Argonne National Laboratory

May Wu

May Wu

Principal Environmental System Analyst
- Energy Systems

May Wu is the Principal Investigator for water sustainability analysis in biofuel production. Her research focuses on water use, water quality and water availability as related to the development of conventional fuel, electricity, emerging fuels and life cycle analysis.

Wu currently leads an effort to develop tools to better understand the water footprint of biofuels produced from starch, cellulosic, oil seeds, and algae. She also heads a project applying watershed modeling for the Mississippi River basin using a Soil Water Analysis Tool.

Wu served as an expert advisor to the Water Working Group of the Council on Sustainable Biomass Production and supported the National Biomass R&D Board’s Sustainability Interagency Working Group. She has extensive experience in the areas of water treatment, wastewater treatment, online monitoring of anaerobic biological processes, microbial-induced corrosion, fermentation and membrane separation.

Before joining Argonne in 2004, Wu was a Senior Research Microbiologist at Nalco Company. She holds several U.S. patents, has authored or co-authored 40 publications and has a dual Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering and Environmental Toxicology from Michigan State University.

Awards and Memberships

  • Nalco Global Research Award, 2000
  • Nalco Global Research Award, 1998
  • R&D 100 Award, 1997
  • Member, American Center for Life Cycle Assessment
  • Member, American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Member, American Water Resource Association

Publications and Patents

  • Zhang, Z. L., and M. Wu. 2013. “Evaluating the Transport and Fate of Nutrients in Large Scale River Basins Using an Integrated Modeling System, in Landscape Ecology for Sustainable Environment and Culture,” Ed. Bojie Fu, K. Bruce Jones, Springer Netherlands. ISBN: 978-94-007-6529-0.
  • Chiu, Y., and M. Wu., “Water Footprint of Biofuel Produced from Forest Wood Residue via a Mixed Alcohol Gasification Process,” under review with Environ. Res. Lett.
  • A. M. Argo, A. E. Tan, D. Inman, M. H. Langholtz, L. M. Eaton, J. J. Jacobson, C. T. Wright, D. J. Muth Jr., M. Wu, Y. Chiu, and R. L. Graham, “Investigation of Biochemical Biorefinery Sizing and Environmental Sustainability Impacts for Conventional Bale System and Advanced Uniform Biomass Logistics Designs,” Biofuels, Bioprod. Bioref. (2013) DOI: 10.1002/bbb.1391.
  • Chiu, Y., and M. Wu. “Considering Water Availability and Wastewater Resources in the Development of Algal Bio-Oil,” Biofuels, Bioprod. Bioref. (2013) DOI: 10.1002/bbb.1397.
  • Demissie, Y., E. Yan, and M. Wu, “Assessing Regional Hydrology and Water Quality Implications of Large-Scale Biofuel Feedstock Production in the Upper Mississippi River Basin,” Environ. Sci. Technol., 2012, 46, pp. 9174−9182.
  • Wu, M., Y. Chiu, and Y. Demissie, “Quantifying the Regional Water Footprint of Biofuel Using Multiple Analytical Tools,” Water Resource Research, 2012, 48, W10518, 2012.
  • Chiu, Y., and M. Wu, “Assessing County-Level Water Footprints of Different Cellulosic-Biofuel Feedstock Pathways,” Environ. Sci. Technol., 2012, 46, pp. 9155−9162.
  • Wu, M., Y. Demissie, and E. Yan, “Assessing the Impact of Future Biofuel Scenario on Water Quality and Water Cycle Dynamics,” Biomass & Bioenergy, 2012, 41, pp. 44–56.
  • Wu, M., and M. J. Peng, “Developing a Tool to Estimate Water Use in Electric Power Generation in the United States,” ANL/ESD/11-2, Dec. 2010. Updated July 2011.
  • Wang, M., J. Han, Z. Haq, W. Tyner, M. Wu, and A. Elgowainy, “Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emission Effects of Corn and Cellulosic Ethanol with Technology Improvements and Land Use Changes,” Biomass & Bioenergy, 2011, Vol. 35, No. 5, pp. 1885–1896.
  • Arora, S., M. Wu, and M. Wang, “Estimated Displaced Products and Ratios of Distillers Co-Products from Corn Ethanol Plants and the Implications of Life-Cycle Analysis,” Biofuels, 2010, Vol.1, No.  6, p. 911.
  • Wu, M., M. Mintz, M. Wang, and S. Arora, “Water Consumption in the Production of Ethanol and Petroleum Gasoline,” Environmental Management, 2009, Vol. 44, pp. 981–997.
  • Gopalakrishnan, G., M. Negri, M. Wang, M. Wu, S. Snyder, and L. Lafreniere, “Biofuels, Land, and Water: A Systems Approach to Sustainability,” Environ. Sci. Technol., 2009, 43, p. 6094–6100.
  • Liu, J., M. Wu, and M. Wang, “Simulation of the Process for Producing Butanol from Corn Fermentation,” Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 2009, Vol. 48, pp. 5551–5557.
  • Wu, M., M. Wang, J. Liu, and H. Huo, “Assessment of Potential Life-Cycle Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emission Effects from Using Corn-Based Butanol as a Transportation Fuel,” Biotechnology Progress, 2008, Vol. 24, pp. 1204–1214.
  • Wang, M., M. Wu, H. Huo, and J. Liu, “Life-Cycle Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emission Implications of Brazilian Sugarcane Ethanol Simulated with the GREET Model,” International Sugar Journal, 2008, Vol. 110, No. 1317, pp. 527–545.
  • Wang, M., M. Wu, and H. Huo, “Life-Cycle Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emission Impacts of Different Corn Ethanol Plant Types,” Environ. Res. Lett,, 2007, Vol. 2, pp. 1–13.
  • Wu, M., Y. Wu, and M. Wang, “Energy and Emission Benefits of Alternative Transportation Liquid Fuels Derived from Switchgrass: A Fuel Life Cycle Assessment,” Biotechnology Progress, 2006, 22, pp. 1012–1024.
  • Wang, M., C. Saricks, and M. Wu, “Fuel Ethanol Produced from US Midwest Corn: Help or Hindrance to the Vision of Kyoto?” Journal of AWWA, 1999, Vol. 49, pp. 756–772.
  • Wu, M., R. Hickey, “A Dynamic Model Including Reactor Hydraulics, Degradation and Diffusion for UASB Reactors,” J. Env. Eng., 1997, Vol. 123, No. 3.
  • Wu, M. and R. Hickey, “N-Propanol Production During Ethanol Degradation Using Anaerobic Granules,” Water Research, 1996, Vol. 30, No. 7, pp. 1686–1694.
  • Wu, M., C. Criddle, and R. Hickey, “Mass Transfer and Temperature Effect on Substrate Utilization in Brewery Granules,” Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 1995, Vol. 46.
  • U.S. Patent 6,818,417, Method for Locating Hidden Microorganism Contaminated Surfaces in Industrial Water Systems (2003)
  • U.S. Patent 6,699,684, Method of Monitoring Biofouling in Membrane Separation Systems (2002)
  • U.S. Patent 6,096,225, Method of Controlling Biofouling in Aqueous Media using Antimicrobial Emulsions (1998)

Selected Professional Activities

  • Technical committee, Energy-Water Nexus, AWRA
  • Organization committee, American Center for Life Cycle Assessment, InLCA/LCM 2011 Conference and Chaired Energy and Biofuel Sessions at LCA conference in 2006, 2007, and 2009
  • Chair, Expert Advisory Board for Sustainable Pathways to Achieving Biofuel Policy Goals, University of Minnesota project funded by USDA, 2008–2011
  • External reviewer, USDA AFRI Sustainable Bioenergy Water, 2013; University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) EBI proposal, 2012; U.S. EPA’s draft Report to Congress, 2011; Early Career Program proposal, DOE Office of Science, 2009; Integrated Biorefinery Grant proposal, DOE, 2009
  • Invited speaker, Illinois Institute of Technology, Sustainability Seminar, Jan. 2013; UIUC EBI seminar Nov. 2012; Distinguished Seminar Series, School of Agriculture and Natural Resource, UIUC. Nov. 18, 2011; Annual University Industry Consortium meeting, Lincoln, Nebr., Oct. 19, 2011; Billion-Ton Update Workshop, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tenn., Sept. 28–30, 2011; UOP R&D Seminar, Mt. Prospect, Ill., Oct.31, 2008; BP Energy and Transportation Panel meeting, Lisle, Ill., July 24, 2008; Guest lecturer, Biofuel Life Cycle Analysis, Illinois Agricultural Leadership Program, Peoria, Ill., August 1, 2007; International Symposium of Fueling Change with Renewable Energy, April 26–27, 2007, Urbana, Ill.