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Presented By: Chemical Engineering

The Walter J. Weber, Jr. Distinguished Lecture — Menachem Elimelech, Yale University

"Next-Generation Desalination and Water Purification Membranes: Where Are We Now?"

U-M ChE logo and photo of Menachem Elimelech U-M ChE logo and photo of Menachem Elimelech
U-M ChE logo and photo of Menachem Elimelech
This lecture series brings one of the world’s foremost experts in environmental engineering and science to campus each year to share the results of their work and their vision for the future.

This seminar is made possible through the endowment to the University by the 1996 Athalie Richardson Irvine Clark Prize awarded to Professor Walter J. Weber, Jr. by the National Water Research Institute for Outstanding Accomplishments in Water Science and Technology.

"Next-Generation Desalination and Water Purification Membranes: Where Are We Now?"

Water scarcity is one of the greatest global crises of our time. Increasing water supply beyond what is available from the hydrological cycle can be achieved by seawater desalination and wastewater reuse. Highly effective, low-cost, robust membrane-based technologies for desalination and wastewater reuse are needed, with minimal impact on the environment. However, progress in current state-of-the-art water purification membranes has been limited. This presentation will critically discuss and evaluate recent research efforts in the past 15 years to (i) lower energy consumption for water desalination by improving membrane water permeability, (ii) reduce the cost of water desalination via increased water-salt selectivity, and (iii) enhance membrane ion selectivity for applications at the water-energy nexus. The presentation will focus on the emerging area of ion selectivity where high precision ion separation is desired. We will highlight how insights from nanofluidics and ion-selective biological channels establish the basis for a new class of membranes with ion-ion selectivity. A few examples will be provided to elucidate the mechanisms of ion transport and selectivity in membranes with sub-nanometer pores. The presentation will conclude with a discussion on research directions and critical challenges for developing ion-selective membranes.

Menachem Elimelech is the Sterling Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering at Yale University. His research focuses on membrane-based technologies at the water-energy nexus, materials for next-generation desalination and water purification membranes, and environmental applications of nanomaterials. Professor Elimelech was the recipient of numerous awards in recognition of his research contributions. Notable among these awards are the 2005 Clarke Prize for excellence in water research; election to the US National Academy of Engineering in 2006; Eni Prize for ‘Protection of the Environment’ in 2015; and election to the Chinese Academy of Engineering in 2017. Professor Elimelech is also a Highly Cited Researcher in two categories (Chemistry and Environment/Ecology). Professor Elimelech has advised 43 PhD students and 37 postdoctoral researchers, many of whom hold leading positions in academia and industry. In recognition of his excellence in teaching and mentoring, he received the W.M. Keck Foundation Engineering Teaching Excellence Award in 1994, the Yale University Graduate Mentoring Award in 2004, and the Yale University Postdoctoral Mentoring Prize in 2012.
U-M ChE logo and photo of Menachem Elimelech U-M ChE logo and photo of Menachem Elimelech
U-M ChE logo and photo of Menachem Elimelech

Livestream Information

October 11, 2022 (Tuesday) 1:30pm
Meeting ID: 92993932015
Meeting Password: 620925

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