MAS BioEnergy

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Mas BioEnergy


In collaboration with a CSU-Fort Collins professor, in a topic related to bioenergy, students at CSU-Pueblo can undertake a MS degree in Applied Natural Science. Students will receive a stipend and payment of tuition and fees. Students will attend a four-week research period at CSU-Fort Collins each summer and interact with other students and faculty from the program. Opportunities will be available to travel to conferences and present the results of your research. At the completion of the MS degree, students will transition to the MAS BioEnergy PhD program at CSU-Fort Collins. Students will receive a fellowship that includes stipend, tuition, fees, and health insurance.


Druelinger Mel Druelinger, PhD
Dean, Graduate Studies and Research
Director, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs
Professor of Chemistry
Colorado State University-Pueblo
2200 Bonforte Blvd., Pueblo, CO 81001
Ph: 719.549.2325
Fax: 719.549.2580
Biography: Dr. Druelinger’s research interests include biocatalysis and the study and development of organic materials used as biocatalysts in the conversion of biomass into biofuels and other materials of interest. Other areas of research interest include green chemistry processes (photochemistry, microwave chemistry, ionic liquids) and the design and synthesis of fluorinated organic compounds which can beneficially affect the protection of agricultural crops. Consistent with these interests, we are also active in the synthesis of specifically fluorinated compounds with biomedicinal potential.

David Lehmpuhl David Lehmpuhl, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of Chemistry
Colorado State University-Pueblo
2200 Bonforte Blvd., Pueblo CO 81001-4901
Ph. 719.549.2911
Fax. 719.549.2580
Biography: Dr. Lehmpuhl’s research related to biofuels includes the analysis of wastewater grease. Currently, grease from households and restaurants is a major waste product that ends up in pipes and settling ponds in wastewater treatment plants. Our lab has been analyzing wastewater grease to determine its potential, compositionally and economically, as a fuel additive for coal-burning power plants.

Additional work in our lab is focused on organic and inorganic environmental contaminants in water, sediment and aquatic life. Current work is focused on organic contaminants that do not get completely processed during their time in wastewater treatment systems, as well as selenium and other metals that can occur in high concentration from natural sources, both of which contribute to the overall health of natural waterways.

2009 Scholars

Druelinger Michael Barich, Chemistry
In looking at graduate programs, I was attracted to the IGERT program due to combination of fields. Studying both chemistry and physics gave me a broader understanding of how intertwined all these disciplines are, leading me to the conclusion that a specific program would be lacking. As both a blessing and a curse, my biology experience is limited to my high school advanced biology and the handful of biochem seminars and posters that I was able to see into over my undergraduate conferences. In my first semester at CSU-P, I took a class on environmental science. This class introduced me to how much chemistry is being studied about what’s going on right now in our environment. So far, my thesis work has mostly consisted of a side project on the improvement of a organic semester summary synthesis lab using tetrazines. It has served as both an example at how to approach reaction improvement and a very good review on organic chemistry. Only more recently have I started working on my primary thesis project. This project is focused on how manure left on the ground of feedlot pens changes as its left on the pen floors by looking at moisture content, ashing or inorganic content, combustible content, size breakdown, energy content, and hopefully will include a general elemental analysis.

David Lehmpuhl Bradley Mohar, Biology
Our research goals are pretty broad. We are using the facultative anaerobic bacteria Enterobacter aerogenes to ferment waste glycerol, produced as a byproduct in the synthesis of biodiesel, into the product ethanol. We are using a system called a continuous-flow chemostat, which naturally selects for the most fit microbes for their environment. We hope to show that over time, the chemostat will select for mutants that more efficiently convert the waste glycerol into ethanol. Many challenges have presented themselves throughout our research to this point. Our largest of these challenges has been quantifying the amount of ethanol that has been produced due to instrumentation issues. We dilute the glycerol with water giving a 10% glycerol to water ratio. Of this 10% concentration, our initial projections suggest that the bacteria convert roughly 30% of the mixture into ethanol giving a final conversion rate of about 3%. One particular area of interest is using metabolic engineering and gene modification to increase our ethanol yields. The goal of our project is to take this waste product and convert it into something of value that can help alleviate the price of its production. Considering that ethanol is essential to the synthesis of biodiesel, and that some microbes can convert glycerol into ethanol, we believe that our experiment can contribute to the economic viability of its production. If we can develop a microbe that can convert the waste glycerol into ethanol companies could use it to get value from what is currently another cost.

MAS BioEnergy
National Science Foundation

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