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Summer 2011


In Focus: Energy Engineers in the lab

From the Department Head

Yaw D. Yeboah, EME Department Head

IN THIS ISSUE: In the Spotlight......................................... 3 Alumni and Friends................................. 4 EME @ Your Service................................ 5 EME Education......................................... 6 Research in Motion..................................10 Faculty News............................................12 Professional Societies and Clubs...........13 Student Voice........................................... 14

>> Penn State and

Dalian Establish the International Joint Center for Energy Research archives/2011/JCER_ceremony.html

>> Penn State Fayette

to offer degree in mining technology

>> Dudeks’ $2.5

million gift to benefit Penn State students and research

>> ConocoPhillips,

Penn State rev up 2011 Energy Prize Competition

2011 GEMS Seminar “Energizing Society: A collaborative approach to resource management” September 22, 2011 1:00 PM - 4:30 PM HUB Auditorium Penn State University University Park, PA Featuring a panel discussion on the Marcellus Shale

Connection is a publication of the John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences at Penn State. Editorial Director: Yaw Yeboah Editor: Rachel Altemus Writer/Designer: Anna Morrison U.Ed. EMS 11-64

CONTACT: 116 Hosler Building Penn State University University Park, PA 16802-5000 URL: Phone: 814-865-3437 E-mail to:

This publication is available in alternative media on request. Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity, and the diversity of its workforce. Front Cover Photo Credit: Elizabeth Wood, EMS Energy Institute

save the date

If there is one topic that has been ringing through Happy Valley during the first few months of 2011, it is energy. First, in February, President Barack Obama visited the University Park campus to tout Penn State’s innovative energy research efforts. He specifically cited the work being done as part of the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster (GPIC) for Energy Efficient Buildings, a research initiative to develop technologies that will improve the energy efficiency of commercial and residential buildings. There are over 90 organizations involved in this project, with several of our own EME faculty members participating. Then in April, Penn State and the Dalian University of Technology (DUT) in China finalized the creation of the Penn State Dalian Joint Center for Energy Research ( JCER). The goal of the JCER is to facilitate collaborative and multi-disciplinary research in energy sciences and technology. Chunshan Song, director of the EMS Energy Institute and distinguished professor of fuel science in EME, will be one of the co-directors of the Center. And of course the exploration of the Marcellus Shale that runs along northern Appalachia (and cuts through all of western Pennsylvania) has continued to produce newspaper headlines and be a conversation piece at many dinner tables throughout the state of Pennsylvania. There is no doubt that this sustained interest in energy goes well beyond the

county lines of central Pennsylvania. This fact is evident in our current student enrollment numbers. With over 1,000 undergraduate students and nearly 175 graduate students, this department continues to boast the highest enrollment numbers in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS). And it appears that the numbers have yet to plateau. Indeed, more and more young people are becoming interested in the energy and minerals field and recognize it as an industry ripe with employment opportunities. What is very encouraging is that each and every one of our disciplines is growing with better quality students. As you may have noticed on the front cover, our department name has officially changed to the John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering (EME). We thank John and Willie Leone for their generous gift to the department, and we are currently conducting a search for a faculty member to fill the Endowed Leone Family Chair in Energy and Mineral Engineering. Finally, for those of you who may be in the area in September, I hope you will be able to join us at this year’s Graduates of Earth and Mineral Sciences (GEMS) seminar on the University Park campus. This is the biennial seminar series co-hosted by the GEMS society and a College of EMS department. This year, the EME department is proudly co-hosting the seminar, which will feature a panel discussion on the Marcellus Shale. Details are to the right on this page. We appreciate your continued support and send our best wishes for all your endeavors this summer and fall.

Online News Exclusives

Dear Alumni and Friends,

In the Spotlight

Ityokumbul Receives Fulbright Award from Penn State Live M. Thaddeus Ityokumbul, associate professor of mineral processing, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to conduct research and teach in Africa during the 2011-12 academic year. Ityokumbul will be teaching in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria, as well as conducting research on iron ore processing, an area of economic interest to the Nigerian government. “Nigeria has based its economy largely on one commodity -- oil -- but the newly elected democratic government is eager to expand its revenue base to include solid minerals development,” Ityokumbul said. This expansion will fuel employment opportunities as well. During his Fulbright, Ityokumbul also will work with the Nigerian Institute of Mining and Geosciences (NIMG) on identifying and initiating research in the mining, beneficiation and processing of minerals such as iron ore, phosphate rock and bitumen. “Currently, NIMG is not directing any research projects in this area,” said Ityokumbul, who toured the country’s research facilities during a 2008 visit sponsored by the country’s Ministry of Mines and Steel Development. “Africa is resource rich, but many countries lack the manpower to develop these resources in a sustainable manner and for the benefit of the larger society,” Ityokumbul said. “My work in Nigeria will be part of ongoing efforts to build technical and scientific capacity in Africa with Africans and for Africans.”

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Awarded First Place for Best Project (left to right): Sponsor Daniel Yanchak, Adam Kimmerle, Natalie Keener, Shaun Valentine, Timothy Tomko, and Liam O’Sullivan

Energy Engineering students place first in the Lockheed Martin Design Awards

Two teams of energy engineering students walked away with top prizes at the Penn State College of Engineering’s spring 2011 Design Project Showcase, held April 28 at the Bryce Jordan Center. The teams won first place Lockheed Martin Design Awards in the best project and best poster categories. “This is a tremendous accomplishment for the department and college coming from a new engineering program,” said Yaw Yeboah, head of the John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering. The Design Project Showcase is an exhibit of engineering design projects created by students with the support of Penn State faculty members and industry sponsors. The projects allow students to display their solutions to problems posed by their industry sponsors. Both energy engineering teams entered the competition with their senior capstone design projects under the supervision of André Boehman, professor of fuel science and materials science and engineering. Members of the team awarded best project include, Natalie Keener, Adam Kimmerle, Liam O’Sullivan, Timothy Tomko, and Shaun Valentine. Sponsored by Daniel Yanchak of CONSOL Energy, Inc., they were tasked with devising a way to improve the industry method of recovering magnetite once it has been used in a slurry mix to separate coal from mineral matter. The energy engineering team designed and built a hydrocyclone enhanced with a four-pole AC electromagnet which pulses in the direction of the hydrocyclone flow. Initial testing showed the electromagnetically enhanced hydrocyclone achieved a recovery efficiency of 96 percent. Members of the team awarded best poster include, Andrew Eldridge, Erik Horn, Arwen Kandt, Roman Keniuk, Douglas Middleton, and Kaitlin Myers. Sponsored by Jason Steiner of Boeing, their project centered on the development of a mechanical energy storage system. In all, there were 92 senior capstone design projects on display at the Design Showcase, with nearly 430 students in ten academic departments participating. Connection


Alumni and Friends Environmental Systems Engineering alumnus receives 2011 Penn State Alumni Achievement Award Patrick J. Flynn (‘01 B.S. Environmental Systems Engineering and ‘03 M.S. Geo-Environmental Engineering), founder/CEO of Enersol, Inc. and environmental engineer with Environmental Resources Management (ERM), has been honored with a 2011 Penn State Alumni Achievement Award. Presented by the Penn State Alumni Association, the Alumni Achievement Award recognizes alumni who have reached an extraordinary level of professional accomplishment by the age of 35 or younger. Flynn received the award at a dinner ceremony April 8 at The Nittany Lion Inn on the University Park campus. Flynn is recognized throughout the hydrogen community as a pioneer in the field of hydrogen leak detection and in the development of the scientific fundamentals for odorizing hydrogen for fuel cell systems. He distinguished himself early in his career with the publication of his bachelor’s thesis in the Transactions of the Society of Automotive Engineers: Journal of Fuels and Lubricants. His paper was judged to be among the most outstanding technical research papers published in the field in 2001. As a graduate student, Flynn, along with his colleague Michael Sprague (‘03 M.S. Geo-Environmental Engineering), developed intellectual property that involved technology for odorizing hydrogen in a manner analogous to the way natural gas and propane are odorized for leak detection. Upon graduation, Flynn and Sprague transformed this development into Enersol, a company that is focused on improving public confidence and safety within the application of

hydrogen technologies. In addition to peer recognition for technical achievements, Flynn has also seen success with his young company. Enersol has filed numerous patent applications; received federal funding for technology validation research, which was facilitated by the Penn State EMS Energy Institute; and was selected as a featured company showcased at Philadelphia’s prestigious Mid-Atlantic Capital (MAC) Conference and at the Entrepreneur’s Forum of Greater Philadelphia, as a “Cleantech Company to Patrick J. Flynn Watch.” Flynn lives in Coatesville, PA, with his wife, Nicole (‘00 B.S, ‘03 M.S. Health and Human Development), and their five-year-old daughter, Madison.

Alumni, friends, and students came together at the 2011 EME Awards Banquet to recognize the many outstanding accomplishments of the EME community this past year. Held at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel in University Park, PA, the event gave students a chance to meet face-to-face with their generous scholarship and award donors. Dr. Joseph W. Leonard III (‘52 B.S. Mining Engineering and ‘58 M.S. Mineral Processsing) was presented with the Robert Stefanko Distinguished Achievement Award, while Mr. Timothy L. Hower (‘81 B.S. and ‘83 M.S. Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering) received the C. Drew Stahl Distinguished Achievement Award. Dr. Leonard is an Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Mining Engineering at the University of Kentucky. Mr. Hower is currently Chairman of MHA Petroleum Consultants and a co-founder and Director of Bayswater Exploration and Production Company.


EME @ Your Service

by Shea Winton, EMS Energy Institute Conference Photo Credit: Elizabeth Wood, EMS Energy Institute


he Penn State Electricity Markets Initiative (EMI) held its first conference on April 12, 2011, at the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in Harrisburg. The conference, with over 80 attendees, included presentations of ongoing studies by EMI researchers as well as presentations by industry consultants and talks about the current issues affecting restructured electricity markets from industry and government representatives. Robert F. Powelson, who serves as the chairman of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), gave the keynote address and Pennsylvania House Representative Chris Ross opened the program with a view from the legislature. The program was organized into three sessions: competitive markets, renewable mandates and environmental issues, and demand response. Presenters included Professors R.J. Briggs, Seth Blumsack, and Anastasia Shcherbakova of Penn State, Joseph Cullen of Harvard University, Jessica Harrison of KEMA, Inc, Phillip O’Connor of ProACTIVE Strategies, Sanem Sergici of the Brattle Group, Steve Elsea of Leggett and Platt, and Jeff Bladen of the Mark Group. In the first session conference presenters focused on electricity restructuring and why the retail market for power has been slow to develop in Pennsylvania, the effect of competition in the electricity retail market nationally, and how competition in the retail market fosters innovation. In the second session, presenters examined the benefits of wind power, the variability of wind in the PJM regional market, and how electricity restructuring and competition effect emissions and other environmental out-

comes. Presenters in the final session discussed the customer response to dynamic pricing, customer perspective of demand response in the electricity market, and the role of energy efficiency in the regional market, including changes to energy efficiency rules and incentives. The EMI, under the direction of Andrew Kleit, professor of energy and environmental economics in the EME Department, and located in the EMS Energy Institute, was formed to undertake industry-relevant research that examines important policy questions in electricity restructuring and elec-

tricity markets throughout Pennsylvania and across the United States. The EMI engages industry and regulatory partners in research studies designed to influence the ongoing debate about how the U.S. electricity market should address these challenges. The EMI is funded by a consortium of electricity market participants, and includes regulators and consumer representatives on its advisory board. Current EMI members include Constellation Energy, Direct Energy, Exelon Corporation, FirstEnergy Solutions, GenOn Energy, and PPL EnergyPlus.

Director of NIOSH gives 2011 Shoemaker Lecture Dr. John Howard, Director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, presented the 20th annual G. Albert Shoemaker Lecture in Mineral Engineering. Held on April 15, 2011, at University Park, PA, Dr. Howard’s John Howard and Raja Ramani lecture explored: “When Economics and Safety Clash: The Extractive Industries and Worker Health.” The G. Albert Shoemaker Lecture Series in Mineral Engineering was established in 1992 by Mercedes G. Shoemaker to honor the memory of her husband, a Pittsburgh civic and industrial leader dedicated to the support of higher education.



EME Education


s far as spring breaks go, this will be one for the memory books. Taking advantage of an opportunity of a lifetime, ten Penn State mining engineering students traveled to Johannesburg, South Africa, to receive in-depth, guided tours of several mining operations and facilities, and to meet with industry leaders in the region. The trip gave students a unique chance to interact with mining professionals in South Africa and to appreciate the many challenges they face in their mining operations. “This trip helped the students realize that many other factors come into play when running a mine abroad,” explained Jamal Rostami, assistant professor of energy and mineral engineering. “In addition to all the technical

issues that an engineer should be prepared to face, there are also cultural, economical, social, and linguistic barriers.” Joining Rostami on the trip was Harisha Kinilakodi, a Ph.D. student in mining and mineral process engineering, as well as undergraduate students Ryan Balint, Thomas Cook, Patrick D’Elia, Thaddeus Kosciolek, Drew Mason, Ryan Mauser, Christopher Meyers, Michael Sloan, and Frank Wallace. They were accompanied by Thomas W. McClain (’79 B.S. Mining Engineering), president of Liberty Mining Consultants, who coordinated the entire visit for the group. In total, the students toured five separate mining operations in four days. They began with an excursion to the Syferfon6

Students visit mining operations in South Africa

Front Row (left to right): Drew Mason, Christopher Meyers, Ryan Mauser, Thomas Cook, and Ryan Balint Back Row (left to right): Sasol Employee, Patrick D’Elia, Jamal Rostami, Frank Wallace, Harisha Kinilakodi, Thaddeus Kosciolek, Michael Sloan, and Thomas McClain

tein underground coal mine, located near Trichardt in the Mpumalanga Province. Previously a surface mine, this mine is one of many that feeds the Sasol coal-to-liquid plant at Secunda. Once the tour of the mine was complete, the students were invited to view the Sasol plant later that afternoon. The next day, the group visited the Kloof underground gold mine, situated almost 40 miles west of Johannesburg, near Westonaria in the Gauteng Province. Consisting of five shaft systems and two gold plants, this mining facility has produced over 70 million ounces of gold in its 75 years of existence. Having the opportunity to witness the hard working conditions of such a deep underground gold mine gave the students a better understanding of the harsh environmental conditions and mine design issues that different mining operations must traverse. “For students who mainly have experience with coal mines or aggregate mines, it was great to get an opportunity to see how underground metal mines operate and see the vast differences,” Mason said. The day ended with a stop at the Joy Global Inc. / P&H

“The experience to travel across the world and then witness a variety of mining operations was truly an opportunity of a lifetime. Not only did we observe and learn mining techniques, but also we witnessed the culture of South Africa.”

Mining Equipment plant in the suburbs of Johannesburg. While on a tour of the facility, students learned about the activities of Joy Global Inc. in South Africa, including the manufacture of shuttle cars and major repair work on continuous miners and shuttle cars, continuous haulage systems, and surface mine shovels. Next on the agenda was a tour of the Anglo American Khomanani platinum mine in the northwest province near the town of Rustenburg. Anglo American is one of the main producers of platinum in the world. Here, students visited an underground stope to observe the operations in progress and were even allowed to operate a jackleg drill themselves. The final two mine tours took place at the Mafube Colliery, an open cast coal mine, and the Goedgevonden Colliery, a surface coal mine, both located in the Mpumalanga Province. At the Goedgevonden Colliery, the group observed surface operations and witnessed a blast from a safe distance. It

proved to be an exciting end to one of the most unique field trips undertaken by Penn State mining engineering students. “I felt that my experience of touring the mines in South Africa was extremely valuable for my development in becoming a mining engineer,” Mauser said. “Never before has the combination of real world technical mining aspects plus cultural differences come together so fluidly in my education.” Of course, no trip to South Africa is complete without a view of the rich and diversified wildlife. Before embarking on their four day tour of mining facilities, the Penn State group spent a day at the Pilanesburg National Park, just north of Johannesburg. “While we saw various species of animals in their native living conditions, we did not have much luck in spotting the so-called big five, except for a family of rhinoceroses crossing the road,” Rostami said. Throughout the week, the group also found time to visit FNB Stadium (a.k.a. Soccer City Stadium), home of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and to experience a

~ Thomas Cook

bit of local culture with trips to a local flea market and local eateries. Overall, the expedition to South Africa proved to be an extraordinary and valuable experience for the students who attended. “By participating in the South Africa mine trip, I truly anticipate being better prepared to contribute to the global mineral extraction industry,” Mauser said. The trip was made possible by the generous donations of Penn State mining engineering alumni and several industrial partners of the Penn State mining engineering program. “We would like to extend our most sincere gratitude to Mr. Tom McClain for his relentless efforts of coordination, and for spending his time with the group,” Rostami said. “We also thank the management and staff of the mines who coordinated and participated in the site visits, and the sponsors and supporters of the program who made this memorable experience possible for these students.”



EME Education


n a brisk morning in the month of March, a group of petroleum and natural gas engineering (PNGE) students stepped off their bus in Titusville, PA, and found themselves stepping into a bygone era. Their destination was the Drake Well Museum, a site that both celebrates and interprets the birth of the modern oil industry right on the banks of Oil Creek in northwestern Pennsylvania. It was there, in 1859, that “Colonel” Edwin L. Drake, a manager for the Seneca Oil Company, drilled the world’s first commercially successful oil well. The group of 20 graduate and undergraduate students, along with their faculty advisers, Luis F. Ayala H., associate professor of petroleum and natural gas engineering, and Russell T. Johns, professor of petroleum and natural gas engineering, received a tour of the working Drake Well replica. The structure stands on the location of the original well.

Along with watching a demonstration of the salt drilling techniques used to extract the dark green-tinted petroleum through the oil well, the students also were introduced to some of the clever innovations of the early oil industry. “The ingenuity and brilliant idea of powering hundreds of pump-lift systems around that area with just a single engine certainly had every one of us flabbergasted,” said Leong Chew Yeong, B.S. student in PNGE. Students also were treated to the famed Nitroglycerine Show, which gives the audience a first-hand experience with the history of oil through storytelling with costumed re-enactors and the occasional live nitro explosion. “[We learned about] angel boxes - wooden boxes filled with nitroglycerin and dropped down the well to fracture the formation,” explained Bethany Johns, B.S. student in PNGE. “[They were] called angel boxes because if you dropped it you would be seeing angels.” Other activities of the day included several

educational stations set up with period demonstrators and working antique machinery, and lessons about the original uses of crude oil. Students were particularly intrigued to learn that crude oil was once used as both a topical and ingestible medicine to cure anything from headaches to burns to various rheumatic complaints. Students also toured a bus decorated with posters, videos, and other information describing how oil and gas are recovered. One significant feature of the bus was an emphasis on how fracking is done in gas shales. This unique display of historical facts and techniques of yesteryear is why a field trip to the Drake Well remains a favorite outing for PNGE students. “It’s good to know your background and how the major and industry got started,” Johns said. “As a PNGE student from Penn State University, I believe it would be a lifetime regret if you never visited Drake’s Well,” Yeong added.

Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering students visit birth site of modern oil industry


Energy Engineering student Natalie Keener conducts a study to determine the effect of torrefaction on energy density and grindability of wood chips

IN FOCUS: Undergraduate Student Research Natalie Keener carefully pours her sample of wood chips into the Retsch Ultracentrifugal Mill. The chips have just undergone a process known as torrefaction, heating at temperatures between 200-300 degrees Celsius in the absence of oxygen, and it is time to record their moisture level and calorific value. The experiment is part of a larger research project designed by Keener, a B.S. student in energy engineering, to determine the effect torrefaction has on the energy density and grindability of air-dried mixed wood chips. “Biomass is advantageous for thermochemical energy conversion processes including combustion, gasification, and pyrolysis because it is considered a net-zero carbon emitter,” Keener explained. “While biomass is more environmentally friendly than coal, it has disadvantages of lower energy density and poses challenges in fine grinding due to high moisture content and fibrous lignocellulosic structure. These limitations have been shown to be mitigated by processing biomass with torrefaction.” Keener is one of a group of nearly 20 energy engineering students taking part in the Energy Engineering Senior Research Project course. A mandatory class for seniors majoring in energy engineering, this course requires

students to conduct an independent research project from start to finish. “Introducing undergraduate students to the research process is crucial to their educational experience,” said Sarma Pisupati, program officer of the energy engineering program. “Not only do they learn valuable experimental and analytical techniques as well as basic research methodology, but they also improve their critical thinking and technical writing skills.” Under the guidance of course instructor Sharon Miller, research associate at the EMS Energy Institute, students may choose from a wide range of energy-related topics for their projects. These topics typically cover the production, processing, and utilization of different forms of energy. Some subjects explored during the spring semester included, CO2 co-gasification of coal and biomass, propane injection into the intake stream of a diesel engine, and the effect of natural gas flaring on human health. Throughout the semester, students are expected to review existing literature related to their topic, design and conduct appropriate experiments, and perform a detailed analysis of their results. The project culminates with a final paper and presentation that outlines their research objectives, approach, and ulti-

mate findings. “This course is about exposing students to the entire research process,” Miller said. “From identifying their subject matter to evaluating data and understanding the broader societal impact of the research, these students are learning step-by-step how to effectively contribute and utilize research.” “The success of such a course is only possible through the strong relationship between EME and the EMS Energy Institute, and the hard work and commitment of Sharon Miller and other EMS Energy Institute staff as well as the EME faculty,” added Yaw Yeboah, head of the EME Department. Back in the lab, Keener is encouraged by the results of her experiment. “[The] biomass was found to have significant increases in carbon content due to loss of moisture and volatile matter during torrefaction, which correlated to up to 14 percent increase in heating value. The results of the study demonstrate the significant improvements torrefaction causes to biomass combustion characteristics.” Although her work on this particular project is ending, the learning experience will stay with her long after she graduates. “I like that I was able to tailor the project to my individual interests, and I think the skills I gained will help in project design in the future.” Connection


Research in Motion


he field of modern solar energy conversion systems has experienced several boom-bust waves in the United States from the late 1800s until the 1980s. In periods when fuels were effectively accessible, inexpensive, and unconstrained, a light-induced energy transfer (for sensible or latent heat change or for electricity generation) was deemed diffuse and insufficient for performing work. However, for periods in history where fuels have become constrained (e.g., inaccessible due to high cost or high risk), innovation has turned to solar technology solutions. In recent years, a new period of solar energy exploration has emerged. Seeking opportunities from this renewed interest in solar research, a new Solar Energy Design and Research (SEDaR) Working Group has been formed at Penn State. “We are taking advantage of the new opportunities emerging with the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster (GPIC) Hub consortium and the interdisciplinary interest in solar technology at Penn State to form a working group that addresses the design and research of solar energy conversion systems and their impact in society,” explained Jeffrey R. S. Brownson, assistant professor of

energy and mineral engineering. Born out of a five-year $122 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, the GPIC Hub is a consortium of industry, academia, and government studying how “to improve energy efficiency and operability and reduce carbon emissions of new and existing buildings.” The new SEDaR group aims to build and sustain a robust interdisciplinary community of university researchers pursuing topics of systems design, new materials research, environmental and economic strategies, and social and ethical implications in large-scale implementation of solar technologies. Since solar energy design calls upon investigators to collectively assess energy conversion and technology implementations for a multitude of research fields, the group will work to serve as a centralized forum for the diverse population at Penn State participating in solar energy conversion design and research. So far, 30 members of faculty from 13 different Penn State academic departments have expressed interest. “The SEDaR working group believes that Penn State is in a unique position to establish itself as a world leader in solar technologies and societal impacts of solar deployment,” Brownson said. The

challenge will be to keep momentum amidst periods of political uncertainty for solar research. “We have learned that government incentives for energy and technology have been historically sporadic, and opportunities to drive research forward in the energy field can be short-lived.” It is this on-again, off-again enthusiasm for alternative energy sources that has allowed the progress in solar energy research to continually slip from the public consciousness. For many people, the idea of solar energy sounds like a new concept only just discovered within the last five to ten years, when the world seriously began to look for alternative power sources to combat the increased global demand for and rising costs of traditional fuels. The truth is that solar technology has been around for thousands of years, beginning as early as the 3rd Century B.C., when the Romans and Greeks began to look for ways to harness the sun’s power. By the 1st Century A.D., the Romans were building their dwellings with large south facing windows to allow the sun to heat their homes. Fast forwarding to more modern times, several advances were made in the 19th and 20th Centuries A.D., including the invention

Penn State to form new s lar energy research working group by Jeffrey R. S. Brownson, Assistant Professor of Energy and Mineral Engineering


of the first solar-powered steam engine in the 1860s and the debut of the silicon photovoltaic (PV) cell – the first solar cell capable of converting the sun’s energy to power electrical equipment – in 1954. In recent years, industries connected with the manufacture of photovoltaic cells, and their accompanying systems for power conversion, have grown exponentially at a rate of approximately 35 percent since 1996. Knowing that long-term viability will require a diverse and robust research community, the SEDaR Working Group will focus its attention on the core research and design milestones that sync with government and industry funding sources. “Given the growth of the industry and the input of the GPIC Hub with current interests at Penn State, the first arc of work within the SEDaR working group will be tied to Building Integrated PhotoVoltaics,” Brownson explained. “In addition to the technical issues entailed by moving to solar, the group will study the process to overcome barriers to large solar commitment in society.” During the 1980s, Building Integrated PhotoVoltaics (BIPVs) developed into an important method for incorporating PV directly into a building’s skin; be it on the roof or in the façade. By replacing an otherwise necessary portion of the building envelope, BIPV was believed to reduce the total cost of a house designed to include a photovoltaic system. In merely replacing the façade with PV elements, the true potential of systems integration (inclusive of energy balance) is lost. Advances in energy research emphasize that the system must be optimized with respect to all components in a process of integrated design. This requirement is a cornerstone of a new working definition at Penn State: System Integrative PhotoVoltaics (SIPV). The process is to integrate the system by including PV panels as an integral part of the façade. Beyond merely replacing materials in the building envelope, PV systems are designed into a heat and power system that functions interactively. Using this logic, it is possible to design SIPV modules for combined functionality (e.g., energy production, insulation, membrane, structure); with foreseeable functioning similar to SIP (Structurally Insulated Panels) system for insulation, membrane, and structural utility. The long-term goal of the SEDaR group will be to integrate itself within the well-established community of national and international solar research networks within academic, industrial, and government quarters. Photo Credit: Stefano Paltera/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

Boehman and Lilik invited to Volvo Group Tech Show 2011 On May 23, 2011, Gregory Lilik, Ph.D. student in fuel science, and his faculty adviser, André Boehman, professor of fuel science and materials science and engineering, will head to Gothenburg, Sweden, to discuss their latest research at the Volvo Group Tech Show. Held at the Volvo Demo Centre, the Tech Show will display some of the latest technologies and innovations across multiple areas of research and development. Examples will be shown to highlight Volvo Group’s “aim to improve fuel efficiency through innovative concepts for energy efficient transportation, solutions to increase the transport effectiveness and uptime, technologies for safety and security, and many other areas,” according to the Volvo Group website. While in attendance, Lilik and Boehman will meet with Volvo Group scientists to share details about upcoming research projects at Penn State. “My Volvo funded research is to experimentally validate numerical Constant Volume Combustion Chamber Image Courtesy of PAC L.P. simulation of spray and combustion,” Lilik explained. “In my research, I will be instrumenting a constant volume combustion chamber with optical access. By doing so, different events in the combustion process, such as the fuel vaporization event and various stages of the combustion chemistry can be distinguished from one another.” According to Lilik, the goal of validating the spray and combustion submodels is to create improved simulations which will indicate the path to increased thermodynamic efficiency in internal combustion engines. Another goal of the visit will be to discuss future plans to bring more Volvo Group funding to Penn State. In 2010, the Volvo Group chose Penn State as its first academic preferred partnership in North America to explore and resolve some of the serious issues in commercial transportation markets around the world. The partnership has brought collaboration in the areas of diesel combustion and efficiency, alternative fuels, intelligent transportation systems and vehicle and driver safety systems. “My own areas of research interest overlap significantly with these broad areas of cooperation, and I am very excited about working with Volvo Group on advanced diesel combustion and alternative fuels,” Boehman said. “Our goals will be to help Volvo Group develop new engine and vehicle technologies to improve efficiency and reduce emissions, while training the next generation of automotive engineers.”

Ehsan Alavi Gharahbagh, Ph.D. candidate in mining and mineral process engineering, was awarded second place in the Educational Sustainability Graduate Student Poster Contest for his poster, “Impact of Abrasion on Soft Ground Excavation Machinery and Development of a Reliable Soil Abrasivity Index.” The poster was co-authored by his faculty adviser, Jamal Rostami, assistant professor of energy and mineral engineering. Sponsored by Alpha Natural Resources, the contest took place in the beginning of March at the 2011 Society for Mining, Metallurgy, & Exploration (SME) Annual Meeting and Exhibit in Denver, CO. The purpose of the competition is to recognize excellence in research by SME graduate student members and to encourage them to continue their pursuit of excellence through an academic career. Gharahbagh’s poster highlighted his research regarding the impact of abrasion and tool wear on soft-ground mechanized excavation machines (e.g., tunnel boring machines). His poster introduced a new testing system for measuring soil abrasivity which simulates the actual working conditions of the field, and discussed the preliminary results of his work. For his second place finish, Gharahbagh was presented with a $650 prize. Connection


Faculty News André Boehman received the 2009 Arch T. Colwell Merit Award in recognition of a technical paper he coauthored, “An Experimental Investigation of the Origin of Increased NOx Emissions when Fueling a Heavy-Duty CompressionIgnition Engine with Soy Biodiesel.” The paper was published in the October 2009 issue of SAE International Journal of Fuels and Lubricants. Boehman was presented with the award by SAE International at its 2011 World Congress event in April. This award was established by Arch T. Colwell to recognize authors of outstanding papers presented at SAE meetings. Papers are judged for their value as contributions to existing knowledge of mobility engineering, and primarily with respect to their value as an original contribution to the subject matter. Award winning papers were selected from the many papers which were published for SAE meetings during 2009. The paper’s lead author was Charles J. Mueller, Sandia National Laboratories. Co-authors included André Boehman and Glen C. Martin, Sandia National Laboratories. Last year the paper received the 2009 SAE John Johnson Award for Outstanding Research in Diesel Engines. The research group of Russell T. Johns has had five papers nominated for the Society of Petroleum Engineers’ Cedric K. Ferguson Medal. Winners will be announced this summer and the award will be presented at the next Society of Petroleum Engineer’s Annual Awards Banquet in the fall. Zuleima Karpyn served as guest editor for a special issue of the International Journal of Oil, Gas and Coal Technology. The publication focused on “Pore-Scale Flow and Transport Processes in Petroleum Reservoirs.” Karpyn also is the recipient of the 2011 George H. Deike, Jr. Research Grant. The purpose of the Deike Research Grant is to promote innovative research of high scholarly merit. The award is made annually to a tenure-track or fixed term faculty member in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. 12

Antonio Nieto presented a three-day short course in Lima, Peru, on sustainable mining. He also gave a technical presentation on the future of mining education and mining safety at the International Mining Congress in Trujillo, Peru. In addition, Nieto and Raj Ramani were presented with medals for “International Recognition for Mining Engineers dedicated to Education and Mine Safety” by the Peruvian Institute of Mining Engineers.

A research paper coauthored by Samuel A. Oyewole has been recognized as the most read article from the International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics during the months of July - September. The paper, “The ergonomic design of classroom furniture/computer work station for first graders in the elementary school,” was co-authored by Joel M. Haight, CDC/NIOSH Human Factors Branch Chief (Pittsburgh), and Andris Freivalds, professor of industrial engineering at Penn State. Chunshan Song received a 2011 Faculty Scholar Medal for Outstanding Achievement. Established by the University in 1980, the award recognizes scholarly or creative excellence represented by a single contribution or a series of contributions around a coherent theme. The contribution may be original basic research in any area of science; may represent application of knowledge in the creation of a process or device useful to society; or may be in any area of the arts or humanities. A committee of faculty peers reviews nominations and selects candidates. Song also has been selected to receive the 2011 Distinguished Researcher Award from the Petroleum Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society (ACS). The award, which began in 2008, will recognize Song for his extensive original contributions to research in the petroleum chemistry field. The ACS Petroleum Chemistry Division will hold an Award Symposium in honor of Song at the Fall 2011 ACS National Meeting in Denver, CO, with around 30 invited lectures by selected researchers worldwide.

In Memoriam Francis J. Vastola, 82, born in Buffalo, N.Y., the eldest son of the late Samuel and Harriet Brayman Vastola, died at the Atrium on Friday, Dec. 17, 2010. In the middle of his college years he joined the Navy as an ET3 to repair the electronics on submarines. He then worked in Washington D.C. at the National Bureau of Standards in the gas-chemistry section, where he helped preserve the Declaration of Independence by placing it into a sealed gas-controlled environment in which it remains today. Schools he attended were St. Joseph Collegiate Institute, the University of Buffalo and Penn State University, where he earned a Ph.D. in fuel science in 1959. He stayed at Penn State as an assistant professor and retired Professor Emeritus in 1986. After retirement, he did consulting and helped teach several Elderhostels at Penn State. As a hobby, he programmed software for the early computers, and had one of the first computers on campus. He is best known for his work in mass spectrometry, for which he is listed in “Who’s Who in the East.” His favorite pastimes were telling jokes at the dinner table, working on computers, electronics, sports cars, and watching old-time movies. He served as treasurer for the Science Fiction Club in Washington, D.C., as treasurer for the University Club in State College, and as treasurer/assistant treasurer for the 28ers men’s stock group. At the Village, where he lived the last five years of his life, he served as chairman of the Residents’ Energy Committee and as president of the Residents’ Council (2009). He is survived by his wife, Ruth; his brother Samuel, wife Inge; a niece Jennifer Soley, husband Steve, two children; a nephew Alex, three children; a nephew Andrew; and a cousin Franklyn, wife Rose, three children.

Professional Society and Club News Energy Business and Finance students organize Focus the Nation event by Alexa Pancza, B.S. Student in Energy Business and Finance Penn State was one of 19 colleges and universities nation-wide to host a Focus the Nation: Clean Energy Forum the week of February 21, 2011. The event was planned by Alexa Pancza and Kareisa Hidy, both senior energy business and finance students, in partnership with the non-profit organization, Focus the Nation (FTN). FTN is based in Portland, OR, but has an advisory board network of leaders across the country that is committed to accelerating the transformation to a clean energy future. Jeffrey R. S. Brownson, assistant professor of energy and mineral engineering and program officer of the B.A. degree in energy and sustainability policy, advised Hidy and Pancza in planning the event, which was sponsored by Penn State’s Energy Club. The event was also made possible by a generous donation from GHO Ventures, a small business located in Princeton, NJ, which fosters innovation by providing financial support to start-up companies. Nearly 100 students, faculty, staff, and members from the local community attended the event throughout the day, which focused on providing attendees with the necessary

resources to become more actively involved in a sustainable future. The morning consisted of presentations from Penn State faculty and staff at the forefront of energy and environmental issues. Presenters included Erik Foley, manager of Penn State’s Campus Sustainability Office; Susannah Barsom, associate director of the Center for Sustainability; and Sarma Pisupati, associate professor of energy and mineral engineering and program officer of energy engineering. The speakers covered a wide variety of topics, ranging from what Penn State is doing to “green” its operations, to the importance of choosing programs of study with an energy and environmental focus. In the afternoon, a panel consisting of individuals who have chosen “green” career paths discussed the challenges and rewards of their choices, and how current college students can follow in their footsteps. Brandi Robinson, adviser for the B.A. degree in energy and sustainability policy, was a member of the panel, along with Penn State graduates Eric Sauder (’07 B.S. Mechanical Engineering and ‘09 M.S. Architectural Engineering) and

Sarah Klinetob (’07 B.S. Engineering Science and German and ’09 M.S. Architectural Engineering). Other panel members included Courtney Hayden, an Environmental Americorps volunteer in the Borough of State College, and Crickett Hunter, the director of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light. To break up the day, lunch was provided and various student and local organizations with an energy and environmental focus were invited to participate in a networking and information-sharing session. The Focus the Nation clean energy forum demonstrated the interest in environmental and sustainability-related issues among students in the John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering, and a desire to further the sustainable accomplishments of the department, university, and surrounding community. Although Hidy and Pancza both will be graduating in May, they hope that the Energy Club and students within the department will continue to work with Focus the Nation to plan annual clean energy forums in the future.

Alexis places second at the 2011 Eastern Regional SPE Student Paper Contest

Students from the Penn State Chapter of the Society of Petroleum Engineers participated in Engineer’s Week at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA. There, the Penn State team engaged its young audience with a myriad of activities, samples, and games. The February event is designed to inspire adolescents to explore engineering.

Dennis Arun Alexis earned second place in the master’s division of the 2011 Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Rocky Mountain/Mid-Continent/ Eastern Region Student Paper/Presentation competition on April 16 at the University of Kansas. Alexis, a Ph.D. student in petroleum and natural gas engineering, was given the honor for his presentation, “Assessment of Deliverability of a Natural Gas Gathering and Production System: Development of an Integrated Reservoir - Surface Model.” The purpose of the SPE student paper contests is to give students at the undergraduate, master’s, and doctorate level the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and research in the field of petroleum engineering. Students compete with their peers from other universities within the same region in one of the nine SPE regional contests held each year. Connection


Student Voice Michael B. Cronin, a B.S. student with dual majors in geosciences and petroleum and natural gas engineering, has been named the 2011 recipient of the Eric A. Walker Award. The award is presented annually to the student who has contributed most to enhancing the reputation of the University through extracurricular activities. Cronin also was honored at the spring 2011 commencement ceremony as the Engineering Honor Graduate—the highest achieving College of Earth and Mineral Sciences graduate in an engineering discipline. Ehsan Alavi Gharahbagh, Ph.D. candidate in mining and mineral process engineering, has been selected as the 2011 recipient of the Underground Construction Association of the Society of Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration Engineers (UCA of SME) Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded annually to “promising college students who desire to develop their skills in tunneling and underground mining.” Gregory Lilik, Ph.D. candidate in fuel science, was accepted to participate in Sandia’s Summer Institute: Technology and Policy Tools for Energy in an Uncertain World in the technical area of “Measurement Uncertainty with Imaging Detectors – Focus on Optical Engine Diagnostics.” Taking place in August in California, this is a “new cross-discipline week-long research program for top graduate students from the nation’s premier universities,” according to the Institute website. Lilik will be one of twenty select graduate students [who] “will collaborate in small teams, working side-by-side with leading scientists from Sandia.”

Drew Mason, B.S. student in mining engineering, has been selected by the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME) as a recipient of the 2010-2011 Coal & Energy Division Scholarship. Mason received the award at the Annual SME Meeting and Exhibit in February. The SME Coal & Energy Division has been awarding scholarships since 1950 to deserving students who have chosen as a career path the field of mining engineering with an emphasis on coal. Mason also was awarded the 2010 Syd S. Peng Ground Control in Mining Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded annually to graduate and undergraduate students to encourage the development of ground control engineers. Angela Moyer, a B.S. student with dual majors in mining engineering and civil engineering, was awarded the 2010 Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME) Environmental Division scholarship. The scholarship is awarded by the Environmental Division of SME to promising college students who desire to develop their skills related to mining and the environment. Mark Rotz, B.S. student in mining engineering, was awarded the 2010 Industrial Minerals & Aggregates Division Gerald V. Henderson Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded by the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME) Industrial Minerals & Aggregates Division to promising college students who desire to develop their skills in industrial minerals.

EME students take honors in Earth and Mineral Sciences paper competition Thomas Rauch, B.S. student in mining engineering and energy business and finance, won first place at the annual Grundy Haven paper competition for his paper, “China’s Conundrum: Coal Mine Safety.” The aim of the paper competition is to foster excellence in communicating science to the public. In the spring of 2010, Thomas traveled to China and, as he described it, was a “young man in search of world citizenship.” His observations of the Chinese mining industry led him to compare three types of mines in China and why their fatality rates differed. He wrote this paper because he wanted to reflect on his time in Asia and relate it to his studies. “This competition is relevant to my career. I’ll be writing reports and investigating issues, particularly using statistics to evaluate situations in engineering and business.” Also receiving recognition was Lindsay Kromel, B.S. student in environmental systems engineering, who was given an honorable mention for her paper, “Marcellus Shale Flowback Water: It’s Not Just About Gas.” She worked with her faculty sponsor, Dr. Kamini Singha, who helped put her in touch with experts in the field. For example, she interviewed Dave Yoxtheimer, an expert hydrologist for the Marcellus Shale, and she gained a much better understanding of the issues involved in hydraulic fracturing. “Overall this experience has taught me to pursue my curiosity,” she said. “I feel like I’m now able to com14

Lindsay Kromel

Thomas Rauch

municate in a way that invites multiple audiences, which is necessary to make people care about my work as a scientist.” The William Grundy Haven Awards were established in 1950 in memory of a Penn State geology student who was killed in action during World War II. To enter the contest, students must submit an original paper based on a topic related to one of the majors represented in the EMS College.

Battling frigid temperatures and the occasional snow shower, the Penn State mucking team took 11th place overall in the 33rd International Intercollegiate Mining Competition. Held on March 18-19 at the University of Nevada in Reno, NV, the contest challenged contestants to complete eight different events that closely resemble the mining techniques of the Old West. A total of 33 teams from 15 different universities participated with the men’s division, in which the Penn State team competed, consisting of 20 teams. Members of the Penn State team included mining engineering students Caleb Day, Evan Garfield, Drew Mason, Ryan Mauser, Thomas Rauch, and Frank Wallace. Highlights for Penn State included a third place finish in the surveying event, in which students must report coordinates using an old-fashioned vernier transit, a plumb bob, and a 50-meter steel tape. In addition, Frank Wallace took first place in the individual Swede saw competition, in which contestants saw through a six inch by six inch piece of pine with a bow saw.

Mining Engineering students muck about Penn State Mine Rescue Team excels at competitions Building off their experience in the fall, the Penn State Mine Rescue Team has kept very busy this spring, competing in two different mine rescue contests at opposite ends of the country. In February, the team, including mining engineering students Robert Burns, Patrick D’Elia, Evan Garfield, Benjamin Klein, Drew Mason, Ryan Mauser, and Thomas Rauch, traveled to Idaho Springs, CO, to compete in the first Biennial Collegiate Mine Emergency Response Development Exercise (MERD). The group was accompanied by their adviser, R. Larry Grayson, professor of energy and mineral engineering, and their newly appointed mentor, Ed Zeglen of Alpha Natural Resources. Hosted by the Colorado School of Mines, this was the first mine rescue contest held

exclusively for collegiate mine rescue teams. In addition to Penn State, teams from the University of Arizona, University of British Columbia, and the Colorado School of Mines participated in the event. The competition took place over the course of two and a half days at the Edgar Mine, where teams were put through the MERD and a skills contest. Penn State placed first overall in the skills competition, an event in which teams were evaluated on their abilities with patient extraction, live firefighting, rope rescue, smoke exploration, and confined space race. During the MERD, teams were rotated through four positions that would have to be filled during a real mine rescue event. Although the contest was being scored on individual performance, all teams worked together to try to solve the

problem and save as many miners as possible. The Penn State team was first up to work the underground position. They encountered heavy smoke, fought a fire, and rescued two injured miners located in an extremely confined space. “Throughout the day everyone had a great time and we all learned a lot,” said team member Drew Mason. Two months later, the Penn State team headed to Ruff Creek, PA, to compete with 12 other Division 1 industry teams in the Pennsylvania Mine Rescue Skills Competition, held at the Mine Training and Technology Center. Penn State finished in fourth place overall. The contest lasted a full day; testing the team on the regular mine rescue problem as well as other mine rescue activities. The team had to put on their BG-4s five separate times while being tested on smoke exploration, first aid, firefighting techniques, as well as their knowledge on mine rescue rules, gas detectors, and apparatuses. Carried by the outstanding performances of every team member, Penn State took first place on the written test, first aid, and gas detection events. “The team really came together this semester and made some huge progress,” Mason said. “I’m sure the team members that will be back next year will only get better and better.” Connection


An Opportunity To Give

The John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering EME Undergraduate Education Funds To make a gift, please complete and return this form with a check made payable to: The Pennsylvania State University EME Undergraduate Education Funds 116 Hosler Building University Park, PA 16802 Name: _______________________________________ Address: _____________________________________ ____________________________________________ Phone: ______________________________________

I would like to support EME with my gift of:

□ $50.00 □ $100.00 □ $250.00 □ Other: _____________ Please use my gift for the following area of need:

□ □ □ □

Incoming Student Incentive Scholarship Fund Departmental Undergraduate Scholarship Fund Undergraduate Travel Fund Teaching Laboratories Upgrade Fund

Email: _______________________________________


John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering College of Earth and Mineral Sciences The Pennsylvania State University 110 Hosler Building University Park, PA 16802 Phone: (814) 865-3437


Penn State EME Connection Newsletter, Summer 2011  

Penn State Energy and Mineral Engineering Newsletter

Penn State EME Connection Newsletter, Summer 2011  

Penn State Energy and Mineral Engineering Newsletter