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Mar 25 2024

Advancing Sustainable Energy Through Electrochemical and Membrane Separation Technologies

CME Department Seminar

March 25, 2024

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM America/Chicago


ERF 1047


842 W. Taylor St., Chicago, IL 60607

Presenter: Lauren Valentino, PhD, Argonne National Laboratory
Location: ERF 1047

Abstract: The increasing energy demand is amplifying concerns about greenhouse gas emissions, and this is driving an energy transition to mitigate climate change, protect human health, and enhance energy security. Effective separation technologies play a key role in the production of clean energy, including bioenergy. In biorefining processes, the most energy-intensive and costly steps often involve the separation and purification of biofuels or their intermediates. As an alternative to thermal-based processes, electrochemical-based and pressure-driven membrane technologies offer several advantages, e.g., lower energy, carbon, and/or physical footprint, but both material and process engineering are required to transition these technologies to a commercial biorefinery scale. This talk will cover the development and application of capacitive deionization (CDI), an electrochemical technology, for extracting organic biofuel precursors as well as inorganic salts, which may limit the lifetime of upgrading catalysts. Insight into the stability of carbon-based electrodes under practical conditions will be presented. One limitation of electrochemical separations is that they are primarily focused on charged species, whereas pressure-driven membrane technologies are broadly applicable to both charged and uncharged solutes. Despite the possibility of significant energy savings, similar chemistries and properties among commercially available nanofiltration and reverse osmosis membranes make them susceptible to operational problems, such as membrane fouling and chemical degradation. This talk will highlight the potential for organic solvent nanofiltration applications and discuss need for membranes with controlled selectivity. In addition, the use of computational simulations will explore how different functional groups within organic frameworks impact critical membrane performance parameters, e.g., membrane permeance and solute rejection. Finally, the challenges and opportunities associated with implementation of these processes in real-world applications, including the need for further research on electrode and membrane materials, system design, and optimization will be discussed.

Speaker Bio: Dr. Lauren Valentino is an environmental engineer in the Applied Materials Division at Argonne National Laboratory. She leads the Bioprocessing Separations Consortium, a multi-national laboratory collaborative effort that is supported by U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office and aims to address technical challenges associated with cost-effective production of biofuels and bioproducts. At Argonne, Valentino is working to address the challenges associated with clean and sustainable water and energy supplies. More specifically, her research focuses on material and technology development for various separation applications, including desalination and product/resource recovery. Valentino completed her B.S. degree in civil and environmental engineering with a minor in chemistry in 2011, M.S. degree in environmental engineering in 2013, and Ph.D. degree in environmental engineering in 2017, all at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.


Prof. Sybil Derrible

Date posted

Mar 20, 2024

Date updated

Mar 20, 2024