Prof. Hilary I. Inyang, African Academy of Science Member, former Duke Energy Distinguished Professor of Environmental Engineering and Science and Director of the Global Institute of Energy and environmental Systems of the North Carolina Charlotte, USA, was recently appointed to the role of “US Ambassador’s Distinguished Scholar to Ethiopia”. Ethiopia is currently devising and implementing many socio-economic initiatives to improve national productivity to generate benefits for its citizens. With an estimated population of 107 million people, it is the second most populous country in Africa. The country is currently implementing its Growth and Transformation Plan // (GTP-11) 2015/16-2019/20 under the visionary leadership of the new Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed.
Prof. Inyang who has previously served in key intellectual and institutional leadership positions including, DuPont Professorship at the University of Massachussetts Lowell, USA; Chairmanship of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Board (Engineering Committee) in Washington DC, USA for two terms; Presidency of the Africa University and Science Technology (AUST), Abuja, Nigeria, and Vice Chancellorship of the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST), Palapye, Botswana, will provide advice through a series of seminars; engage in research framing in many areas such as energy systems, climate change, natural disasters analyses and mitigation, and environmental systems; and provide assistance on the creation of research centers and knowledge integration into sustainable development initiatives. He will be based at the University of Gondar, the seat of past Ethiopian Emperors and former capital of the country.
Prof. Inyang has led/performed research expeditions to several regions worldwide, including Jiangsu Province of China on mining subsidence and erosion; Khanty-Mansyst Region of Siberia, Russia on oil spills; Slovenia on underground mining; Niger Delta of Nigeria on oil spills and solid waste management; Minas Gerais Region of Brazil on laterite soil dusting; and Alaskan northern areas (USA) on permafrost degradation due to global climate change. He is a prolific developer of analytical frameworks, quantitative models and field-relevant data that have been used by agencies, researchers, private firms and students worldwide. While contributing to policy development, his main research focus has been on contaminant leaching and dusting from materials (which lead to human health and environmental problems); containment systems and materials for contaminant barriers; geohazards mitigation; and energy systems.
He has authored/co-authored more than 268 research articles, book chapters, federal design manuals and the textbook, Geoenvironmental Engineering: principles and applications, published by Marcel Dekker (ISBN: 0-8247-0045-7). He was the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Energy Engineering of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), an associate editor/editorial board member of 33 refereed international journals and contributing editor of three books, including the United Nations Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (Environmental Monitoring Section).
In addition, as a Guest Editor, he has developed 29 special editions of refereed international journals. Prof. Inyang has served on more than 100 technical and policy panels of governments and professional societies, and has given more than 195 invited speeches and presentations on a variety of technical and policy issues at many institutions and agencies in several countries, including the Goldberg-Zoino Lecture at MIT (1994), the AMOCO Foundation Lecture at Iowa State university (1996), the ALCOA Endowed Lecture at Carnegie-Mellon University (2002), and addresses at the Parliament of Switzerland in Bern (2001) and the Nigerian Senate (2012). He has chaired/co-chaired international conferences in Korea, Japan, Turkey, the United States, Brazil, Finland, Canada, Slovenia, Ghana, China, South Africa, Botswana and Nigeria.
He has served as principal investigator, co-principal investigator and implementation leader on 50 projects. His research has been sponsored by several international and US agencies, including the United Nations Development Programme, Canadian Agency for International Development, Switzerland, US National Research Council US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, US National Science Foundation, US Department of Energy, US Department of Defense, US Federal Highway Administration, International Public Works Federation, DuPont Corporation, Sandia National Laboratory and Duke Energy Corporation.
For his research contributions to advances in geoenvironmental science and engineering, professional practice in many countries, and public policies on energy and environmental issues, he has received several professional honors, including selection as a Fellow of the Geological Society of London, Fellow of the African Academy of Science, the 1999 Chancellor’s Medal for Distinguished Public Service of the University of Massachusetts, Lowell; 2001 Swiss Forum Fellow selection by the American Association for the Advancement of Science ; the 1996 US National Research Council Young Investigator Selection; and the 1992 Eisenhower-Jennings Randolph Award of the International Public Works Federation/World Affairs Institute that was instituted to honor the international achievements of former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
His other awards and recognition are the 1991 American Association for the Advancement of Science/USEPA Environmental Science and Engineering Fellowship; and election (by eminence) as a Board-Certified Member (BCEEM) of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers (2006). On October 2, 2002, he was honored in Washington, DC at a ceremony organized by the US Government to honor 10 environmental scientists for technical contributions to the United States through the USEPA. He is the winner of the 2013 Nigerian National Order of Merit, NNOM (Academic Prize) for Engineering and Technology; and the 2015 Education Leadership Award given by the Global Advisory Council of World Education Congress, Mumbai, India.
Prof. Inyang holds a Ph.D. with a double major in Geotechnical Engineering and Materials, and a minor in Mineral Resources from Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa; an M.S. and B.S. in Civil Engineering from North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota, USA; and a B.Sc. (Honors) in Geology from the University of Calabar, Nigeria.
Summary of Prof. Inyang’s Major Research and Allied Professional Contributions in Specific Disciplines
Environmental Systems: His research has been targeted at mechanisms and modeling of contaminant generation from materials through leaching and dusting, and the development of innovative materials and systems for treating and containing contaminants, especially in the subsurface. His models and data on contaminant leachability from contaminated soils and wastes under various stress conditions, have improved environmental impact assessments of the use of high-volume wastes as non-traditional construction materials in many countries.
Waste recycling is particularly essential in countries and regions where disposal sites and non-sensitive sources of traditional aggregates are limited. He has extended his contaminant generation research to cover transport in seasonally frozen terrains and Arctic permafrost using global warming scenarios, under the sponsorship of the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). He has formulated mitigation and adaption policies and technical systems for management of the impacts of global climate change within the context of sustainable development.
He is a leader in research that has unraveled mechanisms of soil desiccation and consequent dust generation from exposed ground surfaces globally, and their intercontinental transport into sensitive ecological environments. Through his research, he has established fundamental principles and effectiveness estimation methods for the use of aqueous polymers to stabilize dust emissions at their sources, using representative soils from dry climatic regions in Brazil, United States and Nigeria. He has developed physico-chemical models of interactions between aqeous polymers (including those that he extracted from the common cassava plant) with dust generating soils to control emissions.
His investigations sponsored by DuPont Corporation and others have shed light on sorption mechanisms between contaminants and barrier materials in both loose and compacted states, producing results that have been used by DuPont, General Electric and other organizations on waste containment projects. With collaborators sponsored by the Korea Industrial Foundation, Korea, he has developed useful models of interactions between metal oxide catalysts and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that have been useful in controlling contaminant emissions during industrial combustion processes.
He has also developed quantitative frameworks for incorporating deterioration processes into long-term (100-10,000 years) performance models for waste containment systems. These frameworks have been used by regulatory agencies (e.g.: the U.S. EPA) and environmental firms in many countries. A few examples are the Willow Hill Road Landfill, Lee, MA (1995), and operations by Colombia Schmutz Dorth AG, Bern, Switzerland (1992).
A particularly important technical contribution was his development of the Georad Barrier concept and system and the associated computer software-GRYBCAM in 2005, which he and his graduate students published as a quantitative scheme for selecting barrier thicknesses and materials that can adequately reduce gamma radiation intensity that reaches people aboveground, in areas that are residually contaminated by low-level radioactive materials. That contribution also has applications in the disposal of normally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) in oil production operations.
From 1991 to 1993, he developed design configurations for foundation systems that can reduce occupant exposure to residual contaminants at Brownfield sites (published by the U.S. EPA as technical guidance document EPA 530-R-93-02). With application of his system to the control of radon gas entry into buildings, he won a Certificate of Recognition at the 1992 Innovative Radon Mitigation Design Competition, organized by the U.S. Association of Energy Engineers and U.S. EPA Office of Air and Radiation in Washington DC, USA.
He has led many national expert groups and expeditions on environmental monitoring and waste containment systems, exemplified by his role from 1999 to 2003 as Thematic Editor/Leader of the Environmental Monitoring Section of the United Nations Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems.
Under the auspices of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), he led the development of the environmental management framework for Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city. In another UNDP-sponsored project, he authored Nigeria’s National Technical Guidance Manual for Remediation of Oil-contaminated sites and reviewed site remediation proposals for cleanup of identified sites. When placed in the context of impacts of oil pollution in the Niger Delta of Nigeria which has driven conflicts that have destabilized global oil supplies and caused loss of lives in the region for several years, his contribution of mitigative solutions are quite significant.
Energy Systems: His research in this area has focused on interwoven issues in energy/environmental policies, renewable energy and energy facilities development. He has proposed indices for energy system sustainability assessments and analyzed the relationships between energy investments in industrialization programs and other measures of sustainable development. He has configured systems for sustainable design and operations of energy infrastructure, including control of the emissions that contribute to global warming. He had the opportunity to be involved in research expeditions to oilfields in the Niger Delta (Nigeria) and Siberia (Russia) to perform site reconnaissance and develop mitigation measures for oil spill control (the latter under the auspices of the U.S. National Research Council's Young Investigator Program in 1996).
Through collaborative research with his colleagues on the search for efficient and sustainable fuels, plasma electrolysis was found to be a potentially efficient-method for generation and collection of hydrogen gas for use as fuel. His pilot-scale research on degradation processes of electric power transformer oils has led to the discovery of exsolution products that can compromise the efficiency of electric power transmission by transformers.
His research on rock fragmentation techniques which has focused on interactions between rocks and cutting bits, has laid the foundation for the prediction of rock excavation rates and development of energy- efficient techniques for excavation of waste storage chambers and utility trenches for energy and communications lifelines in rock. The rock excavation rate estimation methodology has been developed into a computer software-TEPLER-2004. This was preceded in 1992 by his development of the impact-rebound principles (published in several papers) for use in dynamic fracture of rock by trenching machines to save energy and project time.
His use of energy budget at the rock-bit interface to theoretically determine the required machine energy exertion capacity provided a methodology for estimating cutting rates by machines more fundamentally than the correlative methods that mostly preceded his investigations. This research has found applications in underground space excavation for energy, mining, burial of communication cables, burial of oil and gas pipelines, and tunneling worldwide. Since 2008, he has contributed as a Technical Judge (part-time) of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and has also served from 2005 to 2011 as the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Energy Engineering of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Geohazards Mitigation: His research contributions in this area have focused on geohazards zonation, analysis of damages to waste containment systems by earthquakes, and monitoring systems for facility functional failures. From 1991 to 1993, he led the national effort in the United States as a Senior Geoenvironmental Engineer at U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington DC, USA, on the analyses of risks to thousands of waste containment systems in sensitive environments.
For damages at the scale of material specimens, he has developed and published stereological techniques for identifying cracks, fissures and other discontinuities in materials. This has found applications in waste storage system barrier improvement, concrete durability assessments and confirmation of crack statistics for fluid flow modeling. Sandia National Laboratories of the U.S. Department of Energy sponsored and used his techniques and data to support their performance assessments of buried grout concrete at an Air Force Base in the US East Coast.
Through collaboration with researchers at Nanjing University led by Prof. Shi Bin, the results of this work have been applied to construction projects in China. Inyang led the expert group on performance technology within the task group convened by the U.S. Dept. of Energy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and DuPont Corporation to author a book on these issues for use in practice. He is a co-contributing editor of the second book (ISBN 0-8493-4040-3) sponsored by the same organizations in 2005.
Under the sponsorship of the U.S. National Science Foundation (2002 – 2005), Prof. Inyang developed quantitative schemes for coupling geohazard-induced damages of constructed facilities with sub-surface contaminant transport models which his team has re-configured for increased precision, for application in earthquake-prone areas. This multi-component model which has been computerized has been applied to seismic areas in California and enables more accurate assessment of the environmental damages after their occurrence of earthquakes and other transient events.
In 1993, he performed assessments of the performance of hazardous waste facilities impacted by the 1993 Midwest Floods, which the U.S. EPA Office of Solid Waste disseminated to its engineers in various regions for use in risk management. Among the agencies and firms that used his analyses are USEPA's SUPERFUND program at the Midvale, Utah Mining Waste Site (1993), the North Carolina Department of Environment, Health and Natural Resources for technical guidance and regulatory activities (1992), Law Environmental, Inc. at its Kennesaw, GA operations (1992), ERM, Inc., Los Alamos, NM for low-level radioactive waste landfills in seismic areas (1992) and the USEPA, Region 6, Dallas, TX for performance assessment of a landfill in Karst terrains in Dryden, TX.
Internationally, his analyses and field studies during expeditions with researchers of Nanjing University and China University of Mining and Technology (CUMT) in China have produced analytical models for assessment of land subsidence due to mining and groundwater extraction, under the sponsorship of the China National Science Foundation. Upon invitation by the Federal Government of Nigeria in 1999, he developed a technical framework for the establishment of the Nigerian National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) through a legislative Act in 2003.
Professor Hilary I. Inyang graduated in Geology from the University of Calabar in 1981, He is our Alumnus of the month for July, 2019