Conventional municipal wastewater system is designed for conveyance, where solid and liquid wastes are diluted > 100 times by flushing water to more easily channel the mixture to a wastewater treatment facility. However essential nutrients of nitrogen and phosphorus in significant concentrations are present in anthropogenic liquid waste (i.e., urine). The dilution of urine by the flushing water, and also mixing with solid waste and other waste streams, renders the recovery of N and P at a conventional wastewater treatment facility thermodynamically unfavorable and technically challenging. As such, there is strong impetus to develop innovative technologies that can recovery N and P from diverted urine cost-effectively. The overall goal of this project is to develop technologies for the integrated recovery of N and P from synthetic urine.
The student will be part of the nutrient recovery project team and work with a senior researcher. The undergraduate will be involved in all aspect of research: from literature review to formulation of research plan to execution of experiments to data analysis to presentation of findings. The project will study the impact of material chemistry on ammonia and water vapor transport across a microporous hydrophobic membrane. Specific tasks include: i) conduct direct contact membrane distillation experiments and measure performance parameters, such as water flux, ammonia flux, and relative selectivity and ii) contact angle measurements using the goniometer to determine surface free energy.
Direct Supervisor: Ngai Yin Yip
Applicants should have background in the physical sciences, specifically physics and chemistry. GPA should be > 3.50. Relevant courses is a plus. Experience with lab work is preferred but is not a requisite. Freshmen and sophomores committed to research beyond the summer are encouraged to apply.