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What is the overall goal of your project?
The goal is to develop a new class of scalable nanostructure films for energy-efficient water purification. Roll-to-roll printing and process control will be explored for tuning the film cost, quality and yield to meet the practical demand.    

Which grand challenge are you addressing?
Accessible fresh water on Earth is very limited. Over 97% of the world water is seawater, and < 3% is fresh water, in which 2% is locked up in the ice caps and glaciers and thus only <1% is accessible surface freshwater. A scarcity of drinkable water is a worldwide concern with increasing demand for freshwater and declining quality of existing resources.

What is the key challenge your project is trying to solve?
Reverse osmosis (RO) membrane-based water desalination technology has attracted significant attention and accounts for two-thirds of world’s installed desalination capacity. However, current RO technology is energy-intensive with very low yield. This project aims to significantly improve the energy efficiency and yield of the desalinated water while maintaining the performance.

What is the impact on society your project has?
The project innovatively integrates local nanostructures with long-range orderness via high-rate Roll-to-Roll printing and thus could lead to a new class of membrane for energy efficient water purification. This could provide a potential solution in tackling the challenge of the water crisis and promoting water sustainability by converting abundant salty water into drinkable water. The energy-efficient and cost-effective water purification could also provide a potable water supply for on-site demand, and enable a promising solution in the natural disaster management, such as a hurricane. The results from this project will significantly impact society, economics, and our community.

Faculty Mentors: Shiren Wang, Samuel Ma, Lei Fang, Anish Jantrania

Engineering majors targeted: BAEN,CHEN, CVEN, ISEN, MEEN