Associate Researcher

Michael Cooney is a tenured Associate Researcher in the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute. He graduated from the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 1986. He earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of California at Davis (UCD) in 1988 and 1992, respectively. Upon graduation he joined the Department of Food Science at UCD where he researched the application of micro and ultrafiltration to concentrate cheese whey and the rheological properties of food protein gels made from concentrated cheese whey protein, From 1994 to 1996, Dr. Cooney passed a postdoc at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne where he applied calorimetric and stoichiometric analysis to continuous yeast culture. From 1995 to 1997 he passed his second postdoc at the University of Queensland where he modeled hyaluronic acid production in batch culture. After completing his second postdoc Dr. Cooney began his academic career in 1997 as a lecturer at the newly formed School of Engineering at Murdoch University in Western Australia. There he developed courses in mechanical and chemical thermodynamics as well as process instrumentation and control. After three years Dr. Cooney left Australia to return home to the United States where he began his US career in the Department of Ocean and Resources Engineering before transferring to the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute in 2002. His areas of specialty now include high rate anaerobic digestion, bio-oil extraction from biomass, and the analytical characterization of chemical microenvironments surrounding immobilized enzymes. His teaching at UH currently focuses on systems sustainability analysis and undergraduate thesis research.

(808) 956-7337
(808) 956-2336
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Full Bibliography: 
Selected Publications: 

2014. Cooney, M. J., D. Harris, K. Lewis, and Tao Yan. Biochar as a packing material in anaerobic digestors for rapid start up at demonstration scale. Submitted. Journal of Water Process Engineering.

2014 Lopez, R., Higgins, S., Pagaling, E., Yan, T., and M. J. Cooney. High rate anaerobic digestion of wastewater separated from grease trap. Journal of Renewable Energy, 62:234-242.

2013 Higgins, S., Lopez, R., Pagaling, E., Yan, T., and M. J. Cooney. Towards a hybrid anaerobic digester-microbial fuel cell integrated energy recovery system: An overview of the development of an electrogenic biofilm. Enzyme and Microbial Technology. 52(6-7): 344-351.

2013 Godwin Severa, Kumar, G., and Michael J. Cooney. Co-recovery of bio-oil and fermentable sugars from oil-bearing biomass. International Journal of Chemical Engineering. Article ID 617274