Professor Emeritus, Civil Engineering
Office: 303A Barnard Hall
Specialty: Subsurface biotechnology and bioremediation
Dr. Al Cunningham is a Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering at Montana State University (MSU). He retired in 2015 and currently has a post retirement appointment. In addition to the Department of Civil Engineering (CE), Al is affiliated with MSU’s Center for Biofilm Engineering (CBE), and the Energy Research Institute (ERI). He also maintains a long-standing research collaboration with the University of Stuttgart (Germany).
In his home department of civil engineering, Al taught at the graduate and undergraduate level and was also part of course development in water resources, ground water hydrology and remediation, and environmental engineering investigations. Currently, he is assisting with the development of a new undergraduate degree program in environmental engineering.
Al is founding member of the CBE and a member of the CBE Executive Committee which is responsible for coordinating Center research, education and industry programs. Al continues to assist the CBE Director with development of biofilm-related research initiatives and strategic planning.
As an affiliate member of the Energy Research Institute, Al is responsible for development and coordination of large-scale energy research projects related to subsurface storage and leakage mitigation of gas (CO2, CH4, and H2) and associated reservoir fluids. These projects are primarily funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE), involve multiple university and industrial collaborators, and include a field-scale research and testing component. Two current projects are focused on developing and testing near-well leakage sealing technologies utilizing microbially induced calcite precipitation (MICP) to plug leakage pathways. Collaborators include University of Stuttgart, University of Alabama Birmingham, Southern Company Utilities, and Schlumberger. Two additional DOE-funded projects are researching science and technologies for enhancing the production of biogenic methane from coal and organic shale. Collaborators for this project include ERI, CBE, the US Geological Survey, and Shell Global Solutions International BV. Al also assists the ERI director with strategic planning and research program development.
Al has a long-standing collaboration with Dr. Rainer Helmig and his colleagues at The University of Stuttgart’s Institute for Modeling Hydraulic and Environmental Systems (IWS). This collaboration has developed a cross-disciplinary, international research and education program focused on combining the biofilm-process expertise of the CBE with the computational simulation capabilities of IWS. Topics of collaboration include fate and transport of ground water contaminants, subsurface gas storage, and enhanced biogenic methane production. Al has served as co-advisor to four PhD students at Stuttgart.