Biographical Sketch

Dr. Michael Barcelona received a Ph.D. in Marine Chemistry at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez in 1977.  He then completed a National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences Postdoctoral Fellowship with Dr. James J. Morgan in Environmental Engineering Sciences at the California Institute of Technology. He then accepted a position at the Illinois State Water Survey – University of Illinois conducting research in ground water and hazardous chemical waste evaluation and management. Much of this work was incorporated into federal and state ground water sampling and monitoring guidance in the federal RCRA and CERCLA (Superfund) programs. In 1984-1985, he served as the founding Director of the Illinois Hazardous Waste Research and Information Center now the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center. In 1989, he accepted a tenured professorship at Western Michigan University where he directed the Institute for Water Sciences and expanded his research efforts to develop ground water remediation approaches. In 1994, Dr. Barcelona became a Research Scientist in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering at the University of Michigan and directed the National Center for Integrated Bioremediation Research and Development with the Department of Defense and U.S. EPA support. He returned to WMU in 2001 as Professor and later Chair of the Chemistry Department (2002-2007) where he continues to teach and conduct research. Overall, he has authored or co-authored more than 100 papers, book chapters, and reports, and served as editor of Ground Water Monitoring and Remediation from 1992-2002. He currently serves on the editorial board as an associate editor for that publication.

Dr. Barcelona has received a number of awards, including: Directors Research Excellence Award (1985, Illinois Department of Natural Resources), Outstanding Research Scientist Award (1998,University of Michigan), Keith Anderson Award (2002, National Ground Water Association), a Fulbright Senior Lecturing Award (2008, J.W.  Fulbright Foundation), National Research Council Senior Research Award (2009),  and a Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award (2010, WMU). He has also served as a reviewer and consultant on a wide variety of ground water and hazardous waste-related cleanup efforts in the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East. He is a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Geophysical Union, and the National Ground Water Association.

Green Chemistry Research Interests

Dr. Barcelona’s research groups have primarily worked on solving problems associated with contaminated ground-water, hazardous waste, sediments and soils. The primary emphasis of this work has been on manipulation of oxidation-reduction conditions to stimulate microorganisms to degrade various contaminants. For example, aerobic or oxic conditions favor the microbial degradation of methane, higher hydrocarbons, and methyl  t-butyl ether (MTBE) from motor fuels. They have recently completed a study of nutrient stimulation of methane oxidation to reduce methane emissions from a landfill Superfund site near Kalamazoo. Reducing conditions favor the degradation of chlorinated solvents from dry-cleaning or degreasing operations. In this regard, his group conducted the first field scale trial of using dairy whey, an inexpensive byproduct of cheese-making, to impose reducing conditions on a chlorinated solvent plume at a former manufacturing site. The concentrations of the major contaminants, dichloroethylene and vinyl chloride were reduced substantially.

Dr. Barcelona has also worked on various analytical problems to identify: components of fuel additives, mixtures of lubricants, causes for staining in automobile interiors, and improved sterilization processes for biomedical instruments. Most recently, he has worked to implement green chemical solutions to the renewal of chrome plating baths in operation to extend bath lifetime and reduce hazardous waste production.

Contact Information

Department of Chemistry
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5413

Office: (269) 387-2837
Fax: (269) 387-2909