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DOE picks Carnegie Mellon and NAWI to lead Energy-Water Desalination Hub

  • DOE picks Carnegie Mellon and NAWI to lead Energy-Water Desalination Hub

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Carnegie Mellon University
A private, global research university, Carnegie Mellon stands among the world's most renowned educational institutions, and sets its own course.

Carnegie Mellon's College of Engineering has been chosen to be part of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Energy-Water Desalination Hub as a founding member of the National Alliance for Water Innovation (NAWI).

Chemical Engineering Professor Zachary Ulissi and Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Greg Lowry will participate in the new initiative to secure a circular water economy in which 90% of nontraditional water sources—such as seawater, brackish water, and produced waters—can be cost-competitive with existing water sources within 10 years.

"Our national research program will enable scientists from industry, academia, and the national labs to work together to develop new technologies to make desalination and water treatment more efficient, more reliable, and lower cost," says Peter Fiske, director of Berkeley Lab's Water-Energy Resilience Research Institute and executive director of NAWI. "Our research program will invite broad participation using a series of research proposal calls, with the first anticipated in June of 2020."

At Carnegie Mellon, the team will research selective ion removal for water remediation. In this initial project, Ulissi will use advanced modeling techniques to identify possible molecules of interest that will then be tested in a laboratory environment by Lowry to evaluate their effectiveness.

"Our understanding of surface reactivity at the atomic scale is improving. These ideas and approaches have really impacted catalysis and electrochemical energy conversion, and NAWI will allow us to develop similar concepts in water quality and treatment," says Ulissi.

"The NAWI desalination hub is a much-needed investment in water infrastructure in the United States", added Lowry. "It will provide affordable and sustainable water treatment technologies."

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