Sept. 8, 2011
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Three interdisciplinary research teams will embark on investigations this fall to examine consumer use of multimodal transportation and the development of new biofuels as effective alternatives to existing fossil fuels.
The work is funded through the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute’s Partnerships for Innovation in Sustainable Energy Technologies (PISET) program. This fall’s awards represent the second round of PISET funding, which supports the appointment of MMPEI research fellows for each competitively selected team. The teams’ research bridges traditional disciplines to offer a better understanding of sustainable energy science, technology, or policy. The winning Fall 2011 collaborations are:
- “Consumer Uptake of Seamless Multimodal Mobility: Energy and Sustainability Implications” Investigators from the University of Michigan SMART program, a project of U-M Transportation Research Institute and Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, will examine how physical and informational connectivity, including access to real-time, integrated information on multi-modal transportation (car and car-share, taxi, rail, bus, bike, ferries, etc.) affects consumers’ travel choices and energy consumption. The study will examine barriers to the use of sustainable transportation, including the inconvenience associated with lack of connectivity and service predictability. The study will also explore the development of integrative, cost-effective technologies including mobile Internet systems to address use issues. Regions of interest in the study include Los Angeles, Portland, Ore., Beijing and potentially other major Chinese cities. The research team includes Principal Investigators David Chock and Richard Gonzalez, project lead Susan Zielinski and Peter Sweatman as a key advisor.
- “Integrated Enzyme and Pathway Engineering for Hydrocarbon Biofuels” Researchers from the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts’ (LSA) Department of Chemistry and the College of Engineering’s Chemical Engineering Department will explore production of E. coli bacteria strains that can convert renewable biomass sources into next generation biofuels that have properties closer to gasoline and diesel than today’s ethanol or vegetable oil-based biodiesel fuels. Principal Investigators Neil Marsh and Xiaoxia (Nina) Lin will lead this basic science and engineering collaboration.
- “Metabolic Engineering of Yeast for Biofuel Production” Scientists from the College of Pharmacy’s Department of Medicinal Chemistry and LSA’s Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology Department will investigate the potential of converting fatty acids into hydrocarbons for liquid biofuel production. The work builds on metabolic engineering technology developed in Principal Investigator David Sherman’s lab. Sherman and his co-PI, Anuj Kumar, will initially deploy this technology in yeast cells and eventually into algae strains as the means for creating biodiesel and biojet fuel. Sherman and Kumar each operate labs within the Life Sciences Institute, which also supports this PISET.
Contact: Paul Gargaro, Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute, 734-615-5678, firstname.lastname@example.org.