Our lab is involved in multiple research projects, including collaboration with researchers and industry in Israel and around the world.
Major research topics include development of water treatment technology, process modeling and phosphorus recovery from wastewater.
Sustainable Processes. We develop and study novel process schemes, in search for sustainable cost-effective technological solutions for environmental and industrial water relsated challenges. Membrane technology, which is viewed by many as the most important technological advancement achieved in the field of water treatment in recent decades, is at the center of this effort. Various membrane technologies, e.g. pressure driven (RO, NF, UF) and electrically driven (ED, EDBM) as well as other physico-chemical processes (crystallization, gas-transfer, ion-exchange etc.) are used for this purpose. Often, we collaborate with material scientists and chemists that develop a novel material required for our envisioned technological advancement. Variety of applications from seawater and brackish water desalination to domestic and industrial wastewater reclamation and resource recovery are addressed.
Development of novel ion-exchange membranes for sustainable desalination of brackish water
Advanced Process Modeling. The coupling of mass-transfer and geochemical models is termed reactive-transport modeling. This approach is applied in our lab to develop computer simulations for various physico-chemical water treatment processes. Using our advanced simulation tools, we aim to improve both the accuracy and validity range of predictive models; and to study the ways in which water treatment processes affect, and affected by, water chemistry. This is highly relevant to processes where mass transfer, phase transitions and/or kinetically limited (slow) chemical reactions occurs simultaneously with multiple (fast) chemical equilibrium reactions.
The WATRO model for predicting acid-base dynamics in RO
Phosphorus Removal and Recovery. Phosphorus (P) is at the center of two major global issues, food security and environmental sustainability. P is one of the primary macro-nutrients required for plant growth and is therefore widely applied as fertilizer. Currently, P is obtained predominantly via mining of calcium-phosphate rocks, but these ores are a non-renewable resource that is gradually depleting. From environmental perspective, the disposal of excess P into aquatic ecosystems following its consumption induces overgrowth of microorganisms (eutrophication), which creates anoxic conditions. As a result, water quality severely deteriorates, adversely affecting the usability and biodiversity of the receiving water body. Thus, there is a strong incentive, backed up by increasingly stringent regulations, to further decrease P discharge limitations required for treated wastewater (effluents). In our lab, we tackle the phosphorus challenge from multiple angles. We promote phosphorus stewardship by studying routes for process intensification and resource efficiency in phosphoric acid plants; and by developing novel methods to remove and recover phosphorus from different types of wastewater.
Iron-oxide sorbent embedded in a membrane - a new way to utilize electric potential for intensifying phosphate sorption. See below an image of the membrane taken with an electron microscope