The bioeconomy needs new high skilled managers. Starting fall semester, students at the Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute will be able to study a new program focused on two key global issues: bioenergy and biowastes.
The new Associate of Applied Science program in bioenergy and biological waste management will prepare students for high-demand careers such as wastewater and drinking water treatment plant operators.
Recently, National Geographic ranked water and wastewater treatment operator as the second fastest growing job among environmental sustainability-related jobs.
“Alternative energy and water resource management are two global issues of critical importance,” said Kris Boone, director of Ohio State ATI. “We’re proud to offer this first-of-its-kind program to our students.”
Students will also be prepared for careers as operators or laboratory technicians in biogas, bioethanol, and biodiesel production plants, which go hand-in-hand with water quality and waste management; these technologies keep organic wastes out of underground and surface water systems. No other institution in the U.S. offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in bioenergy and biological waste management.
The program will be led by Victor Ujor, assistant professor in the ATI Division of Arts and Science & Business. He holds a B.S. degree in applied microbiology and brewing from Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Enugu, Nigeria. He earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in applied microbiology & biotechnology from the University of Westminster, London, England. Ujor’s area of expertise is in waste remediation and bioconversion of waste residues to energy and bio-products.
Students in the bioenergy and biological waste management program will complete a paid industry internship with firms like Green Arrow Engineering, an environmental engineering firm, and Quasar energy group, a leading biomass-to-energy (biogas production) firm.
“To successfully operate anaerobic digesters, trained operators are an integral component. The reliability of continuous operation is requiring not only more operators, but a more educated operator,” said Michael Maringer, manager of municipal development for Quasar.
by Will Yi Huang