2016-17 Seminars

The Civil and Environmental Engineering Department seminar series is held on two Wednesdays a month from 4:00-4:50 pm in the Classroom Building, CB204E. The SD Mines and engineering community are welcome to attend. Professional development hour (PDH) certificates will be mailed to attendees upon request for the seminars noted below. For more information, contact Dr. Soonkie Nam ( Soonkie.Nam@sdsmt.edu).

Spring 2017


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Title: "Water Conservation Through Compost" and "What Is The Value Of Water?" - an analysis of the Rapid Creek Watershed, Rapid City, SD
Presenter: Jerome "Jerry" Wright, Ph.D. student at SD Mines, Rapid City Council Member and Retired Rapid City Solid Waste Operations Manager
Abstract: Municipal Solid Waste is approximately 55% organics.  The City of Rapid City has a very successful program of composting municipal solid waste and yard waste, along with bio-solids.  This program creates a class A compost, taking two waste streams into a safe and highly beneficial product - compost.  With an increasing aware of the need to better manage and conserve water resources, would amending soils with compost increase their infiltration rates, therefore, obtaining field capacity for the proper growth of plant material with less application of irrigation water.  If the savings are significant, how will the use of compost in areas irrigated conserve water for growth and other needs and what is the cost?  The use of compost in this way will create a higher and bigger market for its use.  In addition, municipal composting, with bio-solids, will take two waste streams into a usable product.  This will reduce significant demand on landfills and bio-solid land application. 
BIO: Jerome "Jerry" Wright graduated from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in 1971 with a B.S. in Civil Engineering and earned an M.S in Civil Engineering at Purdue University in 1974 with Urban Engineering and Transportation Planning Major and Urban and Human Ecology and Public Finance Minors. He was also commissioned in 1971, has served in the US Army Reserve for 28 years and retired as Lieut. Colonel. His last tour was Operation Iraqi Freedom in Kuwait between 2006 and 2007 as an Executive Officer, Engineer Section, 3rd Army HQ. He also ran his own small construction and trucking company between 1975 and 1987 and worked for Rapid City between 1987 and 2010, where he retired as a Solid Waste Operations Division manager. He has been serving for the community as a Rapid City Council member since 2011 and started his Ph.D. study in 2016 at the School of Mines.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Title: "Applications of Life Cycle Assessment Modeling in Polymerization/Depolymerization Processes based on Renewable Resources" (MS Thesis Defense)
Presenter: Claudia Isola, Graduate Research Assistant at SD Mines
Abstract: Two studies are presented in this thesis, both utilizing Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) as a methodology to identify environmental impact contributions in chemical processes based on renewable resources. The studies are: “Life cycle assessment of photodegradable polymeric material derived from renewable bioresources” and “Sustainability evaluation for vanillin derived from lignin liquefaction.”  The goal of this thesis is to demonstrate the advantages of including LCA in process or product development in order to improve sustainability. The first study described an LCA model for a programmed photodegradation of polymeric/oligomeric materials derived from fructose. This research evaluated the sustainability of recyclable polymer building block production from renewable resource. A phototrigger was attached to the monomers during the polymerization process, resulting in a polymer that degrades in the presence of UV light.  Results indicated that 38 to 49% of the process environmental impacts could be attributed to the polymerization step, where energy consumption and use of non-renewable chemicals were significant contributors. The process of recycling polymeric material reduced all environmental impacts, indicating that recycling benefits outweigh phototrigger production impacts. The second presented study focused on depolymerization of Kraft alkali lignin obtained as byproduct of pulp mills, into high-value phenolic products.  Vanillin was the selected product due to industry interest and its potential for commercialization. Different alkali lignin treatments were analyzed using life cycle assessment (LCA) and green design metrics. Results showed that models which adhered better to green design metrics also resulted in environmental impact reductions, demonstrating a positive correlation between both sustainability metrics.