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Sustainable Technology Center

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  • Aerial view of fully installed submerged rubble ridges

    Underwater innovation at Illinois Beach State Park to help mitigate coastal erosion

    This past summer, with funding from the EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a US Army Corps of Engineers crane carefully placed over 10,000 tons of stone five hundred feet offshore of Illinois Beach State Park (ISBP) and Hosah Park, a Zion Park District property wedged between the north and south units of IBSP. These stones form three “rubble ridges” that are intended to work in concert to lessen storm waves and protect the eroding beach and unique terrestrial ecosystem in the dunes while preserving views and enhancing fish habitat.

  • Microplastics on the move: research projects detect microplastics in water and on land

    At the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC), researcher John Scott is studying microplastics in landfills, rural streams, and city drinking water to further understand where they are coming from and how they move in the environment.

  • part of the biphasic solvent system

    Technology to absorb CO₂ at power plants is promising

    Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) researchers have given the thumbs up to an innovative biphasic solvent system for its efficiency and effectiveness in absorbing CO₂ from flue gas in a coal-fired power plant at the University of Illinois (U of I).

  • direct air capture technology from Carbon Capture

    PRI to lead direct air capture FEED study at U. S. Steel’s Gary Works

    The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory has selected the Prairie Research Institute to lead a front-end engineering design study of a carbon dioxide direct air capture and utilization system. By using waste heat and energy from U. S. Steel’s Gary Works in Gary, Indiana, the project's energy and transportation costs can be minimized. 

  • ISTC seeks partner for USDA composting and food waste reduction project

    ISTC seeks an eligible organization to be the lead applicant on a collaborative proposal through the USDA Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production's Composting and Food Waste Reduction (CFWR) pilot program. ISTC's TAP staff will provide support on the cooperative agreement through zero waste technical assistance, education, and outreach. Contact TAP to learn more about this partnership opportunity.

  • ISTC engineer Stephanie Brownstein gestures toward carbon capture equipment at Abbott Power Plant while speaking to visitors from the Department of Energy and Doosan Corporation

    ISTC leads extensive portfolio of carbon capture projects

    Visitors from the U.S. Department of EnergyNational Energy Technology Laboratory (DOE-NETL) recently toured multiple carbon capture projects led by the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC).

    Because the unique geology of Illinois provides extensive potential to store carbon dioxide deep underground, the state is also an ideal location to develop, demonstrate, and deploy technologies to capture CO2 from point sources, remove CO2 from the ambient air, and beneficially use CO2. ISTC scientists and engineers are leaders in this research, conducting a number of carbon capture, removal, and use projects backed by funding from the Department of Energy.

  • Joy Scrogum

    Joy Scrogum recognized as P2 Ambassador by National Pollution Prevention Roundtable

    The National Pollution Prevention Roundtable (NPPR) has recognized ISTC assistant sustainability scientist Joy Scrogum as the recipient of the 2022 Fred Granek Memorial P2 Ambassador Award.

  • ISTC scientist John Scott featured in new video, "The Plastic Problem"

    Illinois Sustainable Technology Center's John Scott is featured in a new video, "The Plastic Problem," developed by the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment. The video is an excellent introduction to the plastic issue and is just a three-minute watch.

  • Doug Brown, CWLP, Chief Engineer 2. State Senator Sally Turner 3. State Senator Doris Turner 4. Alderman Ralph Hanauer 5. President Timothy Killeen, U of I 6. Mayor Jim Langfelder of Springfield 7. Lynn Brickett, DOE HQ, Point Source Carbon Capture Director 8. Dr. Praveen Kumar, U of I, Prairie Research Institute, Executive Director 9. Todd Spengeman, BASF, Director of Standard Amines & Gas Treatment 10. Susan Martinis 11. Domonic Cianchetti, Linde (engineering for capture system), Senior Vice President 12. Dr. Kevin OBrien, Director Illinois Sustainable Technology Center & Illinois State Water Survey (Principal Investigator), U of I

    Prairie Research Institute breaks ground for carbon capture pilot at CWLP

    Officials from the University of Illinois, the City of Springfield, the State of Illinois, and the U.S. Department of Energy for a groundbreaking ceremony for a 10-megawatt carbon capture project at City, Water, Light, and Power’s (CWLP) in Springfield, Ill. The post-combustion carbon capture system is recognized as one of the world’s largest carbon capture pilots.

  • Two workers pack fruit into a crate at Rendleman Orchard. Photo courtesy of Rendleman Orchard.

    Farm to Food Bank project featured at From Food to Flowers: Everything Local conference

    ISTC's Farm to Food Bank project was featured at the recent From Food to Flowers: Everything Local conference in Springfield. The program included a panel presentation with Farm to Food Bank project partners and the presentation of a Friend of the Food Bank award to Rendleman Orchards for their work with the initiative.

  • ISTC scientist is set to develop technology addressing water contaminated with PFAS

    Man-made per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS), known as “forever chemicals,” withstand many treatment options and bioaccumulate in the environment, posing serious environmental and health concerns. With a three-year, nearly $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP), Illinois Sustainable Technology Center  (SERDP), Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) scientists are developing a new technology to remove and destroy PFAS from contaminated water using a designer biochar produced from woody biomass or agricultural residues such as corn stalks and cobs.

  • Legionella pneumophila bacteria

    Institutional Water Treatment program service helps combat the spread of Legionnaires’ disease

    The Institutional Water Treatment program (IWT), part of the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center's Technical Assistance Program, provides unbiased, professional water treatment advice to facilities equipped with institutional water systems such as cooling towers, chillers, and boilers. Their services range from presenting on-site training and seminars to providing chemical specifications and making recommendations for a comprehensive water treatment program to control corrosion, mineral scale formation, and biological growth.  IWT now offers on-site water sample collection and two laboratory test methods for L. pneumophila detection.

  • Peaches in a large wooden crate

    ISTC Farm to Food Bank project publishes case studies highlighting recent collaborations

    The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center's Farm to Food Bank project recently published six case studies of their work with farmers during the 2022 growing season. Each case study includes a summary of the project, as well as lessons learned.

  • Two hands joining puzzle pieces

    ISTC TAP offers free sustainability training for Illinois manufacturers

    ISTC TAP recently launched an innovative training program focused on increasing the competitiveness of Illinois manufacturers by reducing environmental impacts and costs. The project is funded by a grant from U.S. EPA. 

  • Scientists study how a diabetes drug affects soils

    In a recent study, ISTC environmental chemist Wei Zheng and colleagues investigated the adsorption of sitagliptin in soils treated with sewage wastewater.

  • Direct air capture system

    PRI selected to lead feasibility studies for three Regional Direct Air Capture (DAC) Hubs

    PRI was selected to lead an effort to promote promising technologies that can capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and store it underground at three different sites in Illinois, Colorado, and Florida. Read the full announcement from the Department of Energy (DOE) here.

  • Vegetables

    New law fosters farmers’ fresh produce donations to Illinois food banks

    With Governor JB Pritzker’s signature on House Bill 2879, the Farm to Food Bank Program has been established in Illinois. The program helps farmers donate their surplus produce to local food banks and assists more than 1 million Illinoisans facing food insecurity. An ongoing three-year Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) effort, which includes a feasibility study and pilot projects, has proven that the program can be successful in Illinois.

  • Clouds

    PRI joins prestigious Direct Air Capture Coalition

    Following an unprecedented win of Direct Air Capture (DAC) Hubs earlier this month, the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC), part of the Prairie Research Institute (PRI) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign was invited to join the Direct Air Capture Coalition (DAC Coalition), in part, due to the commercial success of its point-source carbon capture and its decades of experience in permanently storing CO2 underground at a commercial scale.

  • Direct air capture system

    PRI tapped to lead feasibility studies for three regional Direct Air Capture (DAC) hubs

    This once-in-a-generation investment in infrastructure will support efforts to build a clean and equitable energy economy that achieves a zero-carbon energy system by 2035 and to put the United States on a path to strengthen energy prosperity and achieve net-zero emissions economy-wide by no later than 2050. 

    PRI is specifically tasked with executing feasibility and pre-feasibility studies of potential DAC Hub locations, ownership structures, business models, CO2 storage/utilization option(s), and technology partner(s) outlined in the following stage 1 of potential multi-stage projects in Illlinois, Colorado, and Florida.

  • Wasted food

    Small food businesses in Chicago tackle food waste

    In an Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) pilot project, a few small food businesses in Chicago learned that there are other, feasible options for handling wasted food than throwing it away. Composting, for one, works well for businesses that have access to compost hauling services.

  • Cultivating Innovation: The Intersection of Geography, Climate, and Agricultural Research in Illinois

    Since its inception in 2008, the Prairie Research Institute has conducted long-term monitoring of Illinois’ water, soil, and climate. These data, including growing and pest degree days, soil temperature and moisture, water table levels, and in-stream sediment, are used every day by thousands of Illinoisans and by the state’s agriculture, renewable energy, and construction industries.

  • wastewater treatment plant

    Study tracks emerging contaminants from landfill to treatment plant to application

    In a recent study published in an Illinois Sustainable Technology Center report, John Scott, analytical chemist at ISTC in the University of Illinois, studied the fate of microplastics and PFAS as they moved from landfill leachate, or water that filters though the mound of trash, to wastewater treatment plants and beyond.