Energy and Clean Tech

Energy sustainability is increasingly driven by environmental concerns rather than by resource shortages.  As the global energy portfolio evolves from conventional fossil-fired power generation, to the use of renewables and cleaner-burning fuels from natural gas and biomass, the environmental engineer’s expertise is needed to ensure that emissions from power plant operations and from fuel extraction are properly managed.  The responsible use of natural resources, particularly water, in the energy sector must also be ensured.  Clean tech innovations in energy storage, air and water treatment technologies, and sustainable industrial practices can foster the transition to a greener economy, powered by energy systems with a smaller carbon footprint and a reduced environmental impact.

Research areas of interest in the Energy and Clean Tech group include the following:

  • mercury control technologies for coal combustion gases using activated carbon injection
  • particulate emissions and mercury removal in electrostatic precipitators at coal-fired power plants
  • climate change impacts of black carbon emissions from the industrial and electric power sector
  • permeability evolution in hydraulically fractured geologic media during shale gas production
  • release and transport of groundwater contaminants from shale gas reservoirs
  • development of regulatory policy pertaining to hydraulic fracturing activities
  • water footprint reduction for shale gas extraction and thermoelectric power generation
  • low-cost carbon dioxide separation from combustion stack gases using porous adsorbents
  • durable lightweight batteries for energy storage and discharge in electric drive vehicles
  • life cycle environmental impact assessment of battery manufacturing and the use of natural gas as a transportation energy resource
  • application of financial and strategic tools for clean technology investment decisions
  • reverse innovation for the extrapolation of business models for environmental technology scaling from developing countries
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