2019-20 Events

University of Tokyo

Thursday October 24, 2019
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Bahen Centre, Room 1240 (BA1240)
40 St. George Street
Toronto, ON M5S 2E4

The United Nation’s Agenda for Sustainable Development includes an acknowledgment that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies to improve health and inequality. Drinking water quality is a key factor affecting both of these, but finding solutions that provide access to clean water for communities in small, remote, and resource-poor parts of the world is difficult. For the past two decades, Dr. Kumiko Oguma has been exploring a variety of water-related challenges in underdeveloped areas in Asia. Projects include determining drinking water health risks following flooding in Jakarta, deterioration of water quality in distribution systems in Kathmandu, and identifying the potential source of a mysterious chronic kidney disease in Sri Lanka. In this talk, Prof. Oguma will focus on a recent initiative to install solar-powered ultraviolet light systems in schools in the Philippines. Ultraviolet light is known to be an excellent drinking water disinfectant, but electrical supply and longevity of the UV light source have been obstacles in the past. Her current research is exploring LED sources for UV, which promise to be more robust than traditional lamps, requiring less maintenance and intervention. The presentation will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of such an approach, and highlight where this technology might best be applied moving forward.

KUMIKO OGUMA is an Associate Professor in the Department of Urban Engineering at the University of Tokyo. Her primary research interest is in the use of UV-based technologies for the control and prevention of waterborne infectious diseases. Prof. Oguma has spent considerable time investigating water-related health issues in developing countries in South and Southeast Asia. She currently serves as the Asia-Pacific Regional Vice President of the International Ultraviolet Association.

Technical University of Crete

Wednesday, October 30, 2019
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Myhal Centre for Engineering Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Room 150 (MY150)
55 St. George Street
Toronto, ON M5S 0C9

Plastic debris, and in particular secondary microplastics, represent a significant problem among the various pollution problems facing the marine environment. Several studies have been conducted on the fate and weathering of plastics in the marine environment including the generation and fate of microplastics. Laboratory results on the biodegradation of plastics show great variability. An important question, which remains unanswered, is what is the level of weathering that makes the common plastics (C-C backbone) biodegradable at a reasonably fast rate. In this presentation we focus on the determination of biodegradation and fragmentation rates of polystyrene and polyethylene films naturally weathered on beach sand as well as polypropylene films weathered in seawater mesocosms. Their fate in the water column is also examined. Overall, the results are very encouraging pointing to new challenges that need to be addressed for successful biodegradation of plastics in the marine environment as well as significant advances in the context of circular economy. The most effective mitigation measures and plastic debris removal technologies from the marine environment will also be highlighted.

NICOLAS KALOGERAKIS is Professor of Biochemical Engineering at the Technical University of Crete (Greece) where he has served as Vice-President of the University Council and as Department Head (twice). Prior to that he was a Professor at SUNY-Buffalo (USA) and at the University of Calgary (Canada). He holds a Diploma in Chemical Engineering from NTUA (Athens), an MEng from McGill University and a PhD from the University of Toronto. His area of expertise includes environmental biotechnology focusing on bioremediation and phytoremediation technologies for the restoration of contaminated sites; protection and restoration of the marine environment; novel oxygenation systems and wastewater treatment; and mathematical modeling of environmental processes. Currently his group is participating in several National projects and 4 EU-funded research projects (H2020) and he was the coordinator of the large FP7-project KILL*SPILL. Prof. Kalogerakis’ publication record includes five patents, one book, 188 papers in referred journals and more than 170 presentations at international conferences including several keynote and plenary presentations. He has >8100 citations with a H-index of 47 (Scopus). He has served as a member of the European Commission Environment Committee (2007-2011) and as Sherpa at the European Commission High Level Group on Key Enabling Technologies (2013-2015).

2018-19 Events

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Thermodynamics and Transport in Desalination Systems Engineering

Wednesday, January 23, 2019
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

200 College Street
Wallberg Building

The world’s renewable fresh water supply may be considered to be the difference between precipitation over land and evaporation; and this supply is essentially fixed while world population has risen sharply and the water demands of growing economies continue to rise. As a result, water scarcity is an increasing problem throughout the world, with water shortages impacting both rural and urban populations and with substantial environmental damage as a result of water diversions for human use.

Desalination has been deployed worldwide to expand the supply of freshwater, especially for coastal populations, and its use has increased rapidly, with roughly 90 million m3/day of capacity now installed. The cost and lifetime of plants has also improved steadily. But concerns remain about the energy consumption and costs of desalination. In this talk, we will discuss research directed at understanding the causes of energy inefficiency in various desalination processes and efforts to adapt concepts from thermal systems engineering to improve the design of both thermal and membrane desalination systems. Topics to be discussed include thermodynamic and heat and mass transfer phenomena in various desalination technologies, with examples drawn from reverse osmosis, humidification-dehumidification, forward osmosis, membrane distillation, and the remediation wastewater from oil and gas production. Prospects for renewable energy integration will also be considered.

JOHN LIENHARD is the Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Water at MIT. During three decades on the MIT faculty,Lienhard’s research and educational efforts have focused on heat and mass transfer, water purification and desalination, and thermodynamics. Lienhard received his bachelors and masters degrees in thermal engineering at UCLA from the Chemical, Nuclear, and Thermal Engineering Department. He joined MIT immediately after completing his PhD in the Applied Mechanics and Engineering Science Department at UC SanDiego. Lienhard’s research on desalination has included humidification-dehumidification, membrane distillation, forward and reverse osmosis, nanofiltration, electrodialysis, management of high salinity brines, fouling, energy efficiency, and remediation of wastewater from oil/gas operations. Lienhard has directly supervised more than 85 graduate theses and postdoctoral associates, and he is the author of 200 peer-reviewed publications and three textbooks. In addition, he holds more than 40 US Patents and pending applications, many of which have been commercialized in the water industry. Lienhard is a recipient of the 2012 ASME Globalization Medal and the 2015 ASME Heat Transfer Memorial Award. Lienhard and his students have received thirteen best paper and poster awards for their desalination research over the past seven years.

University of Michigan

Can engineering controls shape the drinking water microbiome and reduce the risk of opportunistic infections?

Monday, November 12, 2018
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

40 St George Street
Bahen Centre

Biological treatment processes and particularly biofiltration have gained tremendous popularity in the drinking water field over the past decade. However, we do not yet understand how biofiltration, disinfection, and transport of treated water through distribution systems and building plumbing influence tap water and human microbiomes. Most microbes in biofilters mediate positive impacts through removal of contaminants, but others have the potential to cause disease. In high-income countries, the risk of waterborne infection is often due to exposure to opportunistic pathogens, such as Legionella pneumophila and nontuberculous mycobacteria. This presentation will show that these microbes, present in source water microbiomes, are only partially removed and sometimes are selected for by current treatment practices and therefore become integrated in the diverse microbial communities in drinking water. Waterborne infections by these microbes mainly affect immunocompromised individuals, a rapidly expanding subset of the population, and result primarily from inhalation of aerosols. These findings call for an increased understanding of how drinking water aerosols impact our respiratory tract microbiomes. We have begun to address this challenge by focusing on cystic fibrosis, a condition known to predispose individuals to polymicrobial respiratory tract infection. The presentation will conclude by discussing steps water quality engineers and drinking water utilities can take to reduce risk of opportunistic infections while maintaining drinking water treatment objectives.

LUTGARDE RASKIN is the Altarum/ERIM Russell O’Neal Professor of Environmental Engineering and one of four faculty members of the University of Michigan Environmental Biotechnology group. She is inspired by the complexity of the microbial world and the astonishing progress we have made in the field of microbial ecology over the past few decades. This progress continuously motivates her to rethink engineered systems so we can better harness the power of microorganisms to treat water and recover resources from waste stream.

Lutgarde strives to understand and improve various aspects of the engineered water cycle microbiome to improve human health using sustainable design approaches. Her research places particular focus on (i) water and energy recovery from waste streams and energy crops, and (ii) drinking water systems including biofiltration, disinfection, distribution and premise plumbing.

2017-18 Events