Squeezing Every Last Drop: Recovering and Valorizing Waste for Sustainability at the Energy-Water Nexus

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Lead Mentor: Mark Snyder

Additional Mentors: Srinivas Ranjaran, Alberto Lamadrid

 

This project will design and develop a sustainable, “silver bullet” solution to the burgeoning global demand for fresh water despite worsening pollution and growing energy restrictions. The energy potential currently locked in the organic pollutants comprising wastewater exceeds by 10x the energy consumed in conventional microbial-based wastewater treatment processes. Current technologies recover just 20-50% of the organics, while more efficient emerging technologies are molecule-specific and are, thus, unable to handle wastewater diversity. Appropriately designed porous adsorbents offer a versatile alternative and game-changing platform that may enable near 100% recovery and processing of organic matter from wastewater, with a cost structure that could enable net-positive energy production.