Membranes, Water Treatment, Biomass Fuels Process Development
Dr. Pellegrino's research revolves around fundamental membrane development, characterization, and applications. We study how the properties of both the membrane, the streams, and the choice of operating conditions control the separations and productivity results. Illustrative examples include: development of membrane-based devices as part of renewable energy-based heating and cooling systems; the use of membranes for product recovery and recycling water in algae and lignocellulosic biomass processes; and devising models for optimizing particle fractionation using membranes. Recent work includes the study and scale-up of membranes containing regular surface patterns produced with nanoscale dimensions. These membranes appear to resist fouling deposition through both hydrodynamic and surface energy influences. Currently we are incorporating these materials in studies of crystallization related to both water desalination and making nanoparticles. We are also developing unique membrane electrode materials for broad application in electrochemical products and processes.
Civilization is constructed upon its peoples’ ability to separate things which naturally mix together back into their component parts for use in society, economy, and security. For example, energy metals like lithium and clean water (in general) require unmixing (purification). Membrane science and technology is the most energy-efficient way of reversing nature’s natural tendancy to mix things, and our lab works on many unnatural processes relating to water, energy, and medical applications.