The Cardinale lab at the University of Michigan has an opening for a new M.S. or Ph.D. student to work on a newly funded U.S. Department of Energy grant that brings together ecologists, chemical engineers, and automotive engineers to work together on the development of designer biofuels that improve the performance of algal biofuel systems (https://news.engin.umich.edu/2018/10/from-ponds-to-power-2m-to-perfect-algae-as-a-diesel-fuel/). The goal of this project is to use principles from ecological engineering to design algal feedstocks that have higher yields, improved stability, and more optimal chemical properties for upgrading and combustion in diesel engines. The ecological portion of the project will involve large-scale growth experiments in outdoor raceway ponds, with measurements used to parameterize life-cycle and techno-economic analysis that quantify improvements in feedstock properties. These feedstocks will subsequently be used by collaborators on the project that include chemical engineer Dr. Phil Savage – an expert in the conversion of feedstocks to biocrude, chemical engineer Levi Thompson – an expert in catalytic upgrading of biocrude, and mechanical engineer Andre Boehman – an expert in fuel formulation for diesel engines.
This is a great opportunity for any student interested in doing graduate work at the intersection of ecology and engineering, learning how to apply principles from biology to human-engineered systems. The successful graduate student will be involved in all aspects of the research, and will be expected to develop their own independent thesis or dissertation to compliment the broader goals of the project. A background in ecology, environmental science or engineering, limnology, or a related field is required. A background working with freshwater organisms is preferred, but not required.
The Cardinale lab is in the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan (http://cardinale.seas.umich.edu/). UM was recently ranked 15th on the Times Higher Education’s list of the world’s top 200 universities, and has a top-ranked graduate program in the environmental sciences. Ann Arbor is also routinely ranked as one of the best places to live in the U.S. (see Money’s list of America’s Best Small Cities) due to its affordability, natural beauty, preservation of wooded areas, vibrant arts program, and lively downtown landscape.
The assistantship offers a competitive stipend plus tuition and benefits. Applications are due by December 15th, 2018 (http://seas.umich.edu/admissions/apply).
Pre-inquiries can be directed to …
Dr. Bradley J. Cardinale
The University of Michigan is an Equal Opportunity/ Affirmative Action Employer.