A golden opportunity

Jamielee Buenemann (left) is recognized by Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA, at the National Young Women of Distinction event in New York.

Jamielee Buenemann (left) is recognized by Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA, at the National Young Women of Distinction event in New York.

Growing up in rural Missouri, Jamielee Buenemann learned firsthand that many small-town residents are wary of renewable energy.

“People think it is either too expensive or too complex,” she says.

As a high school junior, Buenemann set a goal to demystify renewable energy and make it a reality for the average citizen. She also made this project the focus of her Girl Scout Gold Award. [Read more…]

Taking the Earth’s temperature

Since installing 144 geothermal wells on campus over the past two years, Dr. Curt Elmore, professor of geological engineering, has led a couple of ongoing geothermal research projects.

Since installing 144 geothermal wells on campus over the past two years, Dr. Curt Elmore (center), professor of geological engineering, has led two ongoing geothermal research projects. Photo by Sam O’Keefe

On the surface, it looks like nothing more than a turf-covered soccer field. But the ground beneath Missouri University of Science and Technology’s intramural field houses a complex system of 144 wells, each one 400 feet deep, that supply the campus’s Gale Bullman Building with heating and cooling using geothermal energy.

That well field is also home to two ongoing geothermal research projects led by Dr. Curt Elmore, professor of geological engineering at Missouri S&T. The first project is designed to monitor possible long-term changes in the Earth’s temperature that could result from the operation of a large-scale geothermal system.

With funding from the geological engineering program and in partnership with the physical facilities department, Elmore and his team outfitted one of the wells in the center of Missouri S&T’s intramural field with eight pairs of thermocouples placed every 50 feet to measure temperature at various levels throughout the 400-foot well.

Wires connect the sensors to a small flush mount vault that looks like a water meter you might find in your yard. Nearly every day, Charlie Smith and Jordan Thompson – two students working with Elmore on the project – connect equipment to read the temperature measurements that the sensors recorded. An additional well, drilled 20 feet from the geothermal well field, provides baseline readings for comparison. Thompson, a junior in geological engineering, is working on the project as part of the Opportunities for Undergraduate Research Experiences program (OURE).

Before the geothermal system went live, the researchers collected about six weeks of background temperature data. Once the system was operational, they began to notice a change in the ground temperature.

“We observed that the average temperature did increase over the course of the summer as energy from the building was transferred to the subsurface,” says Smith, a Ph.D. candidate in geological engineering. “We are now observing the cooling of the subsurface as energy is being removed to assist in the heating of the building. We would like to record data during several full heating and cooling cycles to fully see any long-term overall warming or cooling trends.”

Over time, changes in ground temperature could effect the performance of a geothermal energy system, Elmore says.

“A ground source geothermal system works by taking heat from the air and sending it into the ground,” Elmore says. “Or we take heat from the ground and send it into the air. Here, cooling is predominant. If the ground is warmer, it can’t take on as much heat and that could effect the performance of the geothermal system,” he says. “Let’s say you want to chill a bottle of Coke, for example, and you’re used to putting it in cold water for 10 minutes. If your water gets warmer, it will take longer to cool your Coke. If it’s really cold, it will cool faster.”

An expert in groundwater remediation, Elmore is also working on a project to see if geothermal energy could be used in place of electricity to treat water as a part of an innovative desalination process.

“Geothermal energy has the potential to heat and cool water during the treatment process, thus reducing the amount of water wasted and reducing the amount of energy required to treat the water,” Elmore says.

To pilot the project, Elmore is designing a small desalination system that will fit on a utility trailer towed behind a pickup truck.

Elmore is working on the project with Dr. Mostafa Elsharquawy from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Saudi Arabia. They hope to build a water treatment facility that uses geothermal energy.

“Saudi Arabia spends millions of dollars every year changing sea water into drinking water,” Elmore says. “Geothermal energy could provide a much more cost-effective treatment system.”

Missouri S&T’s geothermal energy system – one of the most comprehensive in the nation – provides heating and cooling to 17 buildings on campus and chilled water to the majority of campus buildings. Completion of the system allowed S&T to decommission its World War II-era power plant last spring. The system is expected to cut energy usage by 50 percent and reduce the university’s carbon footprint by 25,000 metric tons per year.

By Mary Helen Stoltz

Meeting a 20/20 challenge

Sandy Simmons-Gamble

Sandy Simmons-Gamble, fiscal assistant in the international affairs office, with one of her Borzoi dogs. Simmons-Gamble donated $30,000 to S&T to establish the Milton L. Simmons Endowed Scholarship in Ceramic Engineering in honor of her late father. Photo by Sam O’Keefe

When Milton L. Simmons, 1949 ceramic engineering graduate, died in 2005, his daughter knew she wanted to do something special to honor his memory.

“My father loved this university,” says Sandy Simmons-Gamble, fiscal assistant in the international affairs office at Missouri S&T. “He always had so many stories about his time at Rolla and about the education he got — what it meant to him. He loved his time here and truly appreciated his education.”

Gamble was an administrative assistant in the development office in early 2013 when the University of Missouri System announced the 20/20 Challenge.

Through the 20/20 Challenge, the UM System would give Missouri S&T $400,000 in state funds to create 20 need-based scholarships, but S&T had to raise matching funds in private donations.

Gamble accepted that challenge and donated $30,000 to establish the Milton L. Simmons Endowed Scholarship in Ceramic Engineering. The state matched $20,000, bringing the total endowment to $50,000. Like all of the scholarships established through the 20/20 Challenge, Gamble’s scholarship will be awarded to a student who qualifies for the federal Pell Grant program, which provides tuition assistance to undergraduates from economically disadvantaged families.

The Milton L. Simmons scholarship will go to a Missouri S&T student in ceramic engineering.

“My father worked at Ferro Corp. in Cleveland, Ohio, his entire career,” Gamble says. “He started as a ceramic engineer, traveling to places like Japan and South America with my mother. After a few years, Ferro sent him to law school and he became the company’s patent attorney.

“I always thought that when I was able to, this would be something to honor him,” Gamble says. “He was a brilliant man. Growing up here, I’ve always had high opinions of this school. Missouri S&T has produced some really impressive people who have gone on to do some amazing things. I thought this would be a good way to honor my father and at the same time, help a future leader.”

Gamble raises Borzoi, dogs that used to be known as Russian Wolfhounds, on a farm outside Rolla. She shows her own dogs and is approved by the American Kennel Club to judge four breeds in Conformation Dog Shows, as well as all breeds in Lure Coursing.

For more information about giving opportunities, visit giving.mst.edu.

By Mary Helen Stoltz

A league of his own

A league of his own

Historian and former minor league first baseman Russ Buhite has a unique perspective on baseball’s last serious attempt to form a third major league, the Continental League. Photo by Sam O’Keefe

Before he became an author and a history professor, Russell D. Buhite was a minor league first baseman and outfielder for the New York Giants, the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington Senators. [Read more…]

Extreme engineering

Extreme engineering

Missouri S&T researchers are investigating ultra-high-temperature ceramics like this for use in hypersonic vehicles and other extreme environments. Photo by Sam O’Keefe

Through the Enabling Materials for Extreme Environments signature area, Bill Fahrenholtz and Greg Hilmas are testing the thermal and mechanical properties of  ceramics to find out what makes them stronger. They are investigating ultra-high-temperature materials for a variety of applications, including clean energy production, advanced propulsion systems and hypersonic flight vehicles. We sat down with the two Curators’ Professors of ceramic engineering to learn more about their research. [Read more…]

The turf is always greener

The grass is always greener

Missouri S&T students and alumni partnered to cover Jackling Field at Allgood-Bailey Stadium with synthetic turf.

Last fall, the intramural field near Missouri S&T’s Gale Bullman Multi-Purpose Building was torn up to make way for the campus’s geothermal energy project. Rather than reseed the field, Missouri S&T students voted to use $1.8 million in activity fees to cover the intramural field – and Jackling Field in Allgood-Bailey Stadium – with artificial turf. [Read more…]

Mr. Fixit

Thanks to Dan Fuhrmann, Missouri S&T students can make bicycle repairs right outside the library.

Thanks to Dan Fuhrmann, Missouri S&T students can make bicycle repairs right outside the library. Photo by Sam O’Keefe.

Cyclist Dan Fuhrmann, owner of Route 66 Bicycles in Rolla and a 1999 mechanical engineering graduate of Missouri S&T, wants to make S&T the model of a bicycle-friendly campus. To help make things easier for campus cyclists, Fuhrmann donated a Dero Fixit stand, an ADA-compliant bicycle-repair station. It was installed outside Curtis Laws Wilson Library last fall. [Read more…]

‘The Dead and Those About to Die’

John McManus recently released his 11th book. Photo by Sam O'Keefe.

Missouri S&T historian John McManus recently released his 11th book. Photo by Sam O’Keefe.

Watch the video interview:

Despite prolific historical documentation of D-Day, there are still unanswered questions 70 years later, especially surrounding Omaha Beach. John C. McManus, a military historian at Missouri S&T, attempts to answer them in his latest book, The Dead and Those About to Die — D-Day: The Big Red One at Omaha Beach, which was published by NAL Caliber in April.

[Read more…]

Examining the JFK news leak controversy

Patrick Huber shows a picture of Father Huber from his latest book, "He’s Dead All Right: Father Oscar L. Huber, the Kennedy Assassination, and the News Leak Controversy." Photo by B.A. Rupert.

Patrick Huber shows a picture of Father Huber from his latest book, “He’s Dead All Right: Father Oscar L. Huber, the Kennedy Assassination, and the News Leak Controversy.” Photo by B.A. Rupert.

On the day President John F. Kennedy was shot, Time magazine Washington correspondent Hugh Sidey, one of a group of reporters who had gathered outside Parkland Hospital in Dallas, claimed two priests left the building and one of them leaked the news of Kennedy’s death before the White House could make an official statement.

[Read more…]

40 years of public radio history

Wayne Bledsoe, longtime host of “Bluegrass for a Saturday Night” and general manager of KMST, is helping the station celebrate 40 years on the air waves. Photo by B.A. Rupert

Wayne Bledsoe, longtime host of “Bluegrass for a Saturday Night” and general manager of KMST, is helping the station celebrate 40 years on the air waves. Photo by B.A. Rupert

On Aug. 1, 1973, “Bluegrass for a Saturday Night” introduced area radio listeners to what would become an institution in public radio. Since then, KMST has broadcast an eclectic mix of music and NPR news and garnered a worldwide following.

  • KMST, then known as KUMR, celebrated its first decade on the air in the 1980s. Pictured above on the back row are Scott Dowd, Jim Sigler, Wayne Bledsoe, Lee Buhr and Norm Movitz. Pictured on the front row are Chuck Knapp, Kelly Hughe and Joyce Jella. Three of these staffers – Bledsoe, Movitz and Knapp – still work at the station.

    KMST, then known as KUMR, celebrated its first decade on the air in the 1980s. Pictured above on the back row are Scott Dowd, Jim Sigler, Wayne Bledsoe, Lee Buhr and Norm Movitz. Pictured on the front row are Chuck Knapp, Kelly Hughes and Joyce Jella. Three of these staffers – Bledsoe, Movitz and Knapp – still work at the station.

  • During membership drives, on-air staff work to raise money for the station and build the station’s membership – and they have fun doing it, as Wayne Bledsoe (at the microphone) and Lee Buhr demonstrate.

    During membership drives, on-air staff work to raise money for the station and build the station’s membership – and they have fun doing it, as Wayne Bledsoe (at the microphone) and Lee Buhr demonstrate.

[Read more…]

A man with a plan

Michael Bouchard has his future carefully planned. Photo by B.A. Rupert

Michael Bouchard has a 15-year plan for personal success. Photo by B.A. Rupert

Do you know where you will be five years from now? How about 10 years from now? Michael Bouchard does. He has a 15-year plan for personal success and has carefully outlined every step required to get him there.

Watch the video:

[Read more…]

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