Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International



Home > Press > NSF renews Rice-based NEWT Center for water treatment: Partnership primed to introduce game-changing technologies to address global needs

Abstract:
The Nanotechnology Enabled Water Treatment Center (NEWT), a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center (ERC) with its headquarters at Rice University, has earned a five-year renewal to continue its work on next-generation water treatment systems.

NSF renews Rice-based NEWT Center for water treatment: Partnership primed to introduce game-changing technologies to address global needs

Houston, TX | Posted on October 15th, 2020

The multi-institution, multidisciplinary center under the direction of Rice environmental engineer Pedro Alvarez is a partnership between academia, industry and government to produce transformational technology as well as engineers primed to lead the global economy. The NSF award is for $16.5 million.

Along with Rice, NEWT relies on expertise from partners at Arizona State University, the University of Texas at El Paso and Yale University.

NEWT’s next five years will focus on three thrusts: the development of multifunctional nanomaterials to selectively transform pollutants into harmless byproducts; low-energy desalination and disinfection of water through nanophotonics and thin-film nanocomposite materials; and strategies to control fouling and scaling in water-treatment processes and oil and gas production.

NEWT has spearheaded research initiatives since 2015 intended to provide access to clean water anywhere in the world. The enabling technologies are easy to deploy and tap unconventional energy sources, especially solar, for humanitarian and emergency aid.

Among its other initiatives, NEWT and its partners study the decontamination of brackish water produced during oil and gas recovery to reduce the industry’s environmental impact, as well as nano-based advanced oxidation processes that remove contaminants, including antibiotic-resistant bacteria and the genetic remnants that spread resistance.

In its first five years, NEWT researchers produced 313 journal papers that represented significant advances in fundamental nanoscience, particularly in filtration technologies that remove contaminants from water. Alvarez noted 33 students have earned a Ph.D. through the program.

He used a recent study by the Rice lab of Michael Wong as an example. It detailed a nano-enabled method for the rapid photocatalytic defluorination of “forever chemicals” PFOA and GenX. “These chemicals are showing up in the blood of newborn babies,” Alvarez said. “They’re in mother’s milk. They’re in polar bears in remote locations. We don’t know how toxic they are or what long-term effects they cause, but what is certain is that current water treatment facilities do not remove them.

“There are technologies that can destroy them, but they’re so energy-intensive that they resemble using a bomb to kill a mosquito,” he said. “Here we have a catalyst that destroys this pollutant using sunlight, a low-energy, green approach that doesn’t require chemical additives. This illustrates how our technologies can do things that existing technologies cannot accomplish.”

The steady advance of nanotechnology over the past five years has broadened the center’s vision, he said.

“The big picture is that we have demonstrated nanotechnology can be used at scale to enhance treatments,” Alvarez said. “These technologies are the key to systems that are not only more efficient but also smaller and easier to deploy.”

Examples from Rice’s own labs include sun-powered systems that desalinate water by membrane distillation, and catalysis for water treatment. “Qilin Li’s nanophotonic membrane distillation is planned to be deployed in refugee camps through a Rice alum and his company,” he said. “That’s a big win.”

Techniques learned through Rice’s continuing efforts to “trap and zap” antibiotic-resistant bacteria and the genes they release has also led to efforts to deactivate the virus that causes COVID-19 in wastewater.

Education is a key component of NEWT, primarily through the NanoEnvironmental Engineering for Teachers (NEET) program offered by the Rice Office of STEM Engagement. The program empowers high school science, environmental and biology teachers to implement engineering-based classroom activities on water sustainability. The program is administered by Carolyn Nichol, director of the office and a faculty fellow in Rice’s Department of Chemistry.

####

About Rice University
Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,978 undergraduates and 3,192 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is just under 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for lots of race/class interaction and No. 1 for quality of life by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.

Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Jeff Falk
713-348-6775


Mike Williams
713-348-6728

Copyright © Rice University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

Rice, ASU, Yale, UTEP win NSF engineering research center:

NEWT Center:

George R. Brown School of Engineering:

Related News Press

News and information

HKUST researchers develop a novel integration scheme for efficient coupling between III-V and silicon November 18th, 2022

Researchers at Purdue unlock light-matter interactions on sub-nanometer scales, leading to ‘picophotonics’ November 18th, 2022

Rice turns asphaltene into graphene for composites: ‘Flashed’ byproduct of crude oil could bolster materials, polymer inks November 18th, 2022

How “2D” materials expand: New technique that accurately measures how atom-thin materials expand when heated could help engineers develop faster, more powerful electronic devices November 18th, 2022

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

NIST’s grid of quantum islands could reveal secrets for powerful technologies November 18th, 2022

A new experiment pushes the boundaries of our understanding of topological quantum matter: The behavior of bosonic particles observed in a magnetic insulator fabricated from ruthenium chloride can be explained by a relatively new and little-studied physics phenomenon called the B November 18th, 2022

Trial by wind: Testing the heat resistance of carbon fiber-reinforced ultra-high-temperature ceramic matrix composites: Researchers use an arc-wind tunnel to test the heat resistance of carbon fiber reinforced ultra-high-temperature ceramic matrix composites November 18th, 2022

How “2D” materials expand: New technique that accurately measures how atom-thin materials expand when heated could help engineers develop faster, more powerful electronic devices November 18th, 2022

Possible Futures

HKUST researchers develop a novel integration scheme for efficient coupling between III-V and silicon November 18th, 2022

NIST’s grid of quantum islands could reveal secrets for powerful technologies November 18th, 2022

A new experiment pushes the boundaries of our understanding of topological quantum matter: The behavior of bosonic particles observed in a magnetic insulator fabricated from ruthenium chloride can be explained by a relatively new and little-studied physics phenomenon called the B November 18th, 2022

Trial by wind: Testing the heat resistance of carbon fiber-reinforced ultra-high-temperature ceramic matrix composites: Researchers use an arc-wind tunnel to test the heat resistance of carbon fiber reinforced ultra-high-temperature ceramic matrix composites November 18th, 2022

Academic/Education

Multi-institution, $4.6 million NSF grant to fund nanotechnology training September 9th, 2022

National Space Society Helps Fund Expanding Frontier’s Brownsville Summer Entrepreneur Academy: National Space Society and Club for the Future to Support Youth Development Program in South Texas June 24th, 2022

How a physicist aims to reduce the noise in quantum computing: NAU assistant professor Ryan Behunin received an NSF CAREER grant to study how to reduce the noise produced in the process of quantum computing, which will make it better and more practical April 1st, 2022

Lifeboat Foundation Guardian Winner Jeff Bezos Donates One Million to Lifeboat Foundation Dream Project Winner Teachers in Space July 30th, 2021

Announcements

HKUST researchers develop a novel integration scheme for efficient coupling between III-V and silicon November 18th, 2022

NIST’s grid of quantum islands could reveal secrets for powerful technologies November 18th, 2022

A new experiment pushes the boundaries of our understanding of topological quantum matter: The behavior of bosonic particles observed in a magnetic insulator fabricated from ruthenium chloride can be explained by a relatively new and little-studied physics phenomenon called the B November 18th, 2022

How “2D” materials expand: New technique that accurately measures how atom-thin materials expand when heated could help engineers develop faster, more powerful electronic devices November 18th, 2022

Water

Taking salt out of the water equation October 7th, 2022

Scientists capture a ‘quantum tug’ between neighboring water molecules: Ultrafast electrons shed light on the web of hydrogen bonds that gives water its strange properties, vital for many chemical and biological processes July 8th, 2022

Scientists offer solutions for risky tap water June 17th, 2022

UBCO researchers change the game when it comes to activity tracking: Flexible, highly sensitive motion device created by extrusion printing June 17th, 2022

Grants/Sponsored Research/Awards/Scholarships/Gifts/Contests/Honors/Records

A new experiment pushes the boundaries of our understanding of topological quantum matter: The behavior of bosonic particles observed in a magnetic insulator fabricated from ruthenium chloride can be explained by a relatively new and little-studied physics phenomenon called the B November 18th, 2022

An on-chip time-lens generates ultrafast pulses: New device opens the doors to applications in communication, quantum computing, astronomy November 18th, 2022

Rice turns asphaltene into graphene for composites: ‘Flashed’ byproduct of crude oil could bolster materials, polymer inks November 18th, 2022

How “2D” materials expand: New technique that accurately measures how atom-thin materials expand when heated could help engineers develop faster, more powerful electronic devices November 18th, 2022

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project