Do you want to help make building the most fuel-efficient vehicle possible? Support the Mines Triathlon Team? With the launch of the spring semester Gold Mine crowdfunding projects there are eight Mines student causes to get behind, no matter where your interests lie.
Colorado School of Mines’ official crowdfunding platform is only in its second semester of operation, but has raised over $32,000 with 16 different teams taking advantage of this new fundraising opportunity so far.
Students and faculty members alike have been planning and working for months to get their ideas off the ground. Spring projects:
- Helping the newly-established Filmmakers at Mines Club purchase essential video and audio equipment to serve as a resource for campus.
- Designing and building an ultra-efficient, battery-powered vehicle to compete in the Shell-Eco Marathon in Detroit, MI.
- Covering registration costs to allow up to 40 students attend the Society of Petroleum Engineers Annual Technical Conference in San Antonio, TX.
- Building a footbridge for a remote community in Nicaragua to provide residents access to essential resources. Students will be working through the Mines Without Borders program.
- Furnishing the inside of the Mines Tiny House project to complete the build and prepare the team to compete in the 2019 Solar Decathlon.
- Subsidizing race fees for the athletes of the Mines Club Triathlon Team to allow them to compete in prominent races in the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Triathlon Conference.
- Hosting the National Concrete Canoe Competition for the American Society of Civil Engineers on the Mines campus.
- Building an off-road vehicle for the Society of Automotive Engineers Baja Competition.
The majority of projects just launched within the last week. However, two teams are nearing the completion of their campaigns and are looking for a last-minute push through the finish line.
As the exclusive crowdfunding platform for Colorado School of Mines, project creators see many benefits over other crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter or GoFundMe. For one, all teams keep 100 percent of what they raise with no fees. Typical crowdfunding sites take anywhere from 6 to 8 percent of the total amount raised.
Additionally, all teams are provided with a dedicated success coach to offer training in best practices and marketing. With this assistance and the backing of the Mines brand, teams hit the ground running with strategies and a community to help them accomplish their goals.
To learn more about crowdfunding at Mines, support the currently active projects, or submit a project of your own, please visit giving.mines.edu/goldmine.
Six Mines graduate students are competing in The Economist's Which MBA case competition, sponsored by NRG Energy, the leading integrated power company in the United States. NRG invited teams from universities across the world to submit a proposal to solve an energy issue, challenging them to create a financial model that enables the development of an energy system.
Team GreatMines is comprised of Micah Gowen, Sadie Fulton and Liam O'Callaghan; Team Westpaw is comprised of Walter Meeker, Phillip Ruban and August Steinbeck, all of whom study Mineral and Energy Economics in the Division of Economics and Business at Colorado School of Mines.
Entries were submitted online via video presentation and a written proposal. NRG will select the best three proposals—first place receives $10,000, second place $5,000, and third place $3,000. In addition, there is a People's Choice Award which is open to the public for voting. The team with the most votes will receive $3,000. You can vote for both Mines teams by visiting economist.com/cleanenergy and selecting Mines under “Participants.”
About Mineral and Energy Economics at Mines
Founded in 1969, this world-renowned program in the Division of Economics Business leads to MS and PhD degrees in Mineral and Energy Economics. This program attracts students from all over the world, and Mines MEE alumni are known globally for their career achievements and qualifications. Students gain the skills necessary for understanding the complex interactions of markets and policy that influence the energy, mineral and environmental industries. The program focuses on applied quantitative tools and models that form a foundation for sound business and public policy. Learn more about Mines’ Mineral and Energy Economics program.
PHOTO: Mineral and Energy Economics students Sadie Fulton, Liam O'Callaghan and Micah Gowen (Team GreatMines) and August Steinbeck, Phillip Ruban and Walter Meeker (Team Westpaw) are competing in The Economist Which MBA energy case competition.
Kelly Beard, Communication Specialist, Division of Economics and Business, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3452 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Agata Bogucka, Communications Manager, College of Earth Resource Sciences and Engineering | 303-384-2657 | email@example.com
A Colorado School of Mines PhD candidate in geochemistry is headed to France later this year after receiving a Fulbright grant to analyze European river waters, compare them to North American samples and improve methods for detecting the presence of engineered nanoparticles.
Logan Rand will spend nine months conducting research at the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris with Professor Marc Benedetti. Benedetti has previously collaborated with Rand’s advisor, Chemistry Professor James Ranville, and has sent some of his students to conduct research at Mines.
Rand’s research revolves around single-particle inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry or spICPMS, a relatively new technique for detecting engineered nanoparticles that has been developed in Ranville’s lab over the past decade. Nanoparticles are between 1 nanometer (a billionth of a meter) and 100 nanometers in size. Synthetic nanoparticles are used in industrial processes and many personal care products, such as sunscreen.
While spICPMS has worked well in controlled laboratory environments, “the challenge we’re looking at is improving our capability of detecting an engineered nanoparticle in natural systems,” Rand said. “When it enters the water system, can we detect it, and can we distinguish it from the natural background of mineral nanoparticles?”
For example, over Labor Day weekend in 2016, Rand took water samples from Clear Creek in Golden, Colo., in an attempt to measure the titanium released from the sunscreen worn by tubers and other people enjoying the water. “We’re still working on the analysis of that study,” Rand said. “It’s a tricky problem because there’s a lot of background of titanium—it’s a signal-to-noise problem. How much titanium would need to be input for us to be able to detect it above the naturally occurring level?”
Engineered nanoparticles are a concern not just because of any inherent toxic properties, but because they can persist longer than naturally occurring chemicals, further building up toxicity. “A lot of them don’t go away after water treatment,” Rand said. “Sometimes it’s not bad, and they degrade naturally on their own, but we really should be able to measure them and track their fate and transport.”
During his time in France, Rand will focus on trying to solve that background issue—“establish a baseline, what is normal for different water systems, so we can detect the anthropogenic input.” Rand will bring samples of river water from the U.S. and also compare variations in the spICPMS technique between the countries. “It’s not going to be a small undertaking,” Rand said.
The Fulbright award will also put other skills to use for Rand. “I took French classes from high school to half of college and studies in Martinique,” he said. “I never thought French would turn out to be so useful.” While he’s not fluent, he can communicate well in French and performed well in the language test that is part of the Fulbright application process.
“Fulbright really looks for students who can serve as ambassadors. It’s not just about pushing research, but also about improving relations between countries,” Rand said. “They want students who want to be culturally involved and are committed to interacting with people abroad.”
Four scientists from the US, Sweden and Switzerland, including an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Colorado School of Mines, are calling for improved research into per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, creating safer alternative chemicals and limiting their use, in a paper published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.
Ian Cousins of Stockholm University leads the team, which includes Mines’ Christopher Higgins, Jamie de Witt of East Carolina University and Zhanyun Wang of ETH Zurich. “A Never-Ending Story of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances?” was published February 22, 2017.
PFASs are a large group of man-made chemicals used in a wide variety of products, often to make them more stain-resistant, waterproof or nonstick. The health effects of PFASs in humans are not well understood, but studies have found that animals exposed at high levels resulted in changes in the function of the liver, thyroid and pancreas, and changes in hormone levels.
“More than 3,000 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances are, or have been, on the global market, yet most research continues to focus on a limited selection of rather well known long-chain PFASs,” the researchers said. “Continuing to overlook the vast majority of other PFASs is a major concern for society.”
According to Higgins and his coauthors, “for most PFASs, there is no comprehensive understanding of their environmental and human exposure routes.” This leads to difficulties in developing proactive, effective strategies for identifying and controlling exposure. The Department of Defense’s Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program recently awarded $1.5 million to Higgins to investigate how PFASs are released, travel and react to other contaminants.
The researchers believe inventing alternatives to PFASs as well as greater regulation of PFAS products is necessary. “We recommend prompt global actions to assess the hazards, exposures and risks associated with the many PFASs on the market, as the basis for effective control measures to limit the production and use of many, if not all, of these substances and their replacement PFASs,” they said.
Given the large number of these substances, the group offers several recommendations for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of research into PFASs. They advocate for:
The researchers said limiting the production and use of most, if not all, PFASs is an option if society wants to play it safe. However, it can be hard to identify alternatives for certain essential uses. “Let us start that dialogue in defining ‘essential’ and ‘non-essential’ uses of PFASs, while simultaneously developing safe alternative substances and processes for those essential uses.”
Minerals and metals are at the foundation of modern technology-based societies. Each year, the average American uses about 25 tons of earth materials. Exploration for new resources is at the front end of the mining life cycle, with mining companies spending billions of dollars per year exploring for new metal and mineral resources yet often coming up empty.
|An open-pit mining operation at the Veladero Mine in Argentina.|
The researchers have proposed a national cross-disciplinary Center for Advanced Subsurface Earth Resource Models, an industry-funded consortium that would provide exploration and mining companies worldwide with new 3-D subsurface geological models. The models would inform decision-making and risk management at all stages of the mining life cycle, from exploration to operations and including mine closure and environmental reclamation.
|A Mines geophysics student works with 3-D imaging software.|
Companies expressing interest in the consortium include those in mineral exploration and mining, software development, consulting, geochemistry and exploration geophysics and instrumentation. Federal agencies including the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the U.S. Geological Survey may also participate. Research priorities are set by the consortium’s members, who will establish an industry advisory board.
Mineral and Energy Economics students Martin Kohn, Dov Quint, August Steinbeck, Muhammad Abdullah Khawar and Phillip Ruban placed third the Columbia University Energy Symposium case competition in New York City.
Five Mines graduate students placed third, winning $500 at the Columbia University Energy Symposium case competition in New York City on Feb. 2. Muhammad Abdullah Khawar, Martin Kohn, Dov Quint, Phillip Ruban and August Steinbeck study Mineral and Energy Economics in the Division of Economics and Business at Colorado School of Mines.
This competition allowed teams to present creative and innovative solutions for critical challenges facing the energy and environment sectors. Students also had the opportunity to interact with professionals, professors and students in the energy sector.
Learn more about the Columbia University Energy Symposium.
About Mineral and Energy Economics at Mines
Founded in 1969, this world-renowned program in the Division of Economics Business leads to MS and PhD degrees in Mineral and Energy Economics. This program attracts students from all over the world, and Mines MEE alumni are known globally for their career achievements and qualifications. Students gain the skills necessary for understanding the complex interactions of markets and policy that influence the energy, mineral and environmental industries. The program focuses on applied quantitative tools and models that form a foundation for sound business and public policy. Learn more about Mines’ Mineral and Energy Economics MS and PhD programs.
Kelly Beard, Communication Specialist, Division of Economics and Business | 303-273-3452 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Agata Bogucka, Communications Manager, College of Earth Resource Sciences & Engineering | 303-384-2657 | email@example.com
Deirdre Keating, Communications Manager, College of Engineering & Computational Sciences | 303-384-2358 | firstname.lastname@example.org