Dr. Pieter Billen worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the group from March 2015 until October 2016. Pieter is actively involved in projects on thermochemical biomass conversion to fuels and chemicals, and studied the effect of spatial-temporal variations amongst fuels for district heating on climate change. Additionally, Pieter was principal investigator of a study on the production of spherical porous reactive aggregates from coal bottom ash, offsetting both ash disposal and virgin resources. After October 2016, Pieter will continue to collaborate on a variety of projects with the group members.
Megan E. Hums
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
Megan Hums is a PhD candidate in Chemical Engineering (2011- graduation expected in 2015). Her research is focused on techno-economic and environmental impacts of biodiesel production from high-lipid, low-value waste materials to restructure the waste management infrastructure for increased sustainability. Her co-advisors are Dr. Richard Cairncross (Dept. of Chemical and Biological Engineering) and Dr. Sabrina Spatari (Dept. of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering).
Megan graduated from Widener University (2007-2011) with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and minor in Chemistry. While at Widener, Megan worked as a process engineer co-op at DuPont Project Engineering Center (Wilmington, DE: 2008) and Johnson Matthey (West Deptford, NJ: 2010-2011). She was a founder and president of the Gamma Omega Chapter of the Alpha Chi Sigma Fraternity (a professional chemistry fraternity). She also helped start Engineers without Borders-Widener University acting as project manager. Megan traveled on two assessment trips to Ella Drua, Panama to design a solar energy system for a rural indigenous community of about 100 residents.
Presentations and Publications:
Hums, M.E., R.A. Cairncross, and S. Spatari. Life Cycle Assessment for the Production of Biodiesel from Trap Grease. Presented at the International Symposium on Sustainable Systems and Technology (ISSST). 2013. Cincinnati, OH.
Hums, M.E., C.J. Stacy, R.A. Cairncross, and S. Spatari. Well-to-Wheel Life Cycle Assessment for the Production of Biodiesel from Trap Grease, presented at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Annual Meeting: Life Cycle Analysis of Bio-Based Fuels, Energy and Chemicals I. 2012: Pittsburgh, PA.
Kul, Ismail, Krishna Bhat, Megan Hums, Michael R. Miller, & Sevil Sener, A comparative study of the volumetric properties of aqueous solutions of pyridine and piperidine derivatives. Fluid Phase Equilibria, 2013. 351: p. 94-104.
PhD Candidate, Civil Engineering
Ms. Marcellus is originally from the Philadelphia region, growing up in the suburbs and attending undergrad in West Philadelphia. She is currently a teaching fellow in the College of Engineering, Freshman Engineering Design Experience. Ms. Marcellus began her career as a Construction Project Manager Professional with diverse experience in building green in Public Housing, Healthcare, Life Sciences, Industrial, Data Centers, Commercial Buildings, & Tenant Fit Outs in the Philadelphia Region. She has been a LEED AP BD+C since 2007. She holds BS and MS degrees in Civil Engineering from Drexel University and is currently working on her doctorate. Her research interests focus on materials management in the built environment using the tools of Industrial Ecology. She began her PhD studies after thirteen years of professional experience in construction management, where she specialized in commercial private sector construction projects. Throughout her academic and professional career, she places great importance on education and efficient construction management practice. She recently conducted research at Nagoya University in Nagoya, Japan; as a research fellow for the National Science Foundation, East Asia and Pacific Summer Institute where she conducted a material stock analysis for a North American case study utilizing Geographical Information Systems (GIS). She also volunteers for the Delaware Valley Green Building Council chapter and held the position of Co-Chair of the Host Volunteer Committee and is part of the Education committee.
Ben Cohen EIT
BS/MS Structural Engineering
Drexel 2011-Drexel 2015
Ben Cohen, originally from Havertown, Pennsylvania, graduated from Drexel in 2010 with a BS/MS in Civil Engineering, structural concentration. Upon graduation, Ben worked for Boeing Commercial Airplanes before he was offered the opportunity to return to Drexel to pursue a PhD in Civil Engineering. Ben is currently a research assistance exploring the activities and affects of maintenance activities for bridges. During 2013 he helped create a new civil engineering teaching module that introduces bridge engineering to freshman engineering students. Ben’s current research interests are: Asset Management of Infrastructure; Complex, Large-scale, Interconnected, Open, Sociotechnical (CLIOS) Systems; and Bridge Performance. Ben is advised by Dr. A. Emin Aktan and Dr. Sabrina Spatari.
Ph.D. Candidate, Civil Engineering
Bachelor degree: Architectural Engineering, Drexel University
Master degree: Civil Engineering with structural concentration, Drexel University
Doctoral degree: Pursuing doctoral degree in Civil Engineering, Drexel University
Development and application of life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle cost (LCC) method to analyze the environmental impact and economical aspects of drainage pipeline systems and urban infrastructure, which provides better guidance for decision making and engineering.
Yetunde is a PhD Student in Environmental Engineering who was born and raised in the southwestern region of Nigeria. She holds an Associate degree in Computer Information Systems from Santa Barbara City College in California, a BSc in Chemistry from Texas Southern University and a ME in Chemical Engineering from Lamar University in Texas. She joined the LCSS group in 2013 and currently is working on her Doctorate with a research focus in Life Cycle Assessment. Yetunde is also a research fellow in the urban sustainability initiative. Her research focus is Techno-economic analysis and environmental impacts of bio-oil upgrading technologies.
Bahar Riazi graduated from Sharif University of Technology (Iran) with a B.Sc. degree in Chemical Engineering. Following this, she obtained her master of science degree in the field of Biotechnology Engineering from Sharif University of Technology. Bahar is a PhD candidate in Environmental Engineering at Drexel University. Her major research goal is to combine the life cycle thinking with her knowledge of chemical, petrochemical, and environmental processes obtained from her B.Sc. degree in chemical engineering, her experimental experience with bio-based materials during her master thesis, and different computational software that can empower her in simulating models to propose strategies toward environmental and sustainable development. Her current research involves looking at different feedstock resources including agricultural and dedicated energy crops as well as other non-food resources such as animal fat wastes in order to produce renewable fuels and other value-added products and by-products. This work includes techno-economic assessment of simulated plants, calculating required energy and conducting environmental assessment specifically in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
I am working on two research projects based on LCA. The first one involves Life Cycle Inventory comparison between forest based renewable energy sources against traditional fossil fuel dependent district heating systems. Aim to rightly select the fuel for minimum environmental impact backed by economic advantages. The second project includes developing a generalized temporal and spatial analysis of willow rotation crop as fuel for district heating. Main objective of the research is promoting the short rotation crop willow as fuel for district heating. Secondary data used for the project are collected from the DayCent agricultural model developed and produced by collaborating research teams.
Christine Speers is originally from Yardley Pennsylvania. She received her undergraduate degree in Earth Sciences from the Pennsylvania State University, and is now pursuing a masters degree in Environmental Engineering at Drexel University. Her work includes sensitivity analysis of nitrous oxide emissions in biomass-to-biofuel systems, and watershed life cycle analysis projects.
I’m Aswathi John, undergraduate in the Biomedical Engineering Department, Drexel University. I joined Biomedical Engineering out of my interest in Biology and eventually hope to join Medical School. As part of my freshman design project I have programmed a Pressure Sensing Seat Cushion as an attempt to solve deep tissue injury in paraplegic patients. Now as part of my coop I work in Dr.Sabrina’s LCA lab as a Research Assistant.
Beth Katz is currently an undergraduate student at Drexel University pursuing a degree in Chemical Engineering. She is interested in a range of topics, including pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and energy sources. For a freshman design project, she worked to develop a life cycle assessment of genetically modified organisms(GMOs). She recently worked as a research assistant for one of Dr. Spatari’s LCA projects.