Environmental and Water Resources

Mercury in the Air

Many people have heard about the dangers of eating fish contaminated with mercury, but not everyone realizes that one of the ways mercury gets in the atmosphere is through coal-fired power plants.

Coal-fired power plants utilize a highly charged electric field, with the help of an electrostatic precipitator (ESP), to trap ash and other particulates. This keeps the amount of ash escaping from the plant very low. However, mercury is found in coal, and the ESPs are less adept at capturing it.

Urine as fertilizer

Assistant Professor Krista Wigginton’s research on urine recycling is the topic of a new video from Michigan Engineering.

Making Local, Global in Finland

Creating a Roadmap for Finnish Clean Tech

Professor Peter Adriaens is used to thinking outside the box. About nine years ago, after a long career specializing in biodegradation and bioremediation, he made a career shift from focused environmental research into bridging environmental engineering with entrepreneurial business development and finance. Today, he is a professor in the Environmental and Water Resources Engineering (EWRE) program as well as a professor of entrepreneurship and strategy in the Ross School of Business.

Drugs in the Water

Professor Nancy Love is featured in a new video from MConneX titled, “Bad Medicine? Drugs in the water.”

Love explains in the video that our bodies don't absorb all the pharmaceutical drugs we take. Much of them pass through our systems into urine and end up in wastewater treatment plants.

Researchers are working to detect those pharmaceuticals and test approaches to remove them. Love discusses what we know and what we don't know about this issue and gives advice on how consumers can best filter pharmaceuticals out at the tap.

Aline Cotel

Fluid Dynamics

Associate Professor Aline Cotel researches fluid dynamics, studying everything from the impact of biofuel spills on aquatic environments to the impact of turbulence on fish swimming and aquaculture systems.

Lutgarde Raskin

Environmental Biotechnology and Global Water Sustainability

Professor Lutgarde Raskin works on a variety of biological water and wastewater treatment processes. One of her most well-known studies found that most of the bacteria that remain in drinking water from the tap can be traced to filters used in the water treatment process, rather than to the aquifers or rivers where it originated.

Brian Ellis

How will fracking impact the environment?
Fracking, a natural gas drilling process, has been a controversial topic due to its potential environmental and societal impacts.

Fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing, injects large amounts of water, sand and chemicals deep underground to break apart rock and free natural gas. Recent technological advances have unlocked stores of previously inaccessible natural gas, resulting in a fracking boom.

Krista Wigginton

Detecting and Treating Drinking Water Contaminants

Herek Clack

Mercury Emission Control

Research Associate Professor Herek Clack and his students are researching the control of toxic air pollutants, specifically toxic metals like mercury, that are emitted from combustion-related processes such as coal-fired power plants.

Avery Demond & Aline Cotel

Ethanol Biofuel Pollution

In the late 1970's the additive, methyl tert butyl ether (MTBE), was used to oxygenate gasoline mixtures. The comparatively economical solution allowed gasoline to burn more completely, reducing vehicle emissions. However, it was later discovered that MTBE easily polluted groundwater sources when spilled or leaked. Associate Professor Avery Demond ponders, "It seems that... we're heading in the same direction with ethanol. We're all jumping on the band-wagon saying 'This is great' without looking at the long term consequences on water quality."

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