Category: Events

Webinar: Beneficial Re-use of Industrial CO2 Emissions Using Microalgae

Apr 8, 2021, noon-1 pm CDT
Register here.

Abstract: Carbon dioxide utilization through algal biomass production has undergone extensive research, mainly focusing on the replacement of traditional petroleum fuels. However, achieving economic viability for algae-based fuels has proven difficult due to their low value and comparatively high production costs. Consequently, the algae industry is experiencing a shift in focus from fuels towards more valuable products, including nutraceuticals, specialty chemicals and human food additives. Unfortunately, these higher value products tend to have very limited markets, which have the potential to saturate when scaling algae production facilities to multi-acre scales. Bioplastics derived from algal biomass offer a potential means of solving these problems. Algae-based bioplastics represent a drop-in replacement for many everyday products, including flexible foams, synthetic fibers, food packaging films and even 3-D printing filament. As proteins are the most desirable component of the algal biomass in bioplastic production, fuel production methods based on lipid extraction can in principal be employed to improve the bioplastic quality (and thus value) while producing a useful fuel co-product.

This seminar will summarize our work, initiated in 2009, aimed at algae cultivation using flue gas from coal-fired power plants as the CO2 source. The results of techno-economic and life cycle analyses will also be presented, conducted to assess the economic viability and environmental impact of an algae biorefinery that integrates the complementary functions of bioplastic feedstock and fuel production.

Biography: Mark Crocker received BSc. and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, and spent two years as a NATO Research Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Thereafter he spent 15 years working in industry, first for Shell Research in Amsterdam and then for Degussa’s automotive catalyst division in Michigan, USA. In 2003 he moved to the University of Kentucky (UK) where he is currently a Professor in the Department of Chemistry and an Associate Director of the Center for Applied Energy Research. At UK he leads a research group focusing on CO2 recycling using microalgae, biofuels and environmental catalysis.

This seminar is a certified green event by the University of Illinois’ University of Illinois’ Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment.

Evanston Public Library hosts virtual Climate Resilient Communities Series

Inspired by the  ALA Resilient Communities: Libraries Respond to climate change Grant that was awarded to the Evanston Public Library in the last quarter of 2020, this series of presentations, film discussions, community conversations and hands-on learning kits focuses on the causes and effects of climate change, as well as its intersection with race, gender and other identities.

The goal of the series is to inspire participants into climate action by providing participants with a better understanding of the science behind climate change and the social, ecological and political consequences of its impacts, while offering effective tools to work towards solutions

Webinar: The ReCell Center: Making Lithium-ion Battery Recycling Profitable

Mar 25, 2021, noon-1 pm CDT
Register here

Abstract: End-of-life lithium-ion batteries in electric and hybrid-electric vehicles are just now starting to reach their end of life.  The recycling infrastructure that these batteries are expected to go through will likely result as a cost to the end user.  ReCell is working to develop, scale-up, and demonstrate, battery recycling processes that reduce cost and increase revenue to improve the economics of responsible end-of-life lithium-ion battery management even as the use of cobalt is reduced in batteries.  Four focus areas are targeted: direct cathode recycling, recovery of other materials, design for recycle, and modeling and analysis.  This presentation will provide a summary of ReCell’s work to create a profitable battery recycling system.

Biography: Jeff Spangenberger is the Materials Recycling R&D Program Lead in the Applied Materials Division at Argonne National Laboratory. His program works to solve material separation, recovery and recycling challenges resulting in cost effective and environmentally sustainable processes that are then transferrable to industry. His current focus is on lithium-ion battery recycling and is the director of the ReCell center, an advanced battery recycling program funded by the Vehicle Technologies Office of DOE, to evaluate and advance the cost effective and sustainable recycling of end-of-life advanced batteries.

This seminar is a certified green event by the University of Illinois’ University of Illinois’ Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment.

Webinar: the Mapping Inequality Project

Thu, March 4, 2021, 11am-noon CST
Register here.

MS LIVE EVENT (Use web browser for best results)

The Mapping Inequality Project created a foundational resource for unprecedented research, education, organizing, and policy advocacy on redlining and current environmental challenges. It provides publicly accessible digitized versions of redlining maps for about 200 cities. This has already generated an explosion of trailblazing work in the area of environmental justice (EJ) and systemic racism. Two of its founders will discuss the genesis, philosophy, methodology, and impact of this game changing project.

Featured Speakers:

  • Dr. Robert Nelson, Director, Digital Scholarship Laboratory, University of Richmond
  • Dr. LaDale Winling, Associate Professor of History, Virginia Tech

Moderated by Charles Lee, Senior Policy Advisor for Environmental Justice, EPA

Background: The EJ and Systemic Racism Speaker Series will illustrate how addressing systemic racism is highly relevant to the missions of EPA and other environmental agencies. Understanding and addressing systemic racism and the roots of disproportionate environmental and public health impacts is key to integrating EJ in environmental policies and programs and achieving environmental protection for all people. We can all learn from the highly substantive and inspiring work already taking place in this arena across the nation. The objectives of this speaker series are:

  • Provide information on cutting-edge work in science, policy, and practice to strengthen the evidentiary link between historical inequities and current environmental conditions;
  • Inspire leaders and staff in government, communities, academia, business and industry, and civil society to think about how systemic racism relates to their own work by hearing from leading national policy experts, researchers and practitioners;
  • Align government leaders and staff with the leading work taking place in this area and create a cohesive environment for fruitful partnerships; and
  • Create intellectual ferment about dealing with systemic racism in a rigorous manner so that EPA and other environmental agencies can overcome their historical aversion to talking about race and systemic racism.

We begin this series with a set of five sessions that thoroughly examines the relationship of redlining and current environmental disparities. The recent National Center for Civil and Human Rights webinar (below) on EJ, redlining and the climate crisis provides a good overview of this subject. Future speakers will be:

  • Dr. Jeremy Hoffman, Science Museum of Virginia, and Dr. Vivek Shandas, Portland State University, on a study correlating redlining maps with current location of urban heat islands (April 2021)
  • Cate Mingoya, Groundwork USA, Victor Medina, Groundwork Hudson Valley, and Melissa Guevara, Groundwork Richmond, Virginia, on application of this information in community organizing and policy advocacy (May 2021)
  • Yana Garcia and Jaimie Huynh, California EPA, on CalEPA’s work on redlining and pollution (June 2021)
  • Roundtable Discussion: Enhancing multi-disciplinary and multi-sector collaboration to address redlining and current environmental disparities (July 2021)

Future topics will include: Title VI and civil rights program, EJ research and analysis, rural inequities, and others. Suggestions are welcomed. Registration information for each session forthcoming. For information, contact Charles Lee ( or Sabrina Johnson (

Webinar: Material Characterization and Economic Impacts of Recycling – 2020 Reports

Feb 25, 2021, 1-2 pm CST
Register here.

In 2018, the United States generated more than 292 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW). Measuring waste generation and how it is managed characterizes the national waste stream and is an important foundation for managing materials.

This webinar is divided in to two sections. The first part will present the latest information reported in EPA’s most recent Advancing Sustainable Materials Management (SMM): Facts and Figures 2018 report. EPA will present on trends in U.S. materials generation, including recycling, composting, combustion with energy recovery and landfilling. The 2018 report also included measurement of new food management options and new data on construction and demolition debris management.

The second part of the webinar will cover economic indicators and trend data such as personal consumer expenditures, commodity values and tipping fees included in the latest Recycling Economic Information (REI) report. This report examined the larger economic implications of material reuse and recycling. EPA staff will take a deeper dive into those economic impacts and discuss the finding that recycling not only conserves resources and protects the environment, but is also an engine of growth in the U.S. economy. Recycling contributes to jobs, wages and government tax revenue by tapping into a domestic source of materials and supporting businesses and consumers to sustainably recover discarded materials.

Webinar: Battery Reuse–an Enabler of Renewable Energy Deployment and Transportation Electrification

February 26, 2021, 11 am CST
Visit the U.C. Davis Energy and Efficiency Institute for full details.

The continued success of renewable energy industries depends on their integration with cost-effective energy storage. Due to this need and falling prices of lithium-ion batteries, the nation’s energy storage market is booming. However, energy storage costs remain prohibitively high for many potential customers.Additionally, due to the problematic impacts of battery manufacturing, life cycle analyses of new lithium-ion batteries for stationary energy storage suggest the batteries deliver slim to no environmental benefits despite decreasing dependence on natural gas-fired power plants to balance electricity supply and demand.

Meanwhile, the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) is well underway, but what happens to their batteries when vehicles are retired? Unfortunately, battery recycling costs typically exceed $1000 per EV battery pack. However, recycling costs can be deferred for eight years or more by repurposing the batteries to create “second-life” stationary energy storage systems which are more affordable and more sustainable than new battery alternatives.

Ryan Barr is the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of RePurpose Energy, where he leads engagement with existing and prospective customers, vendors, and other partners. Ryan believes battery reuse will be a critical enabler of the transition to renewable energy and electric vehicles. He led RePurpose Energy to win the Grand Prize in the UC Berkeley’s Big Ideas Contest and a National Finalist award in the Cleantech Open accelerator program. Ryan has also worked at the California Independent System Operator on the design and implementation of new energy storage policies and at KPMG as a management consultant for electric utility clients. Ryan holds an MS in Energy Systems from the University of California, Davis and a BS in General Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Webinar: The State of Long Duration Energy Storage

Feb 24, 2021 11am-noon CST
Register here.

Battery-driven energy storage systems are already being sold around the world to utilities and to homeowners with rooftop solar. However, studies suggest that energy storage for not just hours but for days and even weeks will be necessary to address the seasonal variation of expanded wind and solar power distribution. What technologies could step up to the plate as solutions, and how can we expedite their development?


  • Noël Bakhtian – Discussion Lead Executive Director, Berkeley Lab Energy Storage Center
  • Wesley Cole Senior Energy Analyst, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
  • Mateo Jaramillo CEO & Co-Founder, Form Energy, Inc.
  • Eric Kim Power Resources Planner, Silicon Valley Clean Energy
  • Jan Pepper Chief Executive Officer, Peninsula Clean Energy

Webinar: PFAS: Deciphering a laboratory report

Mar 4, 2021, 11:00 am
Register here.

PFAS (per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances) have contaminated our local soils and water supplies. Taryn McKnight— PFAS Practice Leader from Eurofins will present and interpret PFAS lab reports during this lunch hour webinar:

  • Defining acronyms
  • Interpreting numerical values
  • Reviewing sampling objectives
  • Understanding lab quality assurance

Sponsored by the Wisconsin Section of the American Institute of Professional Geologists. For additional information, contact Christine Lilek ( or phone: 920-912-7304).

Virtual conference CO2 emissions quantified in new study

Read the full story from the University of Michigan.

The virtual conferencing that has replaced large, in-person gatherings in the age of COVID-19 represents a drastic reduction in carbon emissions, but those online meetings still come with their own environmental costs, new research from the University of Michigan shows.

2021 Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit

The U.S. Department of Energy’s next Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit will take place May 17-20, 2021. This will be a virtual, no-cost event featuring engaging and interactive sessions, as well as opportunities for attendees to network with their fellow industry peers and experts.

Learn more here.

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