PROJECT:Growing populations, agricultural land under cultivation, and stricter environmental regulations are pushing providers to consider highly impaired water sources, such as wastewater, as potab as In-Situ Sensors in Autonomous Water Treatment Systems

Integrating Electrically Conducting Membranes as In-Situ Sensors in Autonomous Water Treatment Systems

Growing populations, agricultural land under cultivation, and stricter environmental regulations are pushing providers to consider highly impaired water sources, such as wastewater, as potable water sources. However, the complex nature of these water resources in terms of the concentrations and variety of contaminants is driving a growing interest in membrane-based separation processes, due to the membrane’s ability to physically remove these contaminants from the purified product stream. Membrane systems are typically controlled using proprietary software and hardware, and require a skilled operator to monitor system performance. These conditions limit system flexibility, and make the deployment of these systems in remote locations difficult. In this project, we will develop membrane-based systems that couple electrically conducting membranes with open-source hardware and software to produce a modular and autonomous water treatment technology that can adjust operating conditions to respond to changes in feed water quality, as well as initiate cleaning and maintenance operations without the need of human intervention. Here, the electrically conducting membranes will serve multiple roles, including removal of contaminants, electrochemical sensors for fouling monitoring, and self-cleaning surface through electrooxidation. Data from the membrane sensors, as well as other sensors in the system (pressure, flow meters, conductivity) will be integrated in a logical command framework that will control system parameters with the goal of optimizing system performance. This seed project will form a foundation for our overall goal of developing autonomous water treatment systems that can be rapidly deployed across multiple environments to produce potable water from any contaminated water resource.

Researchers: 
Matsumoto