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UMES STEM Faculty, Students, and Staff Collaborate to Address Contemporary Issues Related to Energy, Environment, and Sustainable Agriculture

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Developing Young MINDS in Engineering, Part II

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1383.1 - 25.1383.8



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Paper Authors


Abhijit Nagchaudhuri University of Maryland, Eastern Shore

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Abhijit Nagchaudhuri is currently a professor in the Department of Engineering and Aviation Sciences at University of Maryland, Eastern Shore. Nagchaudhuri is a member of ASME and ASEE professional societies and is actively involved in teaching and research in the fields of robotics and control, remote sensing and precision agriculture, and biofuels and renewable energy. He received his M.S. degree from Tulane University in 1989 and Ph.D. degree from Duke University in 1992.

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Madhumi Mitra Ph.D. University of Maryland, Eastern Shore

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Terry John Teays Johns Hopkins University


Craig S. T. Daughtry USDA-ARS Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory

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Craig S.T. Daughtry is a Research Agronomist at USDA-ARS Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory in Beltsville, Md. He received his Ph.D. in agronomy from Purdue University and is a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy. He actively collaborates with faculty at UMES on remote sensing and precision agriculture related efforts.

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Jurgen G. Schwarz University of Maryland, Eastern Shore

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Jurgen G. Schwarz is the Acting Dean of the School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences and 1890 Research Director at the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore. He is also the Director of the Food Science and Technology Ph.D. program. The teaching, research, and outreach activities of this program focus on the safety and quality of poultry, seafood, and produce. Schwarz is focusing his research and teaching activities on food processing, food safety, and food defense.
Schwarz received a M.S. degree in food engineering from Hohenheim University, Stuttgart, Germany, and a Ph.D. in food science and technology from Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. Prior to his academic career, he worked as a Project Manager in the Technical Research Department at a General Foods subsidiary in Bremen, Germany, on product and process development projects.

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Lurline Marsh

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UMES STEM FACULTY, STUDENTS, AND STAFF COLLABORATE TO ADDRESS CONTEMPORARY ISSUES RELATED TO ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, AND SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTUREAbstract“The Bio-Fuel, Sustainability, and Geospatial Information Technologies to Enhance ExperientialLearning Paradigm for Precision Agriculture Project”, recently funded by the United StatesDepartment of Agriculture (USDA) extends the environmental stewardship archetype of thepreceding project titled “Environmentally Conscious Precision Agriculture: A Platform for ActiveLearning and Community Engagement” (completed in September 2011). The initial phase of theproject to demonstrate the production of biodiesel using waste vegetable oil (WVO) from campusdining services has been successfully executed by UMES student team. Under the supervision ofthe project leaders, the students have worked in teams to collect, dewater, and filter the WVO;supported the acquisition of supplies and installation of the biodiesel processor; performednecessary titration and laboratory tests on the WVO to determine appropriate amounts ofchemicals ( sodium hydroxide, methanol, and sulfuric acid) to be used with a batch of WVO inthe processor for the esterification and transesterification reactions; and operated and monitoredthe 48 hour biodiesel production and washing cycle of the processor. Besides biodiesel theprocess produces glycerin as byproduct. The glycerin has been used to produce soap successfullyby the students. Students have also tested ‘gelling’ tendency of different blends of biodiesel andare currently working with the UMES farm manager to identify and appropriately modify farmequipment for biodiesel use. Students are also working with the university safety office to refinesafety considerations to comply with OSHA and municipality requirements. Students will beinvolved in managing broader logistics of scheduling the processor operation for biodieselproduction and utilization, based on needs of the farm equipment. The project team plans torefine the processing of glycerin by-product to improve the aesthetics, fragrance, and otherqualitative parameters of the soap so that they may sell it for possible fund-raising efforts forselected student organizations.The project leaders have encouraged all “STEAM” (science, technology, engineering, agriculture,and mathematics) majors to participate in the ongoing efforts and are exploring involvement ofinterested business, human ecology, and fine-arts students to address some of the new dimensionsof the project. Maryland Space Grant Consortium has provided supplementary support forinterested undergraduate students, particularly from the underserved population to get involved.The broader scope of the project includes use of biodiesel, a carbon neutral energy source, for usewith farm equipment and as an alternative transportation fuel to address climate change andsustainable energy related issues. Furthermore, the project will continue to address use of remotesensing and advanced geospatial information technology tools to optimize use of nutrients, water,and other resources for efficient production agriculture practices that are critical to provide foodfor a growing population on the planet in a sustainable fashion.

Nagchaudhuri, A., & Mitra, M., & Teays, T. J., & Daughtry, C. S. T., & Schwarz, J. G., & Marsh, L. (2012, June), UMES STEM Faculty, Students, and Staff Collaborate to Address Contemporary Issues Related to Energy, Environment, and Sustainable Agriculture Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--22140

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