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Mar 22 2024

Precise Water Quality Control: Using Chemistry to Engineer Resilient Water Systems

CME Department Seminar

March 22, 2024

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


1047 ERF


842 W. Taylor St., Chicago, IL 60607

Presenter: Weiyi Pan, PhD, Yale University
Location: 1047 ERF

Abstract: Water resilience is increasingly recognized as a pivotal solution for addressing pressing water-related challenges, such as water scarcity and water safety. Building resilience requires a holistic approach regarding the water system, including production, distribution, and recovery. Leveraging unconventional water resources such as seawater and municipal wastewater has swiftly emerged as a cornerstone for resilient water systems, effectively mitigating scarcity challenges during production. However, these sources often harbor complex contaminant mixtures, necessitating advanced treatment solutions like reverse osmosis (RO) before integration into drinking water treatment. Despite such treatments, trace-level contaminants pose unique challenges, requiring additional energy and chemical usage for safe water production and distribution. In this presentation, I will introduce a novel boron-selective electrosorption process to reduce the total cost of seawater desalination, enhancing sustainability while maintaining competitive energy requirements. The boron selectivity is enhanced by engineering the electrode’s surface functional groups. After clean water production, distribution introduces its own set of challenges, with contaminants such as lead posing risks to human health. My research underscores the pivotal role of water chemistry in maintaining lead concentration in drinking water by controlling the formation and dissolution of lead corrosion products. Looking to the future, I will also explore opportunities to fortify water systems by enable resource recovery from wastewater streams. Through continuous advancements in these three core components, our efforts strive to fortify water resilience and ensure the sustainable management of our water resources.

Speaker Bio: Weiyi Pan is a postdoctoral associate at Yale University, where he is working with Professor Menachem Elimelech. His research focuses on the intersection of environmental chemistry and sustainability. He obtained his Ph.D. in energy, environmental & chemical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis in 2022, under the guidance of Professor Daniel Giammar, and was awarded the McDonnell International Scholars Fellowship. He also holds an MS and a BE in environmental engineering from Peking University and China University of Mining and Technology (Beijing), respectively. Pan is the recipient of the ACS Division of Environmental Chemistry Graduate Student Award and the ACS Division of Geochemistry Student Travel Award. His doctoral thesis has been recognized with the Paul V. Roberts/AEESP Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award and the CAPEES/Elsevier Dissertation Award. Outside of research, Pan enjoys spending time in the gym, playing basketball, hiking, and reading.


Prof. Sybil Derrible

Date posted

Mar 19, 2024

Date updated

Mar 19, 2024