Montana State University

Energy Research Institute

Montana State University
P.O. Box 172465
Bozeman, MT 59717-2465

Tel: (406) 994-1658
Fax: (406) 994-2893
E-mail: energy@montana.edu

Director

Lee Spangler

Assistant to the Director

Michelle Leonti

Faculty and Staff

  • Max Deibert

  • Max Deibert, an emeritus professor in chemical and biological engineering, has been working with fuel cells since the 1960s. Deibert currently works in MSU's high temperature corrosion and corrosion protection lab, where he fill a support position, providing the lab's researchers with insight and assistance drawn from his long experience with fuel cell technologies. Deibert can be reached at 406-994-5990 or at maxd@coe.montana.edu.
    Web site: www.chbe.montana.edu/SOFC/People/Deibert.html
  • Paul Gannon

  • Paul Gannon, an assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering, manages MSU's high temperature corrosion and corrosion protection lab. There, Gannon develops protective coatings and other methods to prevent corrosion on metallic interconnect plates that are vital to solid oxide fuel cell systems.
    Web site: www.chbe.montana.edu/sofc/
  • Hongwei Gao

  • In the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Hongwei Gao develops power converters for solid oxide fuel cell systems. These DC-to-AC converters condition the power produced by fuel cells. Gao has developed soft-switched converters for residential fuel cell power systems and is working on modular inverters for large-scale fuel cell systems. Gao can be reached at 406-994-5973 or at hgao@ece.montana.edu.
    Web site: www.coe.montana.edu/ee/hgao/
  • Yves Idzerda

  • Physics professor Yves Idzerda researches high-performance, low-cost solid oxide fuel cells. Idzerda focuses on the places in fuel cells where different materials meet – the "interfaces." These areas can degrade during fuel cell operation, which reduces the cell's performance and life-span. Idzerda uses X-rays to probe the interface material and find the causes of degradation, which he hopes will ultimately lead to more reliable sources of clean energy. Idzerda can be reached at 406-994-7838 or at idzerda@physics.montana.edu.
    Web site: www.physics.montana.edu/people/facview.asp?id_PersonDetails=16
  • Hashem Nehrir

  • Electrical and computer engineering professor Hashem Nehrir's research has produced physically-based, dynamic models of fuel cells that can be used to study distributed power generation and fuel cell vehicles. Nehrir also looks at how to get fuel cells and other power sources, such as wind and solar, to work together efficiently. Nehrir can be reached at 406-994-4980 or at hashemn@ece.montana.edu .
    Web sites: www.coe.montana.edu/ee/hashemn/  and   www.coe.montana.edu/ee/fuelcell
  • Hugo Schmidt

  • Physics professor emeritus Hugo Schmidt uses light scattering and nuclear magnetic resonance measurements to study materials used in solid oxide fuel cells. Schmidt wants to understand how well ions, which carry charges inside fuel cells, flow through those materials. Schmidt can be reached at 406-994-6173 or at schmidt@physics.montana.edu.
    Web site www.physics.montana.edu/people/facview.asp?id_PersonDetails=77
  • Steven R. Shaw

  • Electrical and computer engineering professor Steven Shaw is the associate director of MSU's Energy Research Institute. Since coming to MSU in 2000, Shaw has worked on getting fuel cells to respond appropriately to rapidly changing power needs. Shaw can be reached at 406-994-5982 or sshaw@ece.montana.edu.
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  • Doug Cairns

  • Doug Cairns, a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, studies composite materials used in primary structures. This research includes developing materials and manufacturing processes, as well as design, analysis and testing. He is currently working on manufacturing and testing new materials for wind turbine blade structures.
    Web site: www.coe.montana.edu/me/faculty/cairns/
  • Robb Larson

  • Robb Larson, assistant professor of mechanical and industrial engineering, is the head of MSU's Wind Applications Center, a federally funded program that aims at spreading awareness of wind-power technology, training students to use that technology and promoting wind as a potential industry for the state of Montana. Larson can be reached at 406-994-6420 or at rlarson@me.montana.edu.
    Web site: www.coe.montana.edu/me/faculty/Larson/
  • John Mandell

  • John Mandell is a professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. His work is essentially about compressing time, plugging lab data into various models and trying to predict how a particular composite materials will hold up -- over years or decades -- to the tug of gravity and the stress of wind. Mandell can be reached at 406-994-4543 or at johnm@coe.montana.edu.
    Web site: www.coe.montana.edu/composites/People/Faculty%20and%20Staff/John%20Mandel.htm
  • Dan Samborsky

  • In the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, materials specialist Dan Samborsky studies levels of fatigue in materials intended for use in wind turbine blades. Fatigue data gathered at MSU is used in conjunction with federal data to help students and researchers learn what factors affect the design of composite materials and structures. Samborsky can be reached at 406-994-7186 or at daniels@coe.montana.edu.
    Web site: www.coe.montana.edu/composites/People/Faculty%20and%20Staff/Samborsky.htm
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  • Dave Bowen

  • Dave Bowen, a research professor in the earth sciences department, studies the structure and geology of underground reservoirs to determine how much carbon dioxide they might be able to sequester. Much of his attention has been focused on Kevin Dome, a geologic formation in north-central Montana that acts as a natural CO2 reservoir. Bowen can be reached at 406-994-6916 or at dbowen@montana.edu.
    Web site: www.montana.edu/wwwes/facstaff/bowen.htm
  • John Carlsten

  • Physics professor John Carlsten works with professors Kevin Repasky and Joe Shaw to develop lidar systems that use lasers to monitor carbon sequestration sites and watch for any leakage. Carlsten can be reached at 406-994-6176 or at carlsten@physics.montana.edu.

    Professor Carlsten also collaborates with Professor Kevin Repasky and Professor Joe Shaw of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering on optical source development and applications to LIDAR studies. Current areas of interest in the LIDAR studies involve detection of water vapor as well as aerosols in the atmosphere, scattering of laser light from honey bees in connection with explosive detection, and monitoring of CO2 in connection with sequestration for global warming and the ZERT program.
    Web site: www.physics.montana.edu/people/facview.asp?id_PersonDetails=7
  • Al Cunningham

  • Al Cunningham is a civil engineering professor and a founding member of the Center for Biofilm Engineering at MSU. Cunningham’s research involves using biofilms -- colonies of bacteria living together in a protein slime -- to control carbon dioxide leakage that might happen around well holes at CO2 injection sites. Cunningham can be reached at 406-994-6109 or at al_c@erc.montana.edu.
    Web site: www.erc.montana.edu/res-lib99-sw/people/faculty/al.htm
  • Stacey Fairweather

  • Stacey Fairweather works as the Big Sky Carbon Sequestration Partnership's Geographic Information Science (GIS) Analyst. Fairweather creates and manages digital spatial data as well as other image production. Most of those GIS efforts are published online at the BSCSP Carbon Atlas Web site.
  • Mike Gardner

  • Mike Gardner is an associate professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at MSU and is the director of the Slope and Basin Consortium at the Colorado School of Mines. Gardner studies methods for realistically mapping and characterizing underground reservoirs, such as the Powder River Basin, that might one day be used for carbon sequestration. Gardner can be reached at 406-994-6658 or at mgardner@montana.edu.Web site: www.montana.edu/wwwes/facstaff/gardner.htm
  • Robin Gerlach

  • Gerlach is an associate professor in Chemical and Biological Engineering, Center for Biofilm Engineering, and the Thermal Biology Institute at MSU. Dr. Gerlach's research focuses on the development of microbial biofilm technologies for beneficial purposes, including microbially enhanced carbon sequestration at geologic CO2 injection sites. Dr. Gerlach can be reached at 406-994-1840 or at robin_g@biofilm.montana.edu. Web site: http://www.biofilm.montana.edu/~robin_g/
  • Dave Lageson

  • Geology professor David Lageson studies the structural geology and tectonic evolution of the Rocky Mountains. His work involves analyzing carbon sequestration sites across the region all the way from the core sample scale to the basin-wide scale. Lageson can be reached at 406-994-6913 or at lageson@montana.edu.
    Web site: www.montana.edu/wwwes/facstaff/lageson.htm
  • Kevin Repasky

  • Electrical engineering assistant professor Kevin Repasky works with the lasers and lidar research group to build systems that can automatically monitor carbon sequestration sites for leakage. Repasky can be reached at 406-994-6082 or at repasky@ece.montana.edu.
    Web site: www.coe.montana.edu/ee/repasky/
  • Joe Shaw

  • Electrical engineering professor Joe Shaw develops and tests optical sensors for monitoring underground carbon sequestration sites. Shaw focuses on multispectral imaging to look for plant stress above a sequestration site that could be a sign of leakage. Shaw can be reached at 406-994-7261 or at jshaw@montana.edu.
    Web site: www.coe.montana.edu/ee/jshaw/index.htm
  • Mark Skidmore

  • Mark Skidmore, an assistant professor in the earth sciences department, conducts experimental studies on the geochemical interactions of rock-brine–supercritical CO2 in a high pressure, high temperature flow-through rock core reactor system, designed and built in his laboratory. Current research is focused on using rock cores from formations that are potential geological CO2 sequestration targets and reacting them with reproduced formation brine- supercritical CO2 mixtures. Skidmore can be reached at 406-994-7251 or at skidmore@montana.edu.
    Web site: http://www.montana.edu/wwwes/facstaff/skidmore.htm
  • John Talbott

  • John Talbott is the deputy director and project manager for the Big Sky Carbon Sequestration Partnership. He manages all partnership operations and works with the U.S. Department of Energy to ensure project success. In addition, Talbott is working on a new approach to developing a regulatory framework for carbon sequestration within the region
  • Lindsey Tollefson

  • Lindsey Waggoner is the outreach coordinator for the Big Sky Carbon Sequestration Partnership. She teaches stakeholders and the public about carbon sequestration and the Big Sky Partnership, promoting awareness and acceptance of the partnership's work and fostering communication and representation among stakeholders
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  • Jerry Bergman

  • Jerry Bergman, superintendent of the Eastern Ag Research Center in Sidney, and his team of researchers evaluate oilseed crops for their potential in the biodiesel production industry. The researchers convert unrefined vegetable oils from area crops to biodiesel. Then they analyze the fuel to see if it can replace petroleum biodiesel or blend with it. Bergman can be reached at (406) 433-2208 or jerry.bergman@ars.usda.gov.
    Web site: ag.montana.edu/warc/research/horticulture/flax.htm
  • Victoria Blake

  • Victoria Blake, research assistant professor in MSU's Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology, is researching the biofuel potential of barley. She breeds barley to see if the forage and straw can be used for biofuel, specifically cellulosic ethanol. She and her team of researchers look inside cannulated cows to evaluate digestibility of the dry matter. Victoria Blake can be reached at (406) 994-6682 or vblake@montana.edu.
    Web site: plantsciences.montana.edu/facultyorstaff/staff/blake_vicki/blake_vicki.html
  • Tom Blake

  • Tom Blake, professor in the Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology, looks at the biofuel potential of barley. He works with Victoria Blake breeding barley to see if the forage and straw can be used for biofuel, specifically cellulosic ethanol. Blake is part of a team of researchers looks inside cannulated cows to evaluate digestibility of the dry matter. Tom Blake can be reached at (406) 994-5055 or blake@montana.edu.
    Web site: plantsciences.montana.edu/facultyorstaff/faculty/blake/blake.html
  • Ross Carlson

  • Ross Carlson, assistant professor in MSU's Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, and Center for Biofilm Engineering, is part of the Algal Biotechnology Group, a small consortium of MSU faculty members who want to optimize oil production from algae. Others in the group are Keith Cooksey, Matthew Fields and Brent Peyton. Carlson can be reached at (406) 994-3631 or rossc@erc.montana.edu.
    Web site: www.chbe.montana.edu/rossc/
  • Chengci Chen

  • Chengci Chen, associate professor at MSU's Central Ag Research Center in Moccasin, tests the characteristics and compositions of different grasses and crop residues to see which types can best be converted to cellulosic ethanol. Chen also investigates cropping systems to produce canola and camelina oilseeds for biodiesel. He is part of a regional partnership investigating the use of CRP land for producing cellulosic ethanol feedstock. Chen can be reached at (406) 423-5421 or cchen@montana.edu.
    Web site: http://ag.montana.edu/carc/
  • Keith Cooksey

  • Keith Cooksey, research professor emeritus in MSU's Department of Microbiology, formed the Algal Biotechnology Group, a small consortium of MSU faculty members who want to optimize oil production from algae. The group includes Cooksey, Matthew Fields, Brent Peyton and Ross Carlson. Cooksey can be reached at (406) 994-6136 or umbkc@montana.edu.
    Web site: www.montana.edu/wwwmb/index.php?page=keith-cooksey
  • Matthew Fields

  • Matthew Fields, assistant professor in MSU's Department of Microbiology and Center for Biofilm Engineering, is part of the Algal Biotechnology Group, a small consortium of MSU faculty members who want to optimize oil production from algae. Fields can be reached at (406) 994-7340 or matthew.fields@erc.montana.edu.
    Web site: http://www.montana.edu/wwwmb/index.php?page=matthew-w-fields
  • Robin Gerlach

  • Robin Gerlach is an associate professor in Chemical and Biological Engineering, Center for Biofilm Engineering, and the Thermal Biology Institute at MSU. Dr. Gerlach is also part of the Algal Biotechnology Group, a small consortium of MSU faculty members who are optimizing oil production from algae. Others in the group are Keith Cooksey, Matthew Fields, Ross Carlson, and Brent Peyton. Dr. Gerlach can be reached at 406-994-1840 or at robin_g@biofilm.montana.edu.
    Web site: http://www.biofilm.montana.edu/~robin_g/
  • Chaofu Lu

  • Chaofu Lu, assistant professor at MSU's Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology, uses traditional and modern genetic approaches to improve camelina characteristics. The goal is to find an economical oilseed crop that can be used to produce biofuel and biomaterials. Lu can be reached at (406) 994-5741 or clu@montana.edu.
    Web site: plantsciences.montana.edu/facultyorstaff/faculty/lu/lu.html
  • Brent Peyton

  • Brent Peyton, biochemical engineer in MSU's Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and Thermal Biology Institute, is part of the Algal Biotechnology Group, a small consortium of MSU faculty members who want to optimize oil production from algae. Peyton can be reached at at (406) 994-7419 or bpeyton@coe.montana.edu.
    Web site: www.chbe.montana.edu/BPeyton/
  • Alice Pilgeram

  • Alice Pilgeram, director of MSU's Biobased Institute and researcher in the Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology, focuses on developing camelina as a Montana crop for fuel and food. Camelina oil can be used to make biodiesel or used as an Omega-3 oil. Pilgeram can be reached at (406) 994-1986 or pilgeram@montana.edu.
    Web site: http://plantsciences.montana.edu/facultyorstaff/staff/pilgeram_alice/pilgeram.html
  • Mike Vogel

  • Mike Vogel, MSU Extension Housing and Environmental Health Specialist, investigates, with students and faculty from MSU mechanical engineering, uses for camelina meal after the oil has been removed. He wants to find the best combination of waste materials to make a pellet that can be burned in residential pellet stoves and industrial boilers. MSU has a pellet mill to make the pellets and a burn center to test the pellets in different types of stoves. The researchers will evaluate the pellets' performance for things like ash, emissions, ignitability and BTU. Vogel can be reached at (406) 994-3451 or mvogel@montana.edu.
    Web site: extn.msu.montana.edu/Directory/SRsubjectspecialistsalllist.asp?showmaster=1&SubTopicName=Air+Quality