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  • Astani Civil and Environmental Engineering Seminar

    Thu, Apr 18, 2019 @ 04:00 PM - 05:00 PM

    Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars

    Speaker: Gustavo A. Fimbres Weihs, PhD, CONACYT Research Fellow - ITSON, Dept. of Water & Environmental Sciences, Instituto Tecnológico de Sonora

    Talk Title: Reducing the impacts of biofouling in RO through membrane modifications and hydrodynamics -“ Dealing with water scarcity in Sonora, Mexico

    Abstract: Water scarcity affects many regions of the world that already face issues with water supply. The state of Sonora, Mexico, is constantly afflicted by physical water scarcity, and this has led to social conflict in recent years. This work summarizes recent results of the CONACyT Fellowship Research Project at ITSON, which aims to improve the understanding of reverse osmosis membrane biofouling, specifically for the Pacific coast of Mexico, and develop strategies for reducing its impact on seawater desalination. Both experimental and numerical (CFD) efforts are underway. Through the analysis of the microbiological composition and seasonal variability of water from the Sea of Cortez, native seawater bacterium strain (Bacillus halotolerans MCC1) has been isolated and used for accelerated biofouling experiments. The suitability of iron nanoparticles (FeNPs) and graphene oxide (GO) for reducing biofouling has been tested. CFD simulations have been performed to test forced transient flow techniques for improving mass transfers in membrane modules, and for designing novel spacer geometries through 3D printing techniques. Moreover, the use of solar energy for desalination is being assessed and optimized. By means of this multi-prong approach, the aim is to reduce costs and make RO desalination an accessible technology for dealing with water scarcity in Sonora.

    Biography: Dr. Gustavo Fimbres Weihs received his B.Eng. in Chemical and Systems Engineering in 2002 from Monterrey Tech, Campus Monterrey, and his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering in 2008 from the University of New South Wales (UNSW), in Sydney, Australia, at the UNESCO Membrane Science and Technology Center. During his doctoral work he used numerical simulations of fluid dynamics (CFD) to analyze the flows within the membrane modules that are used for water treatment and desalination. He also worked on a desalination linkage project between the University of New South Wales and the European Union, as part of Framework Programme 6. From 2009 to 2014 he worked as a researcher for the Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies (CO2CRC) in Australia, where he led the research into CO2 Transport Networks and co-led the development of a techno-economic model for the analysis of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) projects. He has collaborated on consultancy and feasibility studies conducted by CO2CRC. He is currently a CONACYT Research Fellow at the Instituto Tecnológico de Sonora (ITSON), where he leads collaborative research projects dealing with RO membrane biofouling (IHE-Delft), membrane modifications, solar energy use for desalination (CSIR-CSMCRI India) and CFD modelling of the hydrodynamics in membrane modules (UMP Malaysia). He is a board member of the Mexican Society of Membrane Science and Technology

    Host: Dr. Amy Childress

    Location: Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience (MCB) - 101

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Contact: Evangeline Reyes

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