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The mission of the Water & Energy Efficiency for the Environment Lab (WE3Lab) is to enhance water security by reducing the cost and carbon intensity of water desalination.  Recent projects include:

Desalination for a Circular Water Economy:

Our research demonstrates that augmenting future water supplies with small-scale, decentralized water reuse systems can be a cost-effective and low-carbon alternative to building new, large scale water treatment and conveyance infrastructure. Realizing this circular water future requires moving from conventional economies of scale in water system design to next-generation economies of scale in water system manufacturing, installation, and operation that are enabled by A-PRIME water reuse technologies. We leverage expertise in structure-property-function relationships of thin-film materials, heat and mass transfer modeling in membrane processes, and equation-oriented process optimization to identify and implement high impact A-PRIME innovations for a variety of high and low salinity water sources. Sample publications include:

Desalination for a Circular Water economy

High-Impact Innovations for High-Salinity Membrane Desalination

Osmotically Assisted Reverse Osmosis for High Salinity Brine Treatment

Ion Transport and Competition Effects on NaTi2(PO4)3 and Na4Mn9O18 Selective Insertion Electrode Performance

Coordinated Operation of Next-Generation Water and Energy Infrastructure Systems:

Water systems are rapidly diversifying supply (diversification), augmenting centralized infrastructure with distributed systems (decentralization), enlarging storage capacity to decouple supply and demand (decoupling), improving water use efficiency (demand softening), automating system operation (digitization), and minimizing carbon emissions (decarbonization). This 6D evolution enabled by A-PRIME technologies mirrors a similarly dramatic transformation in the electricity sector and introduces new opportunities for synergistic operation of water and electricity infrastructure. Our group works on quantifying and expanding opportunities for water-electricity infrastructure coordination. We have proposed and evaluated several new mechanisms by which water and wastewater treatment facilities, water distribution systems, and water end users can profitably deliver energy services (e.g., demand response, frequency regulation) without compromising water quality, system reliability, or emergency response capacity.  Sample publications include:

Build Back Wiser

Marginal Energy Intensity of Water Supply

Energy-Optimal Siting of Decentralized Water Recycling Systems

Water Treatment Capacity of Forward-Osmosis Systems Utilizing Power-Plant Waste Heat

Design and Enforcement of Water-Energy-Food Policies:

Our group applies expertise in high resolution quantitative policy analysis and technoeconomic assessment to inform water-energy-food policy. We have developed generalizable frameworks for assessing spatially resolved air-water emissions tradeoffs and applied these models to quantify the net benefits of proposed water quality regulations in industrial and municipal applications. We have quantified risk heterogeneity arising from several federal and state water and energy policies, demonstrating the potential for disparate impacts and environmental injustice under federalist policy structures.  And we have developed a suite of capacity expansion models, uncertainty quantification models, and econometric behavioral response models for informing the design, monitoring, and enforcement of water policies.

Spatially resolved air-water emissions tradeoffs improve regulatory impact analyses for electricity generation

Management and Dewatering of Brines Extracted From Geologic Carbon Storage Sites

High-Resolution Model for Estimating the Economic and Policy Implications of Agricultural Soil Salinization in California

Multiobjective optimization model for minimizing cost and environmental impact in shale gas water and wastewater management