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In addition to its annual lectures, ChBE hosts a weekly seminar throughout the year with invited lecturers who are prominent in their fields. Unless otherwise noted, all seminars are held on Wednesdays in the Molecular Science and Engineering Building ("M" Building) in G011 (Cherry Logan Emerson Lecture Theater) at 4:00 p.m. Refreshments are served at 3:30 p.m. in the Emerson-Lewis Reception Salon.
Osmotically Driven Membrane Processes for Sustainable Production of Water and Power
Increasing global water scarcity and the environmental impacts of the consumption of fossil fuels present grave challenges to the present and future health, welfare, and prosperity of the people of both the developed and developing world. This presentation will introduce the emerging field of osmotically driven membrane processes (ODMPs), which shows great promise to assist in addressing these challenges. These processes, based on the use of osmotic pressure gradients in membrane separation systems, have been significantly advanced by the identification of a solution of osmotic agents that create high osmotic pressures for separations and power generation, but have the particular benefit of being thermally removable, and completely recyclable, using low quality heat. Two of these processes will be described in detail. The first of these is a method of desalination, intended to sustainably augment fresh water supply, known as forward osmosis (FO). Data from a pilot scale study of such a system, used to desalinate frac-flowback and co-produced water from the Marcellus Shale, will be discussed. The second process is a method of power generation using a closed cycle pressure retarded osmosis (PRO) system to convert low temperature heat to electrical power. Methods of modeling, designing, and operating both processes will be described. Experimental data will relate the efficiency of both processes to limitations of mass transport in the support structure of the membranes used, and illuminate the limitations and possible areas of improvement in solute separation and recycling methods. Future research in these and related areas will be discussed.