Indeed, Project Drawdown includes three forms of agricultural diversification in its carbon-reduction rankings.

Study of Hydrothermal Liquefaction as a Process for Utilizing Municipal Solid Waste Without Separation

Mahadevan Subramanya Seshasayee, Phillip. E. Savage

Hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) breaks down municipal solid waste (MSW) into useful components. Organic carbonaceous wastes such as food waste and wood are broken down to organic, aqueous, solid, and gaseous phases under subcritical conditions (280-374˚C). Nitrogen and Phosphorous compounds enriched in the aqueous phase can be utilized as nutrients for fertilizers. The organic phase derived from the process serves as bio-oil.

Sun Pockets and Pathways

Robert J. Koester

A humanly-scaled community of living units and courts.

The cellular expression of patterns of Biophilia are used to set the character/quality of the architecture:

Supply Chain Analysis of Bioenergy Production in Pennsylvania

Haley Stauffer, Tom L. Richard

Reliable energy production is of significant importance worldwide. Multiple communities depend on accessible and sustainable energy resources for their continued well being. In the current climate crisis, it is crucial that alternative renewable energy sources be identified and made logistically feasible given policy and economic parameters at a global, national, and regional scale.

Sustainable Development Goals: Curriculum Modules for Engineering

Gabbie Batzko

The Pennsylvania State University is updating engineering first-year seminars (FYS) to include ethics and humanities by incorporating more sustainability and human rights concepts. My research with Penn State’s Drawdown centered around creating new curriculum for Penn State FYS that incorporates the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Swiss Exponential Climate Action Roadmap to 2050

John Moorhead, Alexandra Gavilano

In 2017, Switzerland ratified the Paris agreement and committed to reduce its carbon emissions by half by 2030 (from 1990 levels), including carbon offsets abroad. Switzerland also announced an indicative objective to reduce its emissions by 70%-85% until 2050 (from 1990 emissions), including offsets abroad. Studies that describe the existing solutions, their combined potential and the possible pathways to achieve such objectives are uncommon.

The Economics of Decentralized Emission Control Strategies

Wei Peng, Gokul Iyer, David Victor

Over the last decade, culminating in the Paris Agreement, international climate diplomacy has shifted from strategies that emphasize centralized global cooperation toward decentralized modes of action where states, provinces, cities, firms and other subnational actors lead the way. However, the economic costs of this decentralized approach to policy remain unknown and most economic analysis has emphasized the superiority of uniform global approaches to climate policy.

The Effects of Climate Variability on Fertility in Sub-Saharan Africa

Demi Amideneau, Anna Armao, Katrina Burka, Sara Ronnkvist

Previous literature has predicted that population levels will continue to rise throughout the upcoming century, raising questions about Earth’s carrying capacity. The UN has predicted that by 2100 the African continent will account for one third of the world’s population, posing a unique opportunity to study population dynamics in the region which has not neatly fit into traditional demographic transition models.

The Future of Nuclear Energy: Small Modular Reactors and Generation IV, A New Hope

Marc Wonders, Pierre-Clement Simon, Matthew Durbin, Pierre Bouhaddane, Will Searight

As climate change threatens to dramatically change the global landscape, the negative human impact on the environment must be reduced. Electricity production, through the burning of fossil fuels, is a major contributor to human-induced climate. This situation along with increasing energy demands motivates a massive shift to alternative carbon-free energy sources.

The New Carbon Economy

Kathleen Draper, Albert Bates

In the IPCC’s Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5 °C (2018), biochar was listed as one of several promising negative emissions technologies (NET).

The Pathways Project: Local Planning and Federal Support for Low Carbon Infrastructure in the United States

Elena Crete

2020 is shaping up to be a watershed moment for climate policy in the United States. The Green New Deal proposal has reopened the national conversation about infrastructure and climate change, and galvanized support in some important constituencies. It also raises a key dynamic for climate action, namely the interaction of local action and federal policy.

The Role of Non-CO2 Mitigation Options Within the Dairy Industry for Pursuing Climate Change Targets

Kristina Rolph, Chris Forest, Matt Ruark

Mitigation of non-CO2 climate forcing agents must complement the mitigation of CO2 to achieve long term temperature and climate policy goals. A large share of global non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions is attributed to agriculture, with a significant contribution related to dairy production. As demonstrated by the results of a recent USDA coordinated project, Dairy-CAP, dairy farmers can significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by implementing beneficial management practices (BMPs).

The Unintended Congestion Cost and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Impacts of Solar Policies in California

Caroline Tevnan

California’s public policy efforts to incentivize the expansion of solar rooftop photovoltaic (PV) systems in the California wholesale electricity market have led to a tripling of PV capacity between 2013 and 2017 (CAISOMM, 2016). However, this unprecedented expansion has contributed to significant network congestion, entailing significant economic costs and affecting greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel generation technologies that PV generation is expected to displace.

Towards Sustainable Repair and Manufacturing of Gas Turbine Components for Reduced Carbon Footprint

Amrita Basak

Gas turbines are extensively used around the globe for propulsion and power generation. The hot-section components of gas turbines are made of nickel-based superalloys which are very difficult to repair due to their complex chemistry. Investment cast and fully machined hot-section components cost several hundred to several thousand dollars apiece.

Trade-off Analysis on the Expansion of Frontier Agriculture in the Subarctic

Lisa Ashton

By transforming the environmental conditions in the subarctic, climate change is creating an expansion opportunity for frontier agricultural production. In particular, interest is mounting in northern Ontario where there is a combination of warming temperatures that crops can thrive in, relatively inexpensive land prices, and government support for sector growth.

Winter Rye: Energy Potential of Cover Crops with Anaerobic Digestion and Uses for Solid Digestate

Amanda Liebhardt

Anaerobic digestion is a process that harnesses the metabolic potential of bacteria to produce methane from biomass, like crop residues and manure. This methane can be compressed further to produce heat, electricity, or fuel. Biogas production via anaerobic digestion can be used as an alternative for fossil fuels and has the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Women Smallholders

Nebraska Hernandez, Autumn Moore, Isabela Schultz, Kirsten Taylor

Drawdown’s Women Smallholder solution proposes that empowering smallholder women farmers through improved credit access will allow them to implement nutrient management and drip irrigation, forms of sustainable agriculture that contribute to the drawdown of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Inherent in Drawdown’s model are optimistic assumptions about cultural and societal systems in which women smallholders exist.