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Fall/Winter 2009



EME Students Compete to See Who Can Capture the Best Photos of Energy and Minerals in Action Winning Entries Inside... PLUS t

Meet our new department faculty


Travel across the globe with students on their study abroad experiences


Take a tour through the Natural Fusion solar house


Read all the latest news about our programs

And more...

Bingham Canyon Copper Mine in Utah photo credit: Mark Rotz, B.S. student in mining engineering

New Faces...................................3 Alumni and Friends Update.......4 EME Education...........................6 Program Updates.......................8 Faculty News............................12 Student Voice............................14

From The Department Head Dear Alumni and Friends, There is no doubt about it; energy is one of the hottest topics of today. Whether you reside in this country or live across the globe in Europe, Asia, South America, or Africa, everybody is talking about energy: how to find it, produce it, and use it in an affordable and environmentally-responsible manner. And it is a topic that has caught the attention of our youth in a big way, as a five-year snapshot of our enrollment numbers lays bare for all to see. In the fall of 2004 we had a total of 160 undergraduate students in our programs. This fall that number reached 778, continuing to make us second to none in undergraduate enrollment amongst all the departments in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. Our graduate student enrollment also has been on the rise during this same timeframe. In the fall of 2004 we had 88 graduate students, and this fall we are up to 135. Of particular importance in analyzing all of these numbers is the fact that every single program has seen meaningful enrollment gains. After taking off like a shot from the very beginning, the newer programs in Energy, Business and Finance (EBF) and Energy Engineering (ENENG) continue to be very popular with incoming freshman and current students seeking to dual major. At the same time, our legacy programs in Environmental Systems Sngineering (ENVSE), mining engineering (MNGE), and Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering (PNGE) have steadily acquired more and more entrants with each new semester. You’ll be able to read more about each program’s enrollment numbers in the program officers’ updates, starting on page 8. These past few months have been filled with more good news for the department. As expected, our undergraduate ENVSE, MNGE, and PNGE programs received full accreditation from the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. The reviewers, who visited the department in October 2008, issued their final report in July. It is our intention to seek full accreditation for the ENENG program in the near future. Connection is a publication of the Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences at Penn State. Submissions for future issues are welcome and can be sent to: Connection Newsletter 116 Hosler Building Penn State University University Park, PA 16802-5000 or by e-mail to: Editorial Director: Yaw Yeboah, Editor: Rachel Altemus, Writer/Designer: Anna Morrison, U.Ed. EMS 10-86 This publication is available in alternative media on request. Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity, and the diversity of its workforce. 2

I am also pleased to report that we have had several new faculty members arrive in time for the fall semester. Assistant Professors R.J. Briggs and Zhen Lei come to Penn State with impressive backgrounds in the area of energy and environmental economics, which will enhance our EBF curriculum. Assistant Professors Li Li and John Yilin Wang bring with them formidable expertise in petroleum and natural gas engineering, which will add strength to our already stellar faculty who teach in the PNGE program. Rounding out the group is Associate Professor Antonio Nieto, who brings extensive experience in mining engineering to the department. You can learn more about these new recruits on the next page. And stay tuned for more introductions in future newsletters. The department is still looking to fill a senior level faculty position in petroleum and natural gas engineering and a junior level position in quantitative analysis of energy risk. We also just opened a new search for a junior position in environmental health and safety engineering to fill a recent vacancy. If you know of anyone you think might be a good match for any of these openings, please drop us a line. We have some other great stories for you in this edition. I am especially proud of the ingenuity of our students in finding new and unique ways to put their studies to practice. On page 7 you will read about two such students who traveled halfway across the world to gain first-hand engineering design experience. Along with sharpening their critical thinking and analytical skills, these types of activities give our students the opportunity to learn about other cultures and to work hand-in-hand with peers from other countries. You also will read about the final leg of Penn State’s entry in the 2009 Solar Decathlon competition. The two year journey came to an end in mid-October with the competition finale on the National Mall in Washington D.C. We are very proud of our students on the Natural Fusion team and the leadership provided by its faculty director, our very own Assistant Professor Jeffrey R. S. Brownson. A full recap of events is on page 6. Before I close, I would like to say a word or two about a topic that has been on all of our minds whether we are in industry, government, or academia. As is the case with many other institutions, the current economic situation has affected in one way or the other all academic units at Penn State. In spite of the economic challenges, we in EME are committed to continuing to provide the best education to the next generation of future engineers and analysts to address the global energy problems. For this reason, we continue to recruit new faculty, seek scholarships for students, and plan to upgrade our educational labs. We look forward to your support in these efforts. The enthusiasm and commitment of our faculty, staff and students as exemplified in the stories in this issue of the Connection is a reflection of how energized we are about the global energy challenges.

Yaw D. Yeboah, EME Department Head

New Faces EME welcomes new faculty to the department Li Li joined the department at the beginning of the fall semester as an Assistant Professor of Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering. She holds a B.S. and M.S. in Environmental Chemistry from Nanjing University (P. R. China) and a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from Princeton University. She has worked as a postdoctoral student and later as a research scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Since our last newsletter in June, EME has welcomed five new faculty members to the department, including two in energy and environmental economics, one in mining engineering, and two in petroleum and natural gas engineering.

R.J. Briggs

Assistant Professor Energy and Environmental Economics 123 Hosler Building University Park, PA 16802-5000 814-863-1640 (Voice) 814-865-3248 (Fax) R.J. Briggs is an Assistant Professor of Energy and Environmental Economics. He joined the department at the beginning of the fall semester after completing his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Texas at Austin. His current research focuses on normative environmental policy questions, the health effects of indoor and outdoor air pollution, and empirical investigations of optimal resource use models. R. J. will be teaching Energy Business and Finance-related courses. For a full biographical profile, please see the Energy Business and Finance program update on page 8.

Li Li will be teaching courses in petroleum extraction, reservoir analysis and secondary recovery, and applied reservoir engineering.

Antonio Nieto

Associate Professor Mining Engineering 122 Hosler Building University Park, PA 16802-5000 814-863-1620 (Voice) 814-865-3248 (Fax)

Zhen Lei

Assistant Professor Energy and Environmental Economics 125 Hosler Building University Park, PA 16802-5000 814-863-0810 (Voice) 814-865-3248 (Fax) Zhen Lei is an Assistant Professor of Energy and Environmental Economics. He joined the department in July after receiving his Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of California, Berkeley in May. His research interests include technology innovation, intellectual property rights and entrepreneurship, energy and environmental economics, industrial organization, and science and technology policy. Zhen will be teaching Energy Business and Finance-related courses. For a full biographical profile, please see the Energy Business and Finance program update on page 8.

Li Li

Assistant Professor Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering 108 Hosler Building University Park, PA 16802-5000 814-867-3547 (Voice) 814-865-3248 (Fax) Connection

Li Li has an interdisciplinary background combining areas of multiphase flow and transport (relevant to petroleum engineering), environmental engineering, and geochemistry. Her unique background has enabled her to study the complex interactions between physical and (bio)geochemical processes in natural subsurface systems. Her current research focuses on understanding reactive transport processes relevant to geological CO2 sequestration, microbially enhanced oil recovery (meor), and bioremediation of radionuclide-contaminated sites. She uses both numerical models and experiments to understand the coupling between multi-phase flow and reaction processes at different spatial scales and how the characteristics of natural systems affect system dynamics, especially as they apply to reservoirs.

Antonio Nieto joined the department in July as an Associate Professor of Mining Engineering. Prior to his current position, he worked as an Assistant Professor at Virginia Tech and worked in the mining industry as a mine foreman, superintendent, and mine manager in both underground and surface mines. His research focuses on mining operations and information technology, specifically in the areas of ore spatial characterization and real-time sensing systems in mining operations. Antonio holds an M.S. in Mining Engineering from Colorado School of Mines, an M.S. in Geo-Spatial Characterization from Paris Tech, and a Ph.D. in Earth Systems from the Colorado School of Mines. He continues to work on Earth Systems Information Technology Research and Innovative Engineering Technologies for Deep Sea Mining of Hydrates. Antonio will teach several mining engineering-related courses on topics such as mine systems, mineral property evaluation, and mining operations. He also will be teaching, among other courses, geo-resource evaluation, reserve and engineering evaluation, and geo-spatial statistics and characterizations. Continued on page 5 3

Alumni and Friends EME alumni and friends shine at Obelisk Society award ceremony G. David Golder (’69, B.S. Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering) and James and JoAnne Arnone (’69, B.S. Industrial Engineering and ’69, B.S. Arts and Architecture) received top honors at the annual College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Obelisk Society Dinner and Awards Ceremony on Friday, September 18, 2009. The Obelisk Society is an organization open to all alumni and friends who have made extraordinary contributions to, and in support of, the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. Mr. Golder was presented with the 2009 Graduates of Earth and Mineral Sciences (GEMS) Alumni Achievement Award. The award is given in recognition of outstanding achievement by College alumni. Mr. Golder is currently President of David Golder Consulting, LLC, and he has been Non-Executive Chairman of PetroNeft Resources, an international oil and gas exploration and production company developing hydrocarbon acreage in Russia, since 2005. He is also Chairman of the Remuneration Committee and a member of the Audit Committee at PetroNeft. Dean Bill Easterling (left) and GEMS Alumni Achievement He has over 38 years Award recipient G. David Golder (right) experience in the petroleum industry and was formerly Senior Vice President of Commercialization and Development at Marathon Oil Company. He is a former member of the GEMS Board of Directors in the

College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, and he is a current member of the College’s Development Committee. Also during the ceremony, James and JoAnne Arnone were James and JoAnne Arnone received an presented Honorary GEMS Membership for their outstanding service with an to the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Honorary GEMS Membership Award for their outstanding service to the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. The Arnones are lifetime members of the Obelisk Society and sponsor the James T. and JoAnne Ternyik Arnone Scholarship in Mineral Engineering. Established in 1994, this scholarship provides financial support to undergraduate students enrolled in the mining engineering degree program. James Arnone is currently the President of Molte Dolce, LLC. In addition, James (’79, B.S. Mining Engineering) and Coral Bryja and Joseph (’80, B.S. Mining Engineering) and Kathryn Gallo, Jr. were recognized as new members of the Obelisk Society. Mr. Bryja is currently Senior Vice President of Operations at Alpha Natural Resources, and Mr. Gallo is the Vice President for Deep Mine Operations at PBS Coals, Inc.

Back Story: The Obelisk The Obelisk Society is named for the Penn State Obelisk, one of the oldest and most well known landmarks on the University Park campus. Sitting along the Allen Street Mall adjacent to Old Main, the Obelisk was constructed in 1896, exactly the same year the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (formerly the School of Mines) came into existence. It stands 32.7 feet high, weighs 53.4 tons, and contains 281 stones from 139 different locations (mostly in Pennsylvania). The stones are arranged in natural geological order with the oldest rocks at the bottom and the youngest at the top. Interestingly enough, the idea for the Obelisk came about after the College had been receiving a large number of requests for information about different types of stones. As reported at the time in The Mining Bulletin: “The numerous enquiries which this Department has been receiving regarding the nature, durability or appearance of certain specified stones, or concerning


the identification of a specimen, have impelled the authorities of the College to attempt the erection of an obelisk out of the representative building stones of the Commonwealth, and thus to furnish in a substantial form an attractive compendium of information for quarrymen, architects, students, and visitors.” Construction was overseen by Magnus C. Ihlseng, the first dean of the School of Mines, who considered the “pile of rocks” to be the “greatest single expenditure for the year” of the college – costing $708.09 (that would be roughly $18,000 in 2009). Once constructed, the Obelisk supported research on the durability and characteristics of building stone, displayed the various stones for builders and architects to examine and, since the stones were arranged in geological sequence, aided instruction in Earth Sciences. Today, the Obelisk is a symbol of the society that honors the generoisty of major contributors to the College.

New Faculty...

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John Yilin Wang

Assistant Professor Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering 202 Hosler Building University Park, PA 16802-5000 814-865-8474 (Voice) 814-865-3248 (Fax) Yilin Wang is an Assistant Professor of Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering. Previously he was a petroleum reservoir engineer with a U.S. independent producer in Shreveport, Louisiana, where his work focused on reservoir evaluation, stimulation recommendation, and development of new fracturing technologies for the company’s oil and gas fields in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Prior to this, he worked as a petroleum engineering consultant from 2004—2007 while he was a doctoral student. Dr. Wang received a B.Sc. from the University of Petroleum of China (2003), an M.Sc. from the University of Houston (2004), and a Ph.D. from Texas A&M University (2008), all in petroleum engineering. His teaching and research interests include reservoir evaluation, hydraulic fracturing, and development of unconventional resources (ultra-tight gas, shale gas, coalbed methane, shale oil, geothermal, etc). He currently is working to build an active lab and effective industry/ academia/government consortium, 3S Laboratory, for petroleum research in reservoir simulation, stimulation, and strategy.

We want to hear from you! If you have a piece of news or update to share with your fellow alumni in the next newsletter, let us know at

Upcoming Alumni Receptions Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME) Annual Meeting Feb. 28-March 3, 2010, Phoenix, AZ Reception to be held Tuesday, March 2, from 5:30 to 7:00 PM at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown

In Memoriam Dr. Badr G. Ateya (’72 Ph.D. Fuel Science) of Kuwait died in July 2009 from pancreatic cancer. He was a Professor of Physical Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry at Kuwait University, where his research interests included localized corrosion, dealloying, corrosion inhibitors, hydrogen embrittlement, stress corrosion cracking, corrosion in polluted media, water treatment, electrode kinetics and mathematical modeling. Under the direction of Leonard G. Austin, professor emeritus of fuels and mineral engineering, Dr. Ateya earned his Ph.D. in Fuel Science (on the behavior of porous fuel cell electrodes) from The Pennsylvania State University in 1972. He earned his M.S. degree in 1975 and B.S. degree in 1965 from Cairo University. After receiving his doctorate, Dr. Ateya conducted postdoctoral studies in the areas of fuel science and metallurgy, working especially with Professor Howard Carter on corrosion and other electrochemical phenomena. He then took a position as an Associate Professor of Physical Chemistry at Cairo University, later becoming a Professor of Physical Chemistry. Dr. Ateya organized and participated in some 40 workshops and conferences, supervised 35 M.Sc. and Ph.D. theses, and published more than 100 technical papers in peer reviewed journals. He received several awards for his work, including a Doctor of Science degree from London University.


Samuel Williams Llewellyn (‘54 B.S., M.S. Mining Engineering) formerly of Tellico Village passed away June 13 at Asbury Methodist Village, Gaithersburg, MD of complications resulting from pancreatic cancer. Sam was born in Summit Hill, PA in 1923, the youngest of eight children. He attended public high school and before obtaining his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Mining Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University in 1954, Sam served as a pre-flight inspector and aerial gunner trainer in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Sam married his kindergarten sweetheart, Eleanor Nicholls in 1947. While building his career in the mining industry, the couple lived in several cities including Carlsbad, NM, Denver, CO, and La Habra, CA, before settling in Knoxville in 1963. Sam retired from Atlas Powder Company after 34 years of service in 1989. In 1992, Coal People magazine featured Mr. Llewellyn on their cover and considered him to be “one of the most recognized and respected explosive engineers in the field.” In his personal life, Sam enjoyed his time as a part-time actor in the Tellico Village Players Club, writing his memoirs, and telling jokes. Lots and lots of jokes.

EME students and faculty at the 2009 SME Annual Meeting and Exhibition Connection

A devoted husband to Eleanor until her death in 2002, Sam is survived by his son and daughter-in-law JohnR Llewellyn and Christine Scott, his only grandson Andrew Scott, sisters Doris Wenzel and Martha Winnbeck, several nieces and nephews, and many, many friends. 5

EME Education Natural Fusion competes in Solar Decathlon After two years of planning, designing, and building their solar powered house, the Penn State Solar Decathlon team finally got to show off the finished product this past October on the National Mall in Washington D.C. From October 8-16, Penn State competed with 19 other universities from across the world in the 2009 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. A biennial event, the Decathlon pits 20 different teams against one another to see who can build the most attractive and energy efficient solar house. The first and longest phase of the challenge is each team’s effort to design and build their dwelling, a process that includes raising funds, collecting supplies, and working with industry partners. Come competition time, each team has to disassemble and ship their house from their university location to the National Mall. Once there, they have exactly ten days to rebuild the structure in time for a series of ten contests including net metering, architecture, market viability, engineering, comfort zone, hot water, appliances, home entertainment, lighting design, and communications. The team with the highest total score wins. For the second time in a row, that honor went to Team Germany, who stayed with the pack of frontrunners for much of the competition before reaching the celebrated top spot in the final stretch. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign came in second while Team California took third place. With many placements just a few points apart, Penn State’s dwelling, dubbed Natural Fusion, finished up at number 16 overall but made a strong showing in several individual contests including engineering (3rd place), lighting design (3rd place), and communications (7th place).

The Natural Fusion home includes a comfortable living room equipped with the latest in entertainment technology (left), a living green wall used

Although the team hoped for a higher placement, the enthusiastic response of the general public more than made up for it. “People were definitely impressed and excited to try some of the aspects that are showcased in the house,” Lucas Witmer, M.S. candidate in energy and mineral engineering and Natural Fusion’s energy modeling project manager, explained. Some of those features include new technology called a Green Roof Integrated Photovoltaic (PV) system that uses plants to reduce heat on the roof, a cylindrical thin-film PV material designed to maximize sunlight collection throughout the day, and a water bladder system embedded in the floor that acts as thermal mass. To keep with the “green” theme, the house utilized as many natural and recycled materials as possible including sustainably harvested lumber, reclaimed chalkboards and hardwood flooring, bio-based foams, and paint containing no volatile organic chemicals. For the Penn State team, the major appeal of the Natural Fusion home is its mixture of advanced technology and down-to-earth design. “It is a home for the masses while remaining on the cutting edge of residential energy efficiency,” Witmer said. “While being a prototype home with very unique but tangible features, this home feels like a regular home when you walk into it. It’s not a space age “Jetson’s” home; it is a home for the average American.” Led by faculty director Jeffrey R. S. Brownson, assistant professor of energy and mineral engineering, the Penn State Solar Decathlon team consisted of 92 students from several colleges across the university, including many participants from the Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering’s programs in energy engineering, environmental

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for growing herbs and spices for cooking (middle), and a one-ofa-kind bedroom (right) complete with floor boards made out of reclaimed chalkboards.

Natural Fusion Solar House

Photo Credits: U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon


And away they go...EME students find study opportunities abroad While many of her peers were able to give a collective sigh of relief at the end of spring classes and the arrival of summer, the hard work was just beginning for Monica Virga, B.S. student in petroleum and natural gas engineering. As part of the “Design for Developing Communities” course offered by the College of Engineering at Penn State, Virga traveled with 14 other Penn State students to Nyeri, Kenya in May and June to aid in the development of an Eco-Village for orphaned and homeless youth. The class was tasked with designing and building prototypes of affordable technologies in agriculture, water collection and purification, renewable energy generation, and housing construction that would help make the village self-sustainable. Adding an extra twist to the challenge was the stipulation that the prototypes be built from natural resources found in the local region. The Eco-Village project is a collaboration between Penn State, the Jomo Kenyatta Agricultural University, and the Children and Youth Empowerment Center (CYEC) of Nyeri, an organization that seeks to find solutions to the rising population of homeless youth in Kenya. With over 300,000 homeless children in the country and a national unemployment rate of nearly 40%, the Eco-Village is being designed to house as many displaced youths as possible and to serve as a training center for the local farming community.

the African nation, they then split into teams to each design one feature for the Eco-Village. “My specific role was to create an ecofriendly, affordable way to give the village clean drinking water with materials available to them in Kenya,” Virga explained. “I worked with three other students to make a prototype of a slow sand filter and plans for a rain catchment system.” By semester’s end, it was time to fly to Kenya to turn their designs into the real thing. “We spent three weeks interacting with the children, teaching the older ones how our designs worked, and building all of our designs with the help of the older children and staff,” Virga said. “We faced many challenges, ranging from problems with obtaining materials to working under conditions none of us were familiar with.” Troubles aside, the group managed to successfully build a high tunnel (greenhouse), a drip irrigation system, a small-scale biodiesel plant, a bicycle-powered electricity generator, a system to collect and store roof runoff, a biological slow sand filter to purify and re-use waste water, a merry-go-round pumping system, and a rammed-earth structure, according to the CYEC web site. These prototypes will be used as demonstration pieces that will eventually be built to scale for the first complete Eco-Village.

As the project continues, the plan is to expand the Eco-Village and replicate its design for subsequent villages across the country. It’s a vision that Virga is Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering student proud to have taken part in. “From To prepare themselves for Monica Virga works with children from the Children and Youth this experience, I gained life time the job at hand, Virga and Empowerment Center (CYEC) to build an Eco-Village in Nyeri, Kenya her classmates spent the spring 2009 friendships with the children from semester at University Park, PA learning about the cultural, social, the orphanage. It was a worthwhile experience to be building a design economical, and technical background of Kenya. Once armed with in such different circumstances, and it felt good to be doing it for the information about the working conditions they would encounter in good of others.” In June, Frank Wallace, B.S. student in mining engineering, traveled to Singapore to participate in a unique summer study abroad design course offered by the College of Engineering at Penn State. Held in conjunction with the National University of Singapore, the “Global Product Design and Development” course is an intense two-week program of lectures, group projects, and field trips that challenges students to design a viable global device that can meet the needs of a specific consumer market. By designing an original product of their own, students gain first-hand experience with having to analyze and troubleshoot through the entire engineering design process from start to finish. To get things started, the class is broken up into multi-national design teams made of students from all participating universities. Each group Connection

then decides what type of product to design. “My group chose to develop a product to assist the mobility of elderly persons,” Wallace explained. “Our design was entitled BLOON, and it is a conceptual design of a seating assistant.” Made up of an air bag, a compressor, and an accumulator, the BLOON is built to help the elderly with limited mobility get in and out of chairs. Using design concepts taught in the course, Wallace’s team devised a mechanism that fills with air to lift a person out of a chair, and can be decompressed to ease a person back down into the The BLOON seat. Such a device would be placed inside the seat of existing furniture. To finish the project, the team also issued a final report outlining the materials to be used for the product, a list of benefits and potential pitfalls of their design, and a cost comparison with competing products on the market. 7

Program Updates Energy Business and Finance (EBF) by Andrew N. Kleit, Professor of Energy and Environmental Economics The Energy Business and Finance program continues to grow and flourish. Our enrollment now stands at 356 students – by far the largest undergraduate program in the college. Our student society is very active, and looking for ways to connect with program alumni and graduates of the Mineral Economics program. One way they continue to do so is through the alumni speaker visits to our capstone design course on strategic corporate finance (as pictured to the right). We are also moving toward integrating our curriculum with our engineering colleagues. A number of students have chosen the EBF option in Energy Systems to gain a background in Energy Engineering. We are seeing an increasing number of students who want to double major in EBF and either Energy Engineering or Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering. We have listed a number of EME engineering courses as advanced EBF electives. Finally, the Faculty Senate has approved our proposal to require a second class in calculus for EBF students. This will enable them to gain further exposure to engineering classes.

Economics from the University of Texas at Austin, with fields in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics and Public Economics. During his doctoral studies, he also studied Indoor Air Quality as an NSF-IGERT trainee in Indoor Environmental Science and Engineering.

Other big news for EBF is the addition of two new faculty members this fall. Both R.J. Briggs and Zhen Lei have been brought on board as Assistant Professors of Energy and Environmental Economics. Dr. Briggs is a northern California native who has pursued interdisciplinary interests throughout his career. He holds a dual Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Economics from the University of California, Davis. Prior to his doctoral studies, he worked as a Research Programmer for the RAND Corporation. Dr. Briggs earned his Ph. D. in

Dr. Lei graduated from the University of California, Berkeley last May, with a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics. He also has a second Ph.D. in Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Presently, he undertakes research on patent evaluation in the context of international patenting and patent litigation, technology innovation and technology transfer in addressing energy and climate change issues, economics of electricity markets, and energy and environmental issues related to China.

Recent guest lecturer, Thomas McManness (‘79 B.S. Mineral Economics), senior petroleum economist for Marathon Oil Company, is pictured here with Dean Bunnell (left), course instructor, and Yaw D. Yeboah (right), head of the Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering.

Energy Engineering (ENENG) by Sarma Pisupati, Associate Professor of Energy and Mineral Engineering and John T. Ryan Faculty Fellow I am very delighted to give you an update about the Energy Engineering program in the department. Time really flies. The program is growing and taking a great shape from several fronts. Since I last reported, the enrollment has doubled again to 136 students. The first batch of ENENG students will graduate in May of 2010. Preparations for the ABET accreditation process have started and materials are being put together to be submitted for next year’s ABET visit. The industrial and professional advisory committee (IPAC) met this year in April, reviewed the program curriculum, and gave a very positive outlook for the program. Thanks again to the committee members: Dr. Dusty Davis (United Technologies Research Corporation), Jim Dickinson (Babcock and Wilcox Power Generation Group), and Dr. Rashid Khan (KAUST).

Dani Pertucci, B.S. student in energy engineering, measures coal viscosity at the EMS Energy Institute 8

This year, Penn State has established a Presidential Leadership Academy for outstanding students. The academy is structured to develop critical thinking

skills and have participating students apply those skills to decisions on complex public policy, societal, and global issues that they may encounter in coming years as leaders in business, industry, government, and communities. The University has selected 30 students to this inaugural class. I am glad to report that three of the 30 students selected are from the ENENG program. This past summer, two students completed internships at the Department of Energy and two other students have completed internships at international companies abroad. Several students have actively participated in the 2009 Solar Decathlon, an international solar design competition organized by the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington D.C. The Society for Energy Engineers (SEE), a professional student organization, is being launched this fall. The students have elected the first executive board and are setting the agenda for this academic year. The program curriculum is continuously improving to train and produce “World Class” Energy Engineers. To provide good depth and do justice, EGEE 437 - “Fundamentals of Renewable Energy” was changed to “Design of Solar Conversion Systems.” With this modification, biomass now will be concentrated more in FSc 431 - “Chemistry of Fuels,” and EGEE 451 - “Energy Conversion Processes.”

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Adam Conti, B.S. student in environmental systems engineering, evaluates the groundwater at Fort Meade in Laurel, MD. Working for URS in conjunction with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer, Adam was tasked with measuring the groundwater’s intrinsic parameter in July 2009 as part of an environmental contamination assessment of Fort Meade

Environmental Systems Engineering (ENVSE) by Mku Thaddeus Ityokumbul, Associate Professor of Mineral Processing and Geo-Environmental Engineering The Industrial Health and Safety (IHS) program now has been integrated into the ENVSE program as an option. This change was effective summer 2009. With this development, our students will receive a B.S. degree in Environmental Systems Engineering with an option in either Environmental Systems Engineering (ENVSE) or Environmental Health and Safety Engineering (EHSE). We are developing an advertisement in the Daily Collegian newspaper to highlight the EHSE option. Our enrollment is holding steady at 90 – 100 students and we continue to graduate, on average, 20 – 25 students every year. The success of our students is due in part to the quality laboratory experience where they put into practice the theory that is covered in class. We are currently evaluating plans for modernizing our teaching laboratories. As part of these efforts, we have recently acquired the following equipment for use in our teaching laboratories: Shimadzu TOC – V series, Microtrac S3500 particle size analyzer and Micromeritics ASAP 2020 for surface area measurements. Friends of the program are encouraged to donate generously to this fund when possible. The final outcome for the last ABET visit was full accreditation. In preparing for the ABET visit, we received tremendous support from our various constituencies (alumni, IPAC, students and program faculty). Aaron Pontzer, an IPAC member, was able to come to University Park to meet with the visitor in person and talk about the program. While Dr. Suren Mishra and Mr. Larry Goodheart, our IPAC Chair and Vice Chair respectively, were not able to come to campus during the ABET visit, the visitor interacted with them by Connection

phone and their input was most helpful. We look forward to working with our various constituencies as we seek to build on our past success. The undergraduate student Society of Environmental Systems Engineers (SESE) continues to meet on a monthly basis to provide a forum for the students to discuss program-related issues and to interact with speakers from industry and the government. Recent speakers, who also happened to be program graduates, included representatives from L.R. Kimball and Chevron. Another department graduate, who is with McLanahan Corporation, will be speaking at the next meeting. Society activities have been in part supported by donations from Chevron. The SESE has created an internal web site to disseminate information to the ENVSE students such as job postings, upcoming career fairs and info sessions, scholarship information, and active links to company web sites. Information on the web site is kept current by the officers. They have also organized a committee, who will be preparing posters based on different ENVSE capstone design projects. These posters will showcase the process design skills of our students, while demonstrating the practical applications of the major. The posters will be on display at next year’s college-wide open house (EMEX 2010), which serves as a key recruiting vehicle for the program. While the university continues to feel the impact of the global economic recession, we are pleased to note that a faculty search is currently underway to replace Dr. Joel Haight who left for CDC/ NIOSH at the end of last academic year. We are hopeful that this position will be filled before the start of the next academic year. 9

Program Updates

Several mining engineering students visited the Federal No. 2 Mine, run by Patriot Coal, in April 2009

Mining Engineering (MNGE) by R. Larry Grayson, Professor of Energy and Mineral Engineering and George H., Jr., and Anne B. Deike Chair in Mining Engineering As of November 9, 2009, program enrollment is at 46 with two other students pending transfer. This represents a doubling of enrollment since the fall 2007 semester. Two students will graduate in December 2009, while six more will graduate in May 2010. The ABET visit is complete now, and the program received full accreditation. The first offering of the structural geology course for our students was done in the fall 2009 semester. The ‘mucking’ students competed in their second International Intercollegiate Mining (Mucking) Competition in Butte, MT, last spring. They met their promise of not coming in last overall, but more importantly, they improved their performances by 30% to 40% in six of seven events. They also have started preparing early for the next competition in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, in April 2010. Go Muckers! They continue to practice at the Graymont Mining baglime site.

Patrick D’Elia, B.S. student in mining engineering, competes in the Swede saw contest at the 31st International Intercollegiate Mining (Mucking) Competition held on April 4, 2009 at Montana Tech in Butte, MT 10

The Mine Rescue Team received the selfcontained breathing apparatuses and had training on them on November 18th. They now are intently

studying rules, taking quizzes on various mine rescue topics, and studying problems/solutions. They are hoping to be ready for a competition in late spring 2010. The Penn State Mining Society organized trips to SME and PCMIA/SME-Pittsburgh Section meetings in spring 2009 and fall 2009, respectively. This year’s officers are President Mark Rotz, Vice President Drew Mason, Secretary-Treasurer Tim Nolan, Social Chair Dan Chirdon, and Service Chair Ryan Mauser. They organized the visit to a Bucyrus production facility in Pittsburgh as part of the PCMIA/SME-Pittsburgh Section joint annual meeting. Most of the student chapter meetings have featured speakers from companies that are giving information sessions in conjunction with a recruiting trip. Recruiting visits have remained robust in spite of the continuing economic recession – 12 companies have come to campus. Students drove the formation of a student chapter of the International Society of Explosives Engineers, which was approved by Penn State Student Affairs in October 2009. The student chapter received its charter from ISEE at the November 12-13 PA Drilling and Blasting Conference, held at Penn State. A sense of excitement about the growing program and the many opportunities for professional activities continues among the students and various constituencies. Many thanks go to our alumni and industry sponsors for sustaining the students as they pursue the opportunities. We appreciate all the offers to help recruit high school students, and jump at every opportunity you give us. If you have time during the 2010 SME Annual Meeting, drop by our booth and let’s talk.

Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering (PNGE) by Turgay Ertekin, Professor of Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering and George E. Trimble Chair in Earth and Mineral Sciences As we are getting closer to the end of the calendar year 2009, it is again my privilege and pleasure to provide you with a summary of our progress in our activities with the scope of educating the best petroleum engineers in the country. You are the testimonials to what your program has achieved for almost 80 years and there is no reason why our current students should not follow your trails. During the 2008-09 Academic Year, the PNGE program went through another successful accreditation visit conducted by ABET. I am delighted to report to you that we have received full ABET accreditation. Our success in the recent ABET visitation is due to the hard work and wonderful dedication and commitment of the faculty to our students and scholarship. We are very proud of achievements of each of our faculty. We are fully cognizant that being a successful productive faculty is not possible unless we work with students who exhibit robust work habits and strong desire to learn. From these perspectives, it has been a fulfilling year for all of us. However, complacency is not part of our daily vocabulary and we have no intention of resting on our oars. We are already underway with the planning and execution to address the two important areas for our program to consider in the next stage of our development as we closely subscribe ourselves to the principles of continuous development. Along these lines I am pleased to report to you that the renovation of our undergraduate instructional laboratories (PNG 406 - “Reservoir Rock and Fluid Properties”, PNG 450 - “Mud and Cement and Drilling Engineering” and PNG 480 - “Production Engineering”) appears as the first item in the agenda.

and well logging. Dr. Li Li will be teaching our classical reservoir engineering courses. We are delighted to have these two young faculty members within the cadres of our faculty and we are confident that they will contribute immensely to the educational and scientific experiences of our students both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Our efforts on the faculty front do not end here, as we are still searching for a third faculty member, this time, at the senior level. I am optimistic that in the next year’s report, we will be able to come in front of you with another new faculty who will join the ranks as a proud Penn State Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering faculty. During the current academic year our total undergraduate (freshmen through senior classes) enrollment has reached 160. We are still receiving requests from students who would like to transfer to the program from other colleges. I expect that our undergraduate enrollment will stabilize around 200 students within the next few years. At the graduate level, we have 53 students (25 M.S. and 18 Ph.D.) enrolled, which is an all time high. During the 2008-09 Academic Year, we graduated 12 engineers with B.S. degrees, 5 with M.S. degrees and 4 with Ph.D. degrees. Although the job market showed some significant swings, a very good majority of our graduates have already started with their professional careers either in the U.S. or at their home countries.

It will be not be fair, in this short note, if I do not extend special thanks and gratitude to Mr. Paul Dudenas, Dr. Majid Al-Wadhahi, Dr. Abdallah Harouaka and Dr. Robert W. Watson Also, we are in the process of who have provided rebuilding our faculty—a process the much that I see as change of guards needed help for maintaining the in teaching academic excellence our students of the program. In during the this newsletter, I periods am delighted when we to report to were short you that we of faculty. have already Our received students two new have faculty learned a lot members from their who joined wealth of our academic knowledge roster at the and beginning of experience. The the Fall Semester efforts they have 2009. Dr. John expended in Yilin Wang has an unselfish assumed the manner responsibilities have been in teaching instrumental in courses in the the academic PNGE students in the “Rock and Fluid Properties” course traveled to Indiana, PA in the spring to areas of drilling Continued on oversee XTO Energy drilling and well stimulation operations. Pictured from left to right are Roy engineering, page 13 Borkhoche, Marie Meyet, Andrea Boock, and Greg Braden. well completions Connection


Faculty News from William Groves Greetings to all Alums and particularly IHS graduates! I’m happy to have this chance to provide a quick update on this year’s activities. We continue our transition from the IHS undergraduate program to the Environmental Health and Safety Engineering Option within the Environmental Systems Engineering (ENVSE) program. I will teach two of the EHSE option core-courses, IHS 447 - “Industrial Hygiene Measurements” and IHS 450 - “Environmental Health and Safety” (which is also a required course for all ENVSE students). Our general education course, EGEE 110 - “Safety Science,” continues to attract many students with enrollments of 100-120 students per section, and at the graduate level I teach EME 510 - “Health and Safety Engineering.” I currently advise several graduate students including Ming-I Lin from Industrial Engineering who recently defended his Ph.D. dissertation involving a NIOSH-funded project to develop and evaluate a physiologically based sampling pump for exposure assessment. M.S. students include: Jim Gazza, who is working on a project involving characterization of ozone concentrations in a bottled water processing facility, Sunghae Park, who is studying safety intervention effectiveness models, Brian Marpoe who is conducting a study comparing different types of sorbent tube sample holders for organic vapor monitoring, and Heather Fennessey, who is examining personal protective equipment programs. In addition to these activities, I am participating on a NIOSH Special Emphasis Panel (SEP) that is reviewing proposals for state-based injury and illness surveillance programs, am an active member of the AIHA Real-Time Detection Systems Committee, and continue to serve on the Editorial Review Board of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene.

from Jamal Rostami Year 2008 has been a rather successful year with some achievement on different fronts. The Geomechanics Laboratory is revived and with a series of new equipment can offer professional and rock mechanic testing services to mining and underground construction industries, in addition to the educational activities. Two of the major projects completed were the DeKalb County tunnel and testing rock samples from Foundation Freeport mine. These projects allowed some graduate and undergraduate students to participate in the testing and to learn more about rock mechanics by hands-on experience and observations. I also received NSF funding for a study of soil abrasivity and development of a new soil index. We completed the 2nd year of research for Kennametal on rock cutting issues, full scale cutting tests were performed on various conical bits and have learned about the cutting behavior of various rocks for development of more efficient tools. The project is ongoing and new, with more sophisticated testing underway. As for the teaching activities, a new course on ground support was offered and was well received by the students, while I arranged a short course on Shaft construction for SME and helped Dr. Ramani in teaching a short course on underground mining for NIOSH. I look forward to more interaction with Penn State alumni in these fields to expand the horizon of learning for student in our program.

Academic Accolades André L. Boehman, professor of fuel science, and Yu Zhang, Ph.D. student in energy and geoenvironmental engineering, were recognized by Energy & Fuels for publishing one of the top 20 most cited articles in the last three years. The acknowledged article is entitled, “Impact of Biodiesel on NOx Emissions in a Common Rail Direct Injection Diesel Engine.” 12


On July 1, 2009, Angela Lueking was awarded tenure and promotion to Associate Professor of Energy and Geo-Environmental Engineering. Angela joined the Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering in 2003.


Raja V. Ramani, professor emeritus of mining engineering and geo-environmental engineering, has been selected as the 2009 Society for Mining Metallurgy and

from R. Larry Grayson Beginning in the fall 2009 semester, I took on the role of program coordinator for the Mining Technology program at the Penn StateEberly campus. I currently serve as the program officer for the Mining Engineering program and as the graduate program officer at University Park. Over the past year, I worked with students to help establish a student mine rescue team, a student chapter of the International Society of Explosives Engineers (with Dr. Rostami), a student design team to compete for the first time in the SME/ NSSGA Student Design Competition, and the International Intercollegiate Mining (Mucking) Competition. One of my graduate students successfully defended his Masters thesis and will graduate in December 2009, while another may also finish at that time, or soon thereafter. I also worked with a team of 22 other faculty members on a full proposal to the National Science Foundation for the Integrated Graduate Education and Research Training program. The title of the project is “New Energy Technologies and Their Impact on the Environment, Economy, and Public Policy.” I continue to serve on the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Study Section (three times per year) and the Illinois Clean Coal Institute Program Committee. Over the past year, I published a book chapter, have one pending, and published four peer-reviewed journals articles with co-authors and have two others in press. My role as Director of the Western U.S. Mining Safety and Health Training and Translation Center (headquartered at Missouri University of Science and Technology) ended on August 31, 2009.

Exploration (SME) candidate for The American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers (AIME) honorary membership award. Raja received the honor “in recognition of his contributions to mining engineering education and practice, his research to improve mine health and safety and his more than 40 years distinguished service to SME and AIME.” The award will be presented at the 2010 AIME annual banquet in Pheonix, AZ. Connection

Solar Decathlon... Continued from page 6 systems engineering, and energy business and finance. No matter what specific jobs they were assigned, all agreed that taking part in such a massive and all-encompassing project was an experience of a lifetime. “My favorite part of the project was the opportunity to collaborate with college faculty and industrial sponsors,” Thomas Rauch, B.S. student in energy, business and finance and energy engineering and Natural Fusion media liaison, said. “Communicating and developing relationships with these groups helped me to hone a skill set I’ll use in the professional world.” “The Solar Decathlon was a great chance to work through a project, start to finish, and see all the steps,” Julianne Hagarty, B.S. student in environmental systems engineering and Natural Fusion fundraising project manager, added. “As undergraduate students in a particular major, we are educated in the specific skill set required to perform our small part of a larger project; this project is a rare chance to see how all the small parts come together.” The Natural Fusion home was purchased by Bayer MaterialScience and now resides in Pittsburgh, PA. ENENG Program Update... Continued from page 8 Currently, EGEE 411- “Energy Science and Engineering Laboratory” has been taught at the EMS Energy Institute facilities. Efforts are underway to have a dedicated Energy Engineering laboratory in Hosler building. Basic fuel characterization equipment has been procured and installed for the upcoming spring semester. Funds are being sought to develop other state-of-the-art renewable energy laboratory facilities for the energy engineering students. The energy engineering capstone design course is offered in cooperation with the Learning Factory in the College of Engineering. Through the Learning Factory, industrial groups sponsor small projects that can be completed by a group of students in a semester. Students from various disciplines (usually four to five, depending on the project) work collaboratively, in consultation with the sponsor, complete the project, and “showcase” the outcome at the end of the semester. The program is looking for these industry-driven projects. If you would like to sponsor a project, or know someone who can, please pass this information along or contact me. If you have any comments or suggestions about the program, please do not hesitate to email or call me at 814-865-0874. PNGE Program Update... progress of our students.

Continued from page 11

The 2008-09 Academic Year was an action packed year. The ABET accreditation visit, search for new faculty members, ups and downs in oil and natural gas industry prices all contributed to these condensed activities in one way or another. Our students have worked hard and, as ever, my colleagues have gone the extra mile or two, or three. The spirit of cooperation and common values you and our students and faculty share makes Penn State’s PNGE program a special and great place to be. And, we do not take it for granted, and perhaps more importantly, I know that we are all determined to keep it that way. As I close, please do not forget that you are always invited to come and visit your PNGE program. You have always been an integral part of our efforts towards giving the best to our students’ educational experiences at Penn State.


Student Voice

Snow Covered Benches

Bingham Canyon, UT, February 2008 Photo by Mark Rotz, B.S. student in mining engineering Bingham Canyon Copper Mine is the largest man made excavation on the surface of the earth. The sheer magnitude of the open pit mine is mind blowing. The large haulage truck in the bottom right hand corner of the picture provides a sense of scale. Here is a beautiful shot of the mine in the midst of winter with a light covering of snow.

Oh Snap! Students capture energy, minerals, and Penn State pride for the inaugural EME photo competition When the Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering (EME) publicized its first-ever student photo contest this summer, we had no idea what to expect. After all, EME students are known for their mathematical prowess, engineering know-how, and critical thinking skills, but not necessarily for their acumen with a camera. So it was a delight to discover an untapped talent for photography from within the EME student body. The competition lasted all summer and was open to any student enrolled in an EME major during the fall 2009 semester. Students were asked to submit original photographs that either demonstrated their Penn State pride or showcased energy and minerals in the world. In the end over 100 photographs were submitted by undergraduate and graduate students alike. The first prize of $500 went to Mark Rotz, B.S. student in mining engineering, for his photograph of the Bingham Canyon Copper 14

Mine in Bingham Canyon, UT. Both Muhamad Hadi Zakaria, B.S. student in petroleum and natural gas engineering, and Brett Ashley, B.S. student in mining engineering, tied for second place. Each received $350 for their entries entitled, “One Fine Day in Yellowstone” and “Coal Fulfilling America’s Electrical Needs.” Another tie for third place saw $150 being awarded to Nick Hovey, B.S. student in petroleum and natural gas engineering, for his shot of a freshly dug oil well in Bradford, PA and to Audra Tewell, B.S. student in energy engineering, for capturing a unique display of Penn State spirit on the Penn State Fayette campus in Uniontown, PA. All winning entries appear on this and the next page, including the photo titles and descriptions submitted by the entrants. Judging was open to all EME faculty and staff, who awarded points based on each photograph’s technical quality, expression of a theme, and creativity/ originality. The entries with the highest number of points were declared the winners.

Coal—Fulfilling America’s Electrical Needs

Keystone Steam Electric Station, Shelocta, PA, August 2009 Photo by Brett Ashley, B.S. student in mining engineering Keystone Power Plant, located in Shelocta, PA, is a coal-fired powerplant, generating 1,710 MW (two 850 MW boilers) of baseload electricity (, 2009). Coal-fired power plants deliver reliable baseload electricity and constitute 48.5% of America’s net power generation (, 2007).

One Fine Day in Yellowstone

Yellowstone, July 2009 Photo by Muhamad Hadi Zakaria, B.S. student in petroleum and natural gas engineering I was stunningly amazed with the beautiful reflection from the water that came from the geyser nearby. Interestingly, the couple in the photo happened to be Penn State alumni.

Shooting a Well

Bedford, PA, August 2009 Photo by Nick Hovey, B.S. student in petroleum and natural gas engineering During the celebrations in Bradford, PA of the 150th anniversary of the drilling of the first oil well, a well was drilled the old-fashioned way (with a spudding rig and cable tools instead of the contemporary rotary drill) and a replica derrick constructed over it. At the conclusion of the ceremonies, the well was shot; that is, an explosive charge was lowered into the well, and then detonated in the formation to fracture the rock and allow the oil to flow into the well. Much more dangerous (and much more detrimental to the environment) than its contemporary, hydrofracturing, shooting a well is also much more spectacular; with oil, small fragments of rock, and other debris flying hundreds of feet into the air.

Penn State Rocks!

Penn State Fayette, Uniontown, PA, August 2009 Photo taken by Audra Tewell, B.S. student in energy engineering

This is a picture of the front of the Fayette campus. I love this little mural because it merges two of my loves together; Penn State and the environment! It also gives a new meaning to “Penn State Rocks!” I love this campus with all of my heart! It does not feel like I am a student at a college here; it feels like I am a member of a family. With such great faculty, staff, events, clubs, and other students; it is truly an honor to be a part of the Penn State family! Just as these “PSU” stones are deeply enclosed by the soil and rocks around it, so is my heart enveloped with Penn State and the environment! Connection


An Opportunity To Give

The 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: _______________________________________


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, Winter 2009  

Penn State Energy and MIneral Engineering Newsletter

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