Clean water, clean air: ChemE research addresses big sustainability questions

Every person on this planet needs clean water to survive. Yet the World Bank estimates that 1.6 billion people — that’s more than one in five — live in a region of “absolute water scarcity.” That number is expected to climb to 2.8 billion by 2025 due to climate change.

Professor Ramin Farnood (ChemE PhD 9T5) has devoted much of his career to developing novel methods of treating both waste and drinking water to eliminate both microbial and chemical contaminants. Now, he’s applying that expertise to mitigating climate change.

The research connection between clean water and climate change mitigation is a new one, born out of the novel membrane technologies Farnood and his research group have developed over more than five years of work.

“We’ve recently begun looking at using these membranes to remove carbon dioxide from air,” says Farnood. “We’re also studying converting biomass — such as sewage and algae — to hydrogen and methane as an alternative source to fossil fuels for energy.”

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