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Marcos Miranda

Ohio State University, Ph.D.
EREF Scholar 2020

Changing the Narrative Around Industrial Solid Waste By-ProductsProject Description:
Miranda’s project addresses several legacy issues from using fossil fuels for energy production. In order to meet air quality standards, energy producers must treat effluent gas before it is released to the atmosphere. This creates enormous amounts of stabilized Flue Gas Desulfurization (sFGD) material that is normally landfilled. Landfilling presents both financial costs and environmental issues and therefore, it is important to find alternative uses for this waste material. Miranda’s research team has designed a passive treatment cell that remediates acid mine drainage (AMD) using sFGD material as the fill material for the treatment cell. AMD waters affect approximately 25,000 km’s of waterways across the United States of America each year, posing a sizable environmental risk. These waters are typically characterized as having a low pH and containing high concentrations of toxic metals and elements. This treatment cell removes the harmful metals and raises the pH of the waters due to the natural alkalinity of the sFGD material. This treatment cell and use of sFGD material, in particular, mitigates environmental impacts and the need for landfilling sFGD material. Further, once this material is spent it presents an opportunity to back fill abandoned mines to mitigate future generation of acid mine drainage. Miranda is currently working on developing a life cycle assessment model and a techno-economic assessment of the proposed system to allow us to compare to other passive treatment systems. Miranda’s research team is also looking at using waste material from other industrial processes as alternative fill material options in the treatment cell.

Miranda is a 3rd year Ph.D. student at the Ohio State University in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geodetic Engineering where he works under Professor Jeffrey Bielicki. He earned his B.S. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Delaware in 2017. He is hoping to finish his Ph.D. program in the Spring of 2023. Miranda’s passion for renewable energy and reusing “waste” materials began from a very young age; growing up many items that were considered trash would be repurposed and given new life. It is with this mentality that he approaches his research, looking at how traditional by-products of industrial processes can be used in other systems. Throughout his undergraduate and Ph.D. career, Miranda has worked on a variety of projects ranging from designing and testing portable toilets for developing nations to using fuel cell technology to create a humidity-controlled environment.