Illinois Sustainable Technology Center - University of Illinois

ISTC News Highlights

Prairie Research Institute's Watershed Initiative Recognized at White House Water Summit

Watershed InitiativeThe White House Water Summit on March 22, 2016, highlighted the Prairie Research Institute’s Resilient Watersheds Initiative at the University of Illinois in its announcement of new measurable steps being taken across the country to address key water issues. The Resilient Watersheds Initiative at the University of Illinois seeks to provide a science-based and data-driven approach to promoting resilient, sustainable Illinois watersheds.

Blue Governor's Awards Trophy

Governor's Awards Applications are Now Being Accepted

Applications are now open for the Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Awards (IGSA) through May 20. The award has recognized Illinois sustainability champions for 30 years and is the nation’s longest standing state environmental award program. Winners are rewarded for their efforts in minimizing environmental impact and having positive economic and societal consequences for their sustainability actions. Businesses, organizations, and communities are encouraged to register. Learn MORE

Medicine bottle labelled Thomson’s Compound / Syrup of Tar / For Consumption

Archaeometry Reveals Desperate Times for the Sick in 1850

Life was hard in 1850. Tuberculosis (consumption) was rampant, and one was likely to be dead by 40. A 'medicine' bottle discovered by Illinois State Archaeological Survey (ISAS) during a dig at Meredosia, Illinois, and analyzed in ISTC’s laboratory, gives evidence of the desperation they faced. The results were disclosed at an ISAS symposium on Feb. 19. Learn MORE

Picture of BK Sharma

Sharma Named Fellow of National Engineering Society

B.K. Sharma, senior research engineer at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, has been elected a fellow of the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers (STLE). He is one of six new 2016 fellows to be honored at the 71st STLE Annual Meeting and Exhibition May 17 in Las Vegas. STLE boasts 13,000 individual- and 200-corporate and organizational members. Learn MORE

Senator Durbin Backs Research to Capture More Carbon from Coal Plants

Senator Durban at Abbott Power PlantSenator Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) toured the Abbott Power Plant at the University of Illinois on Jan. 15 for a briefing on Prairie Research Institute (PRI) research to develop next-generation carbon capture technology. The first-hand look at the project was an "eye opener," Durbin said. Also, PRI has just released an informative video introduction to the work underway at the Abbott Power Plant. Learn MORE

ISTC Joins the Paris Pledge for Action

The Paris Pledge for Action Badge ISTC has joined The Paris Pledge for Action, a world-wide call to action to reduce environmental impacts and limit global warming to less than two degrees. "Minimizing the impact of climate change will require global innovation and cooperation," said Kevin O'Brien, director of ISTC at the University of Illinois' Prairie Research Institute (PRI). "There is not one solution to this societal, governmental, and technological challenge," he added, "there are as many as we can think of." Learn MORE

ISTC Feted for Leadership in Pollution Prevention and Sustainability

Quote by Dr. Emmett Brown that says You can make your future whatever you want, so make it a good one. The 30th Anniversary Celebration of the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) on Nov. 9 brought together some of its founding fathers and significant players that put Illinois at the forefront of pollution prevention and sustainability. It was a great time to look back... and to the future. Learn MORE

Power Plant at University of Illinois Proposed as Site for New Carbon Capture Technology

Illinois Governor's Sustainability Award Trophies The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has selected a multi-national team led by the University of Illinois to develop a proposal for retrofitting the University's Abbott Power Plant in order to capture the CO2 emissions. The team includes ISTC and the Illinois State Geological Survey at the U of I – both part of the Prairie Research Institute, and the Linde Group and BASF (developers of capture technology), and Affiliated Engineering. The Phase I award is for detailed engineering and planning and is slated to have a total value of approximately $1.3 million. This is the first time the DOE has sponsored a large-scale pilot R&D project for the capture of CO2 emissions. Learn MORE

Examining the Problem of Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in the Environment

Personal Care ProductsThe occurrence of emerging contaminants such as pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs) and steroid hormones in our waterways has been recognized as a critical environmental issue. To learn more about new research in that area and to provide opportunities for collaborations, ISTC has organized a consortium of researchers and individuals interested in working together to advance the state of knowledge about these contaminants - their fate, transport, and environmental and human health effects. The group met on Sept. 24, 2015, and on Dec. 8, 2015, as part of a series of quarterly meetings. If you are interested in joining the consortium, please contact Nancy Holm.

On April 4, 2016, ISTC is organizing a conference, along with IL-IN Sea Grant and funded by the U of I Extension, titled "PPCPs in the Environment". The event will be held at the I-Hotel Conference Center in Champaign. The conference will feature presentations and posters on the latest in PPCP research and education as well as plenty of opportunities for discussion with those interested in all aspects of PPCPs in the environment.

IL Green Office Challenge logo The winners of the 2014-15 Illinois Green Office Challenge were announced on June 11 in Champaign. The U.S. Army Corps Construction Engineering Research Laboratories were the champions of the challenge which empowers Illinois workplaces to reduce waste and save energy and water.
More on the competition winners

Sketch of a faucet with water flowing out to form the word 'one' for the one billion gallon water challengeBillion Gallon Water Challenge

ISTC is encouraging people, businesses, organizations and others to help reduce water consumption in Illinois. It has a goal of saving one billion gallons as part of its One Billion Gallon Water Challenge efforts.

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Button to flyer about PPCP Teacher Workshop on June 16, 2016

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    Researcher Spotlight

    Photo of Mike Springman


    Mike Springman
    Environmental Engineer

    Mike Springman is an environmental engineer in ISTC's Emerging Technologies and Assistance Program. Springman manages the Godfrey Office, where he is responsible for providing sustainability, pollution prevention, and energy efficiency assistance to the Southern Illinois area. He joined ISTC in 1997.

    Since then, Mike has focused on improving industry's use of natural resources and energy, particularly in the areas of membrane technologies, solvent substitution, alternative cleaning technologies, and process efficiency. Mike has also worked extensively with the Illinois National Guard on environmental projects ranging from Environmental Management Systems (EMS) to undergrounds storage tank closures.

    Mike is currently the lead investigator on the Northern Illinois Economy, Energy and Environment (E3) technical assistance project and project manager on the Illinois Conservation of Resources, Economy, Energy and Environment (ICORE3) project.

    Prior to joining ISTC, Mike served as an environmental project manager for GSC Environmental Laboratories, in Georgia. In that role, he managed projects dealing with groundwater monitoring, underground storage tank remediation, industrial hygiene, sick building syndrome, lead abatement, and training of lead abatement workers. He also spent 10 years as a commander in the U.S. Army. Springman holds a B.S. in Environmental Biology from Eastern Illinois University.

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