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Mar 13 2024

Pollutants to Power: Chemistry for Environmental Remediation & Sustainable Energy

CME Department Seminar

March 13, 2024

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


ERF 1047


842 W. Taylor St., Chicago, IL 60607

Presenter: Michael J. Bentel, PhD, University of Cincinnati
Location: 1047 ERF

Abstract: Water is a fundamental component within the Water-Energy-Food Nexus, crucial for fostering sustainability. Modern environmental engineering faces substantial grand challenges, including pollution mitigation, climate change adaptation, and ensuring sustainable food, water, and energy supplies. This presentation will address two main areas: firstly, the development of efficient chemical treatment technologies for combating contamination by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS); and secondly, the exploration of multidisciplinary approaches to advance novel technologies and materials vital for environmental sustainability and energy applications. The first segment focuses on addressing PFAS, a widespread class of organofluorine compounds with severe implications for both human health and the environment. Utilizing the UV/sulfite photochemical system – an emerging advanced reduction process (ARP) – demonstrates the efficacy of hydrated electrons (eaq) in chemically destroying a broad spectrum of PFAS compounds. Investigating critical structure–reactivity relationships elucidates distinct reaction pathways, particularly under basic conditions. Through system optimization and subsequent oxidation (via heat-activated persulfate), transformation products undergo complete mineralization, thus closing the fluorine mass balance. The second segment delves into pioneering ARPs, materials designed for pollution management and resource recovery, and electrochemical carbon dioxide reduction, all of which contribute to the holistic framework of the Water-Energy-Food Nexus. These integrated research endeavors aim to yield tangible societal benefits by offering innovative strategies to combat environmental challenges, optimize resource utilization, and bolster energy storage capabilities.

Speaker Bio: Dr. Michael J. Bentel received his B.S. in chemical engineering (2013) from the University of Illinois Chicago, followed by an M.S. in inorganic chemistry (2019), and a Ph.D. in chemical & environmental engineering (2020) from the University of California, Riverside. Currently a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Chemical & Environmental Engineering at the University of Cincinnati, Bentel is focusing on developing materials and technologies for critical water quality applications, such as PFAS destruction and resource recovery. His scholarly contributions feature prominently in esteemed scientific journals, including publications in Environmental Science & Technology (ES&T), ES&T Letters, and ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. Bentel's dedication and expertise have garnered recognition from prominent professional organizations. Notable accolades include the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP) 2021 Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award, the American Chemical Society (ACS) 2019 C. Ellen Gonter Environmental Chemistry Best Paper Award, the ACS Committee on Environmental Improvement 2019 Film Award, and the 2018 American Water Scholarship from the American Water Works Association (AWWA). Bentel's work stands as a testament to his impactful contributions and commitment to these vital fields.


Prof. Sybil Derrible

Date posted

Mar 11, 2024

Date updated

Mar 11, 2024