Sustainability

Sustainability

ECE PhD student Mohammed Al-Qizwini and CSE PhD student Garrick Brazil work on MSU's autonomous vehicle with Professor Hayder Radha.

Building a sustainable economy requires expanded research in water, land, and air quality assessment and maintenance; we have a very strong group in environmental engineering. As our society wrestles with the problem of replacing its heavy use of fossil fuels with newer plant-based technologies, our biotechnology research effort is poised to expand in a collaborative role.

In the News

What's in Your Water?

Research by environmental engineer Rebecca Lahr found tap water residues are like fingerprints

“What’s in your water?” has become an increasingly fraught question for many people in the U.S. and around the world. Getting the answer isn’t always easy or cheap. Today, scientists are reporting that they are using the Tap water droplets from two buildings at MSU leave behind different coffee-ring patterns: “hard” water is shown on the left and water treated with a softener is shown on the right. Photo: Xiaoyan Li

Tap water droplets from two buildings at MSU leave behind different coffee-ring patterns: “hard” water is shown on the left and water treated with a softener is shown on the right. Photo: Xiaoyan Li familiar “coffee-ring effect” to analyze multiple components in a single drop of water easily, quickly and cheaply. And someday, the public could use the method to test their own tap water.

In a nutshell, the coffee-ring effect is the familiar phenomenon in which the particles in a droplet of water tend to concentrate around the edges of the droplet as the water evaporates.

“The patterns left by the coffee-ring effect for real-world tap water samples are more intricate and unique for each water source,” said Rebecca Lahr, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering and MSU’s Lyman Briggs College. “There is a stunning amount of information there to analyze. The residue patterns for tap water are like fingerprints that can be used to identify what’s in a sample.”

The goal, Lahr said, “is to create a library of patterns produced by the coffee ring effects for known water samples that can be used to identify the patterns from unknown samples.” She is also working on programs to automate comparison of unknown water samples to the library.

Click the following link to read the full article: https://www.egr.msu.edu/news/2017/08/22/what%E2%80%99s-your-water


Shuffling Water Hotspots

MSU Engineering researcher is helping assess the worldwide impact of human intervention on water scarcity

Sometimes water management techniques just shuffle the world's water hotspots, warns Yadu Pokhrel.

Water management techniques like reservoirs, dams, and irrigation measures have improved water availability for many around the globe, but they can sweep water scarcity problems downstream for those who live there. 

Sometimes water management techniques just shuffle the world's water hotspots, warns Yadu Pokhrel.

From 1971 to 2010, research has found, human impacts have drastically reshuffled water scarcity hotspots, with impacts on approximately one-third of the global population. On average, 20 percent of the global population experienced a significant increase in water availability due to human interventions, such as building water storage, alleviating water scarcity experienced by 8 percent of the population. At the same time, another 23 percent have experienced a significant decrease in water availability, for 9 percent aggravating water scarcity problems.

Yadu Pokhrel, assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and participating member in the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project, said the overuse of groundwater around the world is an unseen drought. 

“The extremes are getting worse,” he warned. “With seven billion plus of us on the planet, we’ve got to start rethinking how we use fresh water,” he added.

Click the following link to read the full article: https://www.egr.msu.edu/news/2017/06/15/shuffling-water-hotspots


Collaborating in Flint

Susan Masten is part of a University Research Corridor team that is examining if the point-of-use replacement schedule for water filters being used in Flint is best for the Flint water distribution system.Michigan universities collaborate to examine water filters used by Flint residents

Researchers from Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University are conducting studies to determine the best ways to manage the type of point-of-use water filters being used by Flint residents. 

The studies are supported by grants from the National Science Foundation.

Several previous studies have shown that point-of-use water filters can harbor and support the growth of bacteria in water, said Nancy Love, professor of civil and environmental engineering at U-M. Filters have been shown to work well to remove metals such as lead and chemicals produced during chlorination. Love emphasized that Flint residents should continue to use water filters in accordance with manufacturers’ recommendations. 

“All water, including drinking water, contains some amount of bacteria. The question is whether the bacteria are harmful,” Love said. “Our research is focused on helping to determine how filters may be used to reduce or prevent transmission of harmful bacteria through the filters. Our study is well under way and we will make the results public once the scientific process is complete.” 

The research team is coordinating closely with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the Genesee County Health Department and the Flint Mayor’s Office. 

Click the following link to read the full article: http://www.egr.msu.edu/news/2016/10/11/collaborating-flint


IEEE FellowXiaobo Tan was been named an IEEE Fellow "for contributions to modeling and control of smart materials and underwater robots."

Xiaobo Tan named to prestigious IEEE honor

Xiaobo Tan, Michigan State University Foundation Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been named a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the world’s largest professional organization for the advancement of technology.

The honor, which is effective Jan. 1, 2017, is the highest grade of membership in IEEE and is recognized by the technical community as a prestigious honor and an important career achievement. IEEE selects less than 0.1 percent of its voting members for this designation each year.

Tan was named a Fellow “for contributions to modeling and control of smart materials and underwater robots.”

Click the following link to read the full article: http://www.egr.msu.edu/news/2016/11/23/ieee-fellow


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