CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Oct. 2, 2014 – UNC Charlotte Lee College of Engineering faculty members are among a prestigious group of experts seeking safe and practical solutions for disposing of coal ash.
The University has convened a blue-ribbon panel of nationally recognized experts to serve on an independent board that will review Duke Energy’s strategy and procedures for closing its ash impoundments in North Carolina and throughout the nation.
The National Ash Management Advisory Board (NAMAB) will be chaired by John Daniels, professor and chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the William States Lee College of Engineering at UNC Charlotte. A geo-technical and geo-environmental engineer best known for his work in the reuse of waste materials, Daniels has led numerical, laboratory and field projects for utilities and agencies internationally.
Meanwhile, another Lee College professor, Rajaram Janardhanam, recently was appointed to serve on the Coal Ash Management Commission, under the auspices of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. This commission will develop risk-based rankings for all 33 ponds in North Carolina. His term will run through June 2020.
Janardhanam has been at UNC Charlotte for more than 30 years in the civil and environmental engineering department. His research has focused on geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering, geotechnical earthquake engineering, flowable fly ash and construction material and engineering.
Regarding the convening of the blue-ribbon panel, Daniels said the nine-member NAMAB was funded by Duke Energy through a contract with UNC Charlotte.
“Convening this panel of internationally recognized experts is a mechanism for providing Duke Energy with the best possible input on how coal fly ash is managed across its fleet,” said Daniels. “These thought leaders will provide an objective analysis of the fundamental issues which Duke and indeed the entire industry is confronting as it develops a data-driven, sustainable, and socially conscious basis for ash basin closures.”
Daniels modeled his selection of the panelists on the peer review process developed by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), a process he implemented when he was federally employed by the NSF as a program director. The panel includes individuals with experience from academia, industry and the federal government with practical experience and complementary expertise in all relevant areas.
The purpose of the board is to provide feedback and advice to the Duke Energy Ash Basin Strategic Action Team, the utility’s senior management teams and to Duke Energy’s Board of Directors.
“John Daniels has the breadth of experience to assemble qualified people for this important challenge, which will make a difference for people nationally,” said Johan Enslin, executive director of the Energy Production & Infrastructure Center (EPIC) at UNC Charlotte. EPIC was created in response to an industry need for highly trained engineers qualified to meet the demands of the energy industry – through traditional and continuing education, and provide sustainable support to the Carolina energy industry by increasing capacity and support for applied research.
“We needed to assemble an autonomous panel with the wherewithal to study the data and come back with pragmatic recommendations,” Enslin said. “Dr. Daniels has done just that.”
Along with Daniels, the other panelists are: