Illinois Sustainable Technology Center - University of Illinois

ISTC News Highlights

ISTC Feted for Leadership in Pollution Prevention and Sustainability

Illinois Governor's Sustainability Award Trophies The 30th Anniversary Celebration of the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) on Nov. 9 brought together some of its founding fathers and significant players that put Illinois at the forefront of pollution prevention and sustainability. It was a great time to look back... and to the future. Learn MORE

Power Plant at University of Illinois Proposed as Site for New Carbon Capture Technology

Illinois Governor's Sustainability Award Trophies The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has selected a multi-national team led by the University of Illinois to develop a proposal for retrofitting the University's Abbott Power Plant in order to capture the CO2 emissions. The team includes ISTC and the Illinois State Geological Survey at the U of I – both part of the Prairie Research Institute, and the Linde Group and BASF (developers of capture technology), Affiliated Engineering, and Burns & McDonnell. The Phase I award is for detailed engineering and planning and is slated to have a total value of approximately $1.3 million. This is the first time the DOE has sponsored a large-scale pilot R&D project for the capture of CO2 emissions. Learn MORE

Cheap Technique Provides New Fracking Water Tracking Tag

Illinois Governor's Sustainability Award Trophies A multi-disciplinary team at the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has developed a quick and inexpensive technique to screen for water contamination from fracking oil recovery operations. The technique targets fluorescent compounds in the “produced” waters generated from oil extraction wells, meaning that a distinct marker for different companies could be introduced to fracking compounds that then could identify specific sources of any subsequent contamination. MORE

Illinois Governor's Sustainablity Award Winners Announced

Illinois Governor's Sustainability Award Trophies Nineteen Illinois companies and organizations were honored October 27 at the Chicago Sheraton Hotel and Towers for their demonstrated leadership in implementing sustainable principles and practices. The Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Awards, the “Emmy Awards for Sustainability,” were presented to 12 first time winners including Chicago's Shedd Aquarium, ComEd and Cook County. See the News Release for more information.

Examining the Problem of Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in the Environment

Personal Care ProductsThe occurrence of emerging contaminants such as pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs) and steroid hormones in our waterways has been recognized as a critical environmental issue. To learn more about new research in that area and to provide opportunities for collaborations, ISTC has organized a consortium of researchers and individuals interested in working together to advance the state of knowledge about these contaminants - their fate, transport, and environmental and human health effects. The group met on Thurs., Sept. 24,and will be meeting again in Dec. as part of a series of quarterly meetings. If you are interested in joining the consortium, please contact Nancy Holm

In addition, on April 4, 2016, ISTC is organizing a conference , along with IL-IN Sea Grant and funded by the U of I Extension, titled "PPCPs in the Environment". The event will be held at the I-Hotel Conference Center in Champaign. The call for abstracts will be announced in December. More information on the conference will be available on the ISTC website at that time.

IL Green Office Challenge logo The winners of the 2014-15 Illinois Green Office Challenge were announced on June 11 in Champaign. The U.S. Army Corps Construction Engineering Research Laboratories were the champions of the challenge which empowers Illinois workplaces to reduce waste and save energy and water.
More on the competition winners

Indoor Air Quality Studies Promote Human Health in Alaska

Varities of Common CookstovesThe Center's Indoor Climate Research and Training group is working with the Tlingit-Haida Regional Housing Authority in Southeast Alaska to perform measurements that help assess how indoor and neighborhood air pollution are affected by burning solid fuel for heating. More on indoor air quality research

Sketch of a faucet with water flowing out to form the word 'one' for the one billion gallon water challengeBillion Gallon Water Challenge

ISTC is encouraging people, businesses, organizations and others to help reduce water consumption in Illinois. It has a goal of saving one billion gallons as part of its One Billion Gallon Water Challenge efforts.

button links to news digest which a list of archived news stories about ISTC

button links to the ISTC thirtieth anniversary celebration web page which will be held on November 9 and 10

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    Researcher Spotlight



    Wei Zheng
    Senior Research Scientist

    Dr. Wei Zheng is a Senior Research Scientist in ISTC's Applied Research on Industrial Environmental Systems Program. His current research primarily focuses on: (i) emerging contaminants (e.g., pharmaceutical and personal care products and natural hormones) associated with water quality and water reuse; (ii) fate and transport of pesticides and endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in the environment; (iii) biochar production and application as a soil amendment for sequestrating carbon and improving soil quality; and (iv) post-combustion carbon capture. He joined ISTC in 2008.

    Zheng has published over 70 scientific articles, and has been invited to speak at over 50 national and international conferences. Since 2009, he has won over a million dollars in grant funds to pursue his research.

    Zheng earned a Ph.D. in Environmental Chemistry from Zhejiang University in China. Prior to joining ISTC, he worked as a research scientist at the USDA-ARS Salinity Laboratory and the University of California, Riverside. Zheng is also an adjunct faculty member with the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science (NRES) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He serves as associate editor and/or on the editorial board for several scientific journals such as Journal of Environmental Quality, and on a number of grant review panels.

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