Executive Director, Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment
Director, Russ College Biofuels Laboratory
Associate Professor of Civil Engineering
Department of Civil Engineering
Russ College of Engineering and Technology,Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs
Dr. Stuart is a campus, community and state leader in the quest to develop more sustainable energy resources. He has been instrumental in the university's success with biofuels research and production, both on his own and in collaborative research with colleagues from many varied disciplines.
With the Ohio River Valley having the highest concentration of coal burning plants in the country, Stuart and his colleagues set a goal to tackle the dangerous emissions the plants release. Taking cues from the naturally occurring photosynthesis process, they developed a bioreactor to "grow" blue-green algae for use in industrial smokestacks to capture carbon dioxide and prevent the gas from spewing into the atmosphere.
They chose algae for its ability to withstand the high temperatures in smokestacks and to absorb the carbon dioxide without being destroyed. That choice proved to be valuable for another reason as well - biodiesel. Once the sheets are removed from the smokestacks, Stuart's team extracts oil from inside the algae's cell membranes, turning it into a cleaner, alternative diesel fuel.
In his roles as Executive Director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment (ISEE) and Director of the Biofuels Lab, Stuart and his team are researching ways to decrease the environmental impact of our current energy production, as well as researching new types of alternative energy. In addition to algae-based biofuels, they also work on ways to utilize used cooking grease and sunflower oil.
The ISEE also includes the university's Ohio Coal Research Center, the Center for Air Quality and the Center for Electrochemical Engineering Research. The organization fosters partnerships between universities, business, governments and community groups to meet the region's need for economic development and utilization of energy resources while ensuring environmental protection and public health and safety.
In 2010, the university was awarded a $3 million grant from the state's Third Frontier Wright Projects Program for algae research. The university will serve as a testing ground for a statewide coalition of public institutions and private companies engaged in developing algae technologies, including Cleveland-based Algae Producers of America, which was instrumental in helping Ohio University pursue the Third Frontier grant.
Stuart is also registered by the State of Ohio as a professional environmental engineer and devotes his time and expertise to Ohio University's watershed restoration projects, cleaning and revitalizing water sources desecrated by acid mine drainage on abandoned mine lands in the region.
The forward-thinking researcher also practices what he teaches - be sure to ask him about his Ford Excursion that he runs on biodiesel made from used grease from the university's dining halls!
Stuart's Media Placements include:
Solving Environmental Problems with Engineering Technology
Areas of Expertise