Esteban Gazel and Allison Chatrchyan receive Atkinson Venture Fund (AVF) Grants

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According to the Atkinson Center website, "the Academic Venture Fund (AVF) is an incubator for the next generation of sustainable solutions. The AVF seeds original, interdisciplinary research that is not likely to find funding elsewhere because the projects are novel, risky, need early data to establish traction, or involve new teams working together. AVF projects often draw in external partners in industry, government, and nongovernmental organizations.  The AVF provides roughly $1.5 million in funding annually, typically supporting 10-15 projects a year across a range of energy, environment, and economic development concerns."

From the Cornell Chronicle: 

Mining Rare Earth Elements With Engineered Microorganisms: Rare earth elements (REEs) are critical ingredients of sustainable energy technologies including automotive electric motors and batteries. Extracting trace amounts of these elements from ore is a complicated process that produces large quantities of toxic waste and poses serious environmental challenges. Researchers will employ cutting-edge systems and synthetic biology, geochemistry and microsystems engineering to explore using Gluconobacter oxydans, a naturally occurring microbe, to extract REEs from ore through commercially viable and efficient bio-leaching, therefore lowering the carbon footprint of smart energy systems that require these critical ingredients.

Investigators: Buz Barstow, biological and environmental engineering; Esteban Gazel, earth and atmospheric sciences; Mingming Wu, biological and environmental engineering.

Design Research for Carbon Removal: As the urgency of climate change creates ecological, economic and social uncertainty, design research will be an increasingly important tool. A new interdisciplinary team – with expertise in landscape architecture, architecture, climate-smart agriculture, soils and life-cycle analysis – will hold a series of joint fact-finding workshops with external partners and stakeholders to design prototypes for climate-positive buildings and landscapes for the Finger Lakes region.

Investigators: Jamie Vanucchi, landscape architecture; Timur Dogan, architecture; Johannes Lehmann, soil and crop sciences; Allison Chatrchyan, earth and atmospheric sciences; Fengqi You, chemical and biomolecular engineering; Maria Goula, landscape architecture.

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