Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering
Director, Environmental Engineering Program
Roberto Goizueta Professor of Environmental and Chemical Engineering
Abstract: Membrane Materials for Desalination and Wastewater Reuse
Water scarcity is one of the greatest global crises of our time. Increasing water supply beyond what is available from the hydrological cycle can be achieved by seawater desalination and wastewater reuse. Highly effective, low-cost, robust membrane-based technologies for desalination and wastewater reuse are needed, with minimal impact on the environment. However, progress in current state-of-the-art water purification membranes has been limited. We will discuss the state-of-the art of existing membrane technologies for water purification and desalination, highlight their inherent limitations, and establish the critical needs for next-generation membranes. We will then critically analyze recent research efforts to (i) lower energy consumption for water desalination by improving membrane water permeability, (ii) reduce the cost of water desalination via increased water-salt selectivity, and (iii) enhance membrane solute-solute selectivity for applications other than water desalination.
Biographical Summary of Menachem Elimelech
Menachem Elimelech is the Roberto Goizueta Professor at the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering at Yale University. His research focuses on membrane-based technologies at the water-energy nexus, materials for next-generation desalination and water purification membranes, and environmental applications of nanomaterials. Professor Elimelech was the recipient of numerous awards in recognition of his research contributions. Notable among these awards are the 2005 Clarke Prize for excellence in water research; election to the US National Academy of Engineering in 2006; Eni Prize for ‘Protection of the Environment’ in 2015; and election to the Chinese Academy of Engineering in 2017. Professor Elimelech is also a Highly-Cited Researcher in two categories (Chemistry and Environment/Ecology). Professor Elimelech has advised 40 PhD students and 35 postdoctoral researchers, many of whom hold leading positions in academia and industry. In recognition of his excellence in teaching and mentoring, he received the W.M. Keck Foundation Engineering Teaching Excellence Award in 1994, the Yale University Graduate Mentoring Award in 2004, and the Yale University Postdoctoral Mentoring Prize in 2012.