Thomas Azwell

Environmental Scientist

Research Interests

Remediation and restoration, oil spill response, biomimicry, biodiversity, dissemination of innovation, cognitive development, sustainable agriculture, industrial ecology, corporate sustainability

Research Description

Oil Remediation and Restoration

I design systems which remediate and transform pollution, such as crude oil impacted soils. These systems rely on the ability of microbes and their constituents, both naturally occurring and induced, to support natural attenuation of the environment. The goal is to develop low-cost processes that have the potential for replication and dissemination across both ecologic and economic borders.

My current research includes the development of technologies for use during oil spill response and the restoration of the environment. The focus is on creating more efficient oil recovery equipment, such as better oil skimming (Abasco) and oil-water separation equipment (Water Planet Engineering), and innovative approaches to habitat restoration, such as the use of locally-adapted diverse genotypes of native plants and native fibers to support propagation.

Press Releases:
UC Berkeley
Grande Reportagem SIC
Universidade Lusófona

Industrial Ecology

Industrial ecology is the study of the physical, chemical, and biological interactions and interrelationships both within and between industrial and ecological systems. My research helps to identify the energy flows through commercial industrial systems, such as those closely linked to agricultural. Using principles of industrial metabolism, we can identify the way these materials flow through an industrial system and are transformed or transferred, including the portion that is disposed of as 'waste'.

For example, many retailers generate large volumes of organic waste as a function of their normal sales activity. A significant portion of this organic matter ends up in the municipal solid waste stream as "D & D" (damage and destroy). Green-waste diversion programs have the potential to capture 100% of the organic waste, transport it away from the landfill to local composting facilities, where it is thermophilically composted and turned into a value added end product.

Selected Publications

Honors and Awards

  • Environmental Representative - California Organic Product Advisory Board - 2011
  • Environmental Science Lead - Deepwater Horizon Study Group - 2010
  • Strategic Research Grant - Chevron Energy Technology Company - 2010
  • Commissioner - Alameda County Recycling Board - 2009
  • William Carroll Smith Fellowship - ESPM - 2009
  • Best of the East Bay - Most Promising Grad Student - East Bay Express - 2008
  • Schweitzer Fellow - The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship - 2008
  • Eva Alexis Bansner Fund for Sustainable Development - CA League of Women Voters - 2008
  • Garden Crusader - National Gardening Association - 2006, 2007

Recent Teaching

178A - Environmental Education (UCB)

102D - Resource Policy (UCB)

ENVS600 - Environmental Problems and Solutions (SFSU)

Contact Information


Office: 3 Giannini Hall

Office Phone: 510-717-4404

Research Group(s)

Mailing Address

2400 Durant Avenue

Berkeley, CA 94720