Research Group Projects

Feeding 11 Billion: The Biosynthesis of High-Quality Protein from Wastewater.

Sponsor: Penn State Sustainability Seed Grant Program (Penn State IEE)
Total amount of funding: $25,000 (no overhead)
PI: Rachel Brennan (70%)
Co-PI: Joshua Lambert
Student: Benjamin Roman
Status: In Progress, July 2017 - June 2018

Sustainable Biofuel Production from Ecological Wastewater Treatment Systems: Maximizing Starch Content and Carboxylic Acid Production from Aquatic Plant Biomass.

Sponsor: Penn State Sustainability Seed Grant Program (PSIEE)
Total amount of funding: $25,000 (no overhead)
PI: Rachel Brennan (80%)
Co-PI: Charlie Anderson
Students: Ozgul Calicioglu, Nicole Urban
Status: In Progress, July 2016 - June 2017

Development of an Integrated Fixed Film Activated Sludge (IFAS) System for the Removal of Emerging Contaminants at the Penn State Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Sponsor: Penn State Wastewater Management Committee
Total amount of funding: $113,000 (no overhead)
PI: Rachel Brennan
Students: Michael Shreve, Sarah Wood
Status: In Progress, July 2015 - June 2018

Enzymatic Biocatalysis of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in Wastewater: A Sustainable Technology for Emerging Contaminants.

Funding support: National Science Foundation (NSF), Award No. CBET-1236730
Total amount of funding: $316,000
PI: Rachel Brennan (80%)
Co-PI: Frank Dorman
Students: Michael Shreve, Sarah Wood
Status: In Progress, Sept. 2012 - Aug. 2017
Video related to this work: Inspiring Engineering

Lemna in natural pond

Sustainable Engineering in Coastal Equatorial Zones: A Platform for Innovative Research, Integrated Education, and Global Engagement at the Water-Energy Nexus.

Sponsor: Penn State College of Engineering Global Engineering Leadership Program
Total amount of funding: $20,000 (no overhead)
PI: Rachel Brennan
Co-PI: David Riley
Status: Complete, Sept. 2014 - June 2016

Lemna in natural pond

Full-Circle Wastewater Treatment: Using Aquatic Biomass to Maximize Nutrient Recovery, Increase Crop Yields, and Reduce Agricultural Runoff.

Sponsor: Penn State Sustainability Seed Grant Program (PSIEE)
Total amount of funding: $25,000 (no overhead)
PI: Rachel Brennan
Co-PI: Mary Ann Bruns
Students: Andrew Kreider, Carlos Fernandez Pulido, Jonathan Caballero, Wenyan Zhang
Status: Complete, March 2014 - June 2015

Lemna in natural pond

Multi-Detection Microplate Reader for Collaborative Environmental Innovation: Meeting Current and Future Challenges in Teaching, Research, and Outreach.

Sponsor: Penn State College of Engineering Instructional and Research Equipment Grant Program
Total amount of funding: $47,264 (15% match)
PI: Rachel Brennan
Status: Complete, Sept. 2014

Beneficial Uses of Duckweed Salvaged from Ecological Wastewater Treatment Systems.

Funding support: Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, PSU
PI: Rachel Brennan
Students: Dane Kelsey, Andrew Kreider, Victoria Whyte
Status: Complete, 2011 - 2014
Video related to this work: Inspiring Engineering

Materials Translation for Bindered Anthracite Briques in Foundry Cupolas.

Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF), Award No. IIP-1127817
Total amount of funding: $366,000
PI: Fred Cannon
Co-PI: Rachel Brennan (20%)
Student: Dane Kelsey
Status: In Progress, Aug. 2011 - July 2014

Klondike-1 Crab Shell Pilot Test.

Sponsor: Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds
Total amount of funding: $15,000 (no overhead)
PI: Rachel Brennan
Project partner: Clearfield Creek Watershed Association
Students: Jessica Grembi, Sara Goots, Shan Lin
Status: Completed, 2010 - 2012

Life Cycle Assessment of Sustainable Wastewater Treatment Strategies: Toward the Development of an Enhanced Water-Energy Infrastructure.

Sponsor: Penn State Sustainability Seed Grant Program (PSIEE)
Total amount of funding: $50,000 (no overhead)
PI: Rachel Brennan
Co-PIs: Wayne Curtis, Pete Romaine, Ming Tien
Students: Abby Caporuscio, Erin Henry, Michael Shreve, Andrew Kreider
Status: Completed, 2010 - 2012

An Emerging Technology for Emerging Contaminants: Biocatalysis of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in Wastewater for Beneficial Reuse.

Sponsor: Pennsylvania Water Resources Research Institute (USGS)
Total amount of funding: $52,500 (2:1 match)
PI: Rachel Brennan
Students: Abby Caporuscio, Neil Brown, Erin Henry
Status: Completed, 2009 - 2010
News article: Clean Water Act

CAREER: Solving a Global Water Crisis in a Local Watershed: A Comprehensive Analysis of Chitin as a Multifunctional Substrate for the Treatment of Acid Mine Drainage.

Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF), Award No. CBET-0644983
Total amount of funding: $429,500
PI: Rachel Brennan
Students: Mary Ann Robinson-Lora, Caroline Newcombe, Amanda Brown, Jessica Grembi, Yishan Lin, Brad Sick, Sara Goots, Min Pack, Andrew Kreider
Status: In Progress, Feb. 2007 - Jan. 2014
Patent: US 7,959,806 B2
News article: Crustacean Cleanup

Spatial and Temporal Dynamics of a Halorespiring Community in the Presence of Trichlorothene and a Fermentable Substrate.

Funding support: Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, PSU
PI: Rachel Brennan
Student: Jennifer McElhoe
Status: Completed, 2005 - 2011

Passive Remediation of Acid Precipitation in the South Branch of Kinzua Creek.

Sponsor: Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Cooperative Agreement No. 1434-03HQRU1548 WO 16
Total amount of funding: $20,350
Amount to Brennan labs: $15,729
Co-PIs: Steven Bloser, Rachel Brennan, David Shearer, and Tyler Wagner
Student: Abby Caporuscio
Status: Completed, 2009

A Comparison of Crab-Shell vs. Insect Chitin for the Remediation of Metal-Laden Waters.

Funding support: Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, PSU
PI: Rachel Brennan
Student: Erin Henry
Status: Completed, 2008

Sustainable Treatment of Diesel Contaminated Sediments Using Spent Mushroom Compost.

Sponsor: The California Mushroom Farm, Inc.
Total amount of funding: $8,500
PI: Rachel Brennan
Student: Alessia Eramo
Status: Completed, 2007 - 2009

Passive Remediation of Acid Mine Drainage Using Chitin.

Sponsor: Pennsylvania Water Resources Research Institute (USGS)
Total amount of funding: $54,000 (2:1 match)
PI: Rachel Brennan
Students: Mary Ann Robinson-Lora, Linda Daubert
Status: Completed, 2006 - 2007

In Situ Bioremediation of Perchlorate in Vadose Zone Soil Using Gaseous Electron Donors.

Sponsor: Department of Defense (ESTCP), Award No. ER-0511
Total amount of funding: $750,148
Amount to Brennan labs: $90,211
PIs: Patrick Evans and Al Bourquin, CDM
Co-PIs: Rachel Brennan and Bruce Logan
Students: Hua Cai, Booki Min
Status: Completed, 2005 - 2007

Biological Denitrification of Drinking Water Supplies Using Chitin.

Funding support: Fulbright program; PSIE
PI: Rachel Brennan
Student: Mary Ann Robinson-Lora
Status: Completed, 2004 - 2006

SBIR Phase II: Bioremediation of Chlorinated Solvents in Saturated, Low Permeability Soils.

Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF), Award No. DMI-0239859
Total dollar amount of funding: $499,996
Amount to Brennan labs: $42,000
Co-PI: Rachel Brennan
Student: Jennifer McElhoe
Status: Completed, 2003 - 2005