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Specialty Seminar: Advancements in nano-enabled membrane distillation for sustainable water-energy-environment nexus – Dr. Alicia An

September 27 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm CDT

Dr. Alicia An

CEE and NEWT Specialty Seminar

Wednesday, September 27th, 2023 12PM – Ryon Laboratory 201 (In-Person at Rice University)
All-Hands Zoom Available to Members via NEWT Newsletter

Dr. Alicia An

Associate Professor School of Energy and Environment City University, Hong Kong, HKSAR


Abstract: Water scarcity and energy demand are two of the most pressing global challenges in the 21st century, necessitating the development of innovative and sustainable technologies. Membrane distillation (MD) has emerged as a promising solution in addressing the water-energy-environment nexus due to its potential to integrate with waste heat, renewable energy, and high-quality water production. In this talk, we aim to provide a comprehensive review of the recent advancements in nano-enabled techniques for enhancing the efficiency and performance of MD in water treatment. Integrating nanotechnology with MD has ushered in a new era of advanced materials design, enabling the development of next-generation membranes with superior properties. These nano- enhanced membranes exhibit improved physicochemical and surface properties contributing to increased permeation flux, reduced membrane fouling, increased energy efficiency, and prolonged membrane lifespan.

We also highlight the latest progress in the MD process, primarily focusing on improving membrane performance and integrating MD with renewable energy sources such as solar power. Additionally, advanced photothermal-catalytic integrated MD systems will be presented, which have recently been explored for MD applications beyond water production. These integrated co- generation systems allow for simultaneous water purification and the production of renewable fuels, including hydrogen (H2), ammonia (NH3), and methane (CH4), thereby making substantial contributions to both the water and energy sectors. By harnessing the potential of nano-enabled MD, we can move towards achieving the global goals of water and energy security, thereby promoting a more sustainable and resilient future for all.

Bio: Dr. An received her PhD from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). She has been working in the field of Membrane-based water treatment more than 20 years and published over 120 papers on emerging technologies such as Membrane Distillation (MD), Forward Osmosis and hybrid Reverse Osmosis for removing emerging pollutants and resource recovery. She is listed in the Top 2% of the world’s most highly cited scientists from the report published by Elsevier and Stanford University since 2020. Dr. An has been conferred the “RGC Research Fellow” in the Research Fellow Scheme (RFS) by HKRGC in 2022. She is also an Associate Editor in Process Safety and Environmental Protection and Editorial board member in Desalination.


Lunch registration closes 9/22.


September 27
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm CDT
Event Categories:


Qilin Li


Rice University
6100 Main Street
Houston, TX United States
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