Environmental Science and Engineering Seminar
Next Generation of Polymeric Membranes and Media for Sustainable Water Purification and Resource Recovery
The sustainable supplies of clean water, energy and critical metals are among the most challenging problems facing society and the global economy in the 21st century. The availability and supplies of water, energy and critical materials are strongly coupled. Oil production and electricity generation by power plants need abundant amounts of water. Similarly, the production and delivery of clean water require significant amounts of energy. There is a growing realization that the development and large-scale implementation of clean energy technologies will require sizeable amounts of technology metals including rare-earth elements, platinum group metals, copper and silver. The convergence between water purification, industrial ecology and resource recovery is providing new opportunities to increase the amount of clean water produced from impaired water (e.g., contaminated groundwater, wastewater, brackish water, and seawater) to meet growing demands while recovering energy and critical metals. Membrane-based processes [e.g. reverse osmosis (RO), nanofiltration (NF) and ultrafiltration (UF)] and media filtration [e.g. ion exchange (IX) and sorption] have become the key components of advanced water purification and resource recovery systems throughout the world. However, commercial polymeric membranes and media are not effective at addressing existing and emerging challenges in water treatment, reuse, desalination and resource recovery.
In my research group, we are exploiting the unique properties of branched and dendritic macromolecules to develop a new generation of high performance membranes and media for Sustainable Chemistry, Engineering and Materials (SusChEM). In this seminar, I will highlight our recent work in sustainable water purification and resource recovery including the development of 1) high capacity and anion selective media for groundwater treatment, 2) fouling-resistant UF membranes for desalination pretreatment and microalgae harvesting and 3) UF membrane absorbers with high capacity and tunable selectivity for metal recovery from aqueous waste streams and seawater. I will conclude my seminar by discussing our concept of a "Seawater Factory of the Future" that integrates the production of clean water for potable uses and agriculture with energy generation and resource recovery including metal mining.
Contact: Kathy Young at 626-395-8732 firstname.lastname@example.org