Alternative Fuels

Stephen Masutani
Methane Hydrates, Oil Spill Impacts
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Alternative Fuels

Stephen Masutani is a tenured Researcher in the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute. He was graduated from the University of Hawaii with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in1977. He earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 1980 and 1985, respectively. In 1985, he joined the Hitachi Research Laboratory of Hitachi, Ltd. in Japan, working at the Coal Technology Center on multiphase flow combustion and the development of optical diagnostics for applications in coal combustors. In 1989, Dr. Masutani returned to Hawaii where he worked at the Pacific International Center for High Technology Research on ocean thermal energy systems and ocean sequestration of CO2, until joining the faculty of the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 1994. His areas of specialty include thermochemistry and kinetics, CO2 sequestration, methane hydrates, deep oil spills, multiphase flows, combustion, and renewable energy systems. His current research focuses on marine methane hydrates (funded by the Office of Naval Research) and deep ocean oil spills (funded by the American Petroleum Institute, Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, and Chevron-MIT University Partnership Program).

Scott Q.Turn
Integrated Bioenergy Systems, Gasification
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Scott Turn is a Researcher on the faculty of the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute at the University of Hawaii. Over the past 20 years, his research has focused on biomass resources in Hawaii and their utilization. This work has been supported by both the public and private sectors. Research interests include biomass resource assessment, biomass feedstock processing and characterization, thermochemical conversion, hot gas cleaning, fuel reforming, and biofuel properties. In 2009, he headed the team that developed the bioenergy master plan for the State of Hawaii.

Michael J. Cooney
Biological Processing of Biomass, Anaerobic Digestion
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Michael Cooney is a tenured Researcher in the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute. He graduated from the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 1986. He earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of California at Davis (UCD) in 1988 and 1992, respectively. Upon graduation he joined the Department of Food Science at UCD where he researched the application of micro and ultrafiltration to concentrate cheese whey and the rheological properties of food protein gels made from concentrated cheese whey protein, From 1994 to 1996, Dr. Cooney passed a postdoc at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne where he applied calorimetric and stoichiometric analysis to continuous yeast culture. From 1995 to 1997 he passed his second postdoc at the University of Queensland where he modeled hyaluronic acid production in batch culture. After completing his second postdoc Dr. Cooney began his academic career in 1997 as a lecturer at the newly formed School of Engineering at Murdoch University in Western Australia. There he developed courses in mechanical and chemical thermodynamics as well as process instrumentation and control. After three years Dr. Cooney left Australia to return home to the United States where he began his US career in the Department of Ocean and Resources Engineering before transferring to the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute in 2002. His areas of specialty now include high rate anaerobic digestion, bio-oil extraction from biomass, and the analytical characterization of chemical microenvironments surrounding immobilized enzymes. His teaching at UH currently focuses on systems sustainability analysis and undergraduate thesis research.

James “Mitch” Ewan
Hydrogen Systems Program Manager
Hydrogen Systems
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Mitch Ewan is a graduate of the Royal Military College of Canada where he earned a degree in Applied Science. After a successful naval career that included command of submarines and a destroyer, Mitch entered private industry where he has served in a variety of senior executive positions including senior management (Board Member, VP & GM) of publicly traded companies. His hydrogen and fuel cell career spans over 28 years. He led the team that designed and built the “Green Car”, the world’s first PEM fuel cell powered automobile. For the past 13 years Mitch has been on the staff of the University of Hawaii’s Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (“HNEI”) as the Hydrogen Systems Program Manager where he is helping to develop HNEI’s hydrogen and fuel cell programs. Current projects include the use of electrolyzer systems for grid management, and the installation and operation of hydrogen production and dispensing systems on Oahu and the Island of Hawaii.

Jian Yu
Microbial Bioprocessing, Bioreactor Engineering, Biofuels and Biomaterials
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Jian Yu (PhD, Chemical Engineering, University of British Columbia, 1991), has over 24 years of experience in bio-based plastics, chemicals and fuels with an emphasis in chemical, biochemical and microbial conversion of renewable feedstock (e.g. agricultural residues, domestic wastes, and CO2/H2). Following his 3-year postdoctoral training in industry and academia, Dr. Yu spent 7 years at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and developed his teaching and research in biochemical and environmental engineering. Dr. Yu joined the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 2001 and participated in teaching and research in multiple programs including Marine Bioproducts Engineering, Ocean and Renewable Resource Engineering, and Molecular Bioscience and Bioengineering. With funding from the US Department of Energy, the Office of Naval Research, and private companies, he has developed active programs in bioplastics and biofuels. His current projects include: high grade drop-in liquid fuel from biomass syngas, a green refinery of CO2 and solar energy, and bioplastics from food processing wastes and lignocellulosic biomass.