Talk 1 – “Membrane Desalination: Past, Present, and Future” by Leo Banchik
Since the 1960’s, membrane desalination technologies have burst out of the lab to become the most energy efficient way to attain pure water from saline waters. Reverse osmosis (RO), in particular, has made tremendous strides and the amount of energy it consumes is nearing the thermodynamic limit. While new RO plants continue to be built around the world, new membrane technologies, such as forward osmosis and pressure-retarded osmosis, are receiving great attention in scientific literature. These technologies may further decrease the energetic costs of RO desalination or replace RO systems altogether. How do these technologies work? In which markets can these technologies be applied? What is reverse osmosis anyway? This talk will attempt to answer these questions and more.
Leo is a PhD student at MIT aiming to improve the performance of membrane-based desalination technologies. As a master’s student, he studied osmotic mass exchangers for use in desalination, energy recovery, and salinity gradient power production. Leo currently serves as Vice President of the MIT Water Club, a group which connects researchers working in the water sector to related industries. Prior to grad school, Leo worked at the Department of Energy, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and at Oak Ridge National Lab. When not in classes, he enjoys playing a variety of string instruments, reading, cooking, biking, and developing websites.
Talk 2 – “Ceramic Water Filter Design for Developing Countries” by Amelia Servi
Amelia will discuss challenges faced in getting clean water to the rural poor of the developing world. In particular, she will describe her work with ceramic pot filters, a locally produced, household-level water treatment option, and her experience addressing the design and manufacturing challenges of the product.
Amelia spent the last few years working with ceramic pot filters as part of a Master’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering at MIT. Through her work she spent time with filter manufactures in both Cambodia and Ghana. Amelia is currently continuing her interest in water treatment, pursuing a PhD in Mechanical Engineering at MIT working on desalination systems.