College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Environmental Science & Technology

Stephanie Lansing

Associate Professor

Department of Environmental Science and Technology
1449 Animal Sci./Ag. Engr. Bldg.
College Park, MD 20742



Dr. Lansing integrates research, teaching, extension, and mentoring in order to provide efficient and ecologically sound methods for waste treatment and bioenergy using ecological engineering. Dr. Lansing’s research is focused in three intertwined areas: Anaerobic digestion (AD); Microbial and solid-oxide fuel cells (MFC and SOFC); and eMergy and life cycle assessments (LCA). Her research on bioenergy has value-added benefits to agricultural communities, the sanitation sector, and developing countries, while directly addressing greenhouse gas emissions, organic pollutants, pathogens, and nutrient runoff reductions. Dr. Lansing’s research applications include dairy and poultry manure digestion in Maryland and sanitary waste digestion in Haiti. Dr. Lansing and her students have designed innovative pilot-scale digesters, built and studied MFCs in the US and Costa Rica, coordinated AD workshops, and disseminated the knowledge gained via publications and FactSheets aimed at farmers and policy makers on AD processes. She teaches ENST 415: Renewable Energy, ENST 481: Ecological Design, ENST 681: Advanced Ecological Design, and ENST 689B: Sustainable Technologies for Developing Countries.

Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a series of sequential microbial processes to transform organic material into methane-enriched biogas. AD has been shown to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while providing renewable energy and a high-quality fertilizer. However, there are barriers facing widespread implementation of AD in the US, including marginal economics, high heating requirements, and the lack of an AD service sector. Dr. Lansing’s research has examined how to design AD systems with lower capital costs and heating requirements, the viability of co-substrates to increase biogas production, and post-digestion treatment using microbial fuel cells (MFC). Dr. Lansing also utilizes eMergy and lifecycle assessment (LCA) to provide an assessment of a system’s sustainability. Emergy equates all energy inherent within a system to solar emjoules, while LCA compares ‘cradle to grave’ environmental impacts.

Dr. Lansing and her students have designed six (3 m3) replicate field-scale digesters with a focus on minimal inputs to overcome cost barriers to AD adoption for smaller-scale farmers, with subsequent financial analyses of small-scale digesters in the US. Her research has also quantified the effect of temperature on dairy manure AD at the lab and field-scale, as well as the utilization of alterative, lower-temperature AD inoculum sources (wetland sediment and landfill leachate) to provide a means to decrease costs associated with heating small-scale AD. Dr. Lansing and her students have quantified the higher energy production when co-digesting food waste and forage radish cover crops, with on-going research for campus food waste AD. In Haiti, Dr. Lansing has installed three AD systems for sanitary waste, achieving 99% reduction in pathogens and 85% reduction in solids. The produced biogas was used successfully for cooking, and the results from a Sanitation Survey of 550 people showed the majority of the respondents were willing to pay for a toilet-AD service ($0.20/use). A business model was created to fill voids in sanitation treatment and bioenergy production through the use of AD as an alternative to charcoal. In Costa Rica, microbial fuel calls (MFCs) were used for post-AD treatment with additional energy production through a Gates Foundation grant. 

  • The Ohio State University, Ph.D. Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering, 2008. Dissertation: “Utilization and Optimization of Low-cost Digesters for Energy Production and Treatment of Livestock Wastewater.”
  • The Ohio State University, M.S. Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering, 2005. Thesis: “Nutrient Removal and Indicators of Self-Organization in an Ecological Treatment System (ETS) for Dairy Wastewater.”
  • University of Oklahoma, B.S. Environmental Science, 2000. Honors Thesis: “Substrate Characteristics in Mine Drainage Wetlands.”
Awards & Honors: 
  • Junior Faculty Award. UMD Council on the Environment, 2015
  • On-Campus Junior Faculty Award. College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, 2015
  • Mentor of the Year. Institute on Teaching and Mentoring, Compact for Faculty Diversity (national award), 2014
  • University of Maryland Fearless Idea. Research banner on Reagents Drive, 2014
  • International Service Award. Gamma Sigma Delta National Capital Area Chapter, 2014
  • Outstanding Faculty Research Award. UMD Env. Science and Technology, 2010.
  • Distinguished Research Recognition. University of Maryland: 2010, 2011 and 2015
  • Mary S. Muellhaput Presidential Fellowship. Ohio State University, 2008
  • Travel Award. American Society of Ecological Engineering, 2008 
  • Ohio Agricultural International Research & Development Fellow. 2004-2005
  • Graduate Fellow, Ohio State University, 2003-2004
  • Graduate Student of the Year. Ohio State Univ, Food, Ag. & Bio Engineering, 2007
  • First place. Ohio State University’s Hayes Graduate Research Forum, 2006
  • Travel Award. American Society of Ecological Engineering, 2006
  • Ray Travel Award. Ohio State University Council of Graduate Students, 2005
  • Ray Travel Award. Ohio State University Council of Graduate Students, 2004
  • First place – Environmental Category. Univ. of Oklahoma Undergraduate Research Opportunities, 2000
  • Environmental Science Student of the Year. University of Oklahoma, 2000
  • Oklahoma Public Health Excellence Award, 2000. Role:  Lead presenter for the OU Env. Science and Engineering class project 
Courses Taught: 

ENST 415/ENST 615/MEES 615 (3 credits)

An overview of renewable energy technologies, their current applications and design criteria. Emphasis is placed on bioenergy (anaerobic digestion, biodiesel, and ethanol) solar, and wind energy. Fall Semester.

ENST 481/ENST 681: Ecological Design (3 credits)

This is an advanced survey course on the field of ecological design and engineering. Principles of ecological engineering are applied through design of biologically-based waste treatment systems. Spring Semester.

ENST 689B: Sustainable Technologies for Developing Countries (1 credit)

A graduate course in sustainable technologies applicable to developing countries, such as Haiti. Appropriate sustainable technologies are reviewed. Proposal writing is integrated into the course through reviewing of NSF funded proposals in sustainable design and writing a modified NSF doctoral dissertation enhancement grant in sustainable design. Fall Semester.

ENST 470: ENST Senior Capstone (4 credits)

An undergraduate course in which the knowledge from their undergraduate program is applied in a real world ecological design and technology project. Lecture and lab. Fall Semester.

ENST 499: Special Topics in Natural Resource Science (3 credits)

In-depth study of special topics in Ecological Engineering and Renewable Energy through individual study Spring Semester 2009: Economics of Renewable Energy. Fall Semester 2009: Anaerobic Digestion of Palm Oil. Spring 2010: Energy Finance: Demand and Response. 

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