Trash to Treasure: Extracting and Converting Wastewater Pollutants into Products

Trash to Treasure: Extracting and Converting Wastewater Pollutants into Products

William Abraham Tarpeh, PhD Department of Chemical Engineering, Stanford University

DATE: Wednesday, July 14, 2021

TIME: 7:00 PM

PLACE: Your Computer

RSVP: extracting-and-converting-wastewater-pollutants- tickets-159947576507



William Tarpeh, PhD, is an assistant professor at Stanford University in the Department of Chemical Engineering. He received a BS degree in chemical engineering from Stanford University and MS and PhD degrees in environmental engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.


One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. But what about one person’s wastewater? Because over 80% of wastewater generated worldwide is discharged to the environment without treatment, valorizing wastewater can simultaneously mitigate pollution and improve chemical manufacturing. This seminar will focus on nitrogen and sulfur, two key fertilizer constituents found in wastewater. Wastewater-derived fertilizers can reduce the energy input, cost, and greenhouse gas emissions of conventional manufacturing while reducing the effects of runaway pollution that causes harmful algal blooms. We pair novel electrochemical processes and materials to advance the science of extracting and converting wastewater pollutants into products. While wastewaters are promising modern mines, their variable and heterogeneous composition require highly selective reactive separation processes to achieve this goal. Electrochemical approaches are particularly well-suited for this challenge because they can be applied in distributed networks, across multiple scales, and with automated process control. These approaches level catalysis and separations to improve the sustainability of chemical manufacturing and the efficacy of environmental protection for future generations.