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In a Flash

Multi-stage flash water desalination is a process that turns saltwater into drinkable water. Abbreviated as MSF, this process works by using heat exchangers and condensers to turn water into steam, and then back into water. While this method is unfamiliar in the United States, it is the most common drinking water treatment in Saudia Arabia and other desert biomes such as Kuwait and United Arab Emirates.

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Image of Saudi Arabia from KPMG.

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Oh, the Places I Go

Map of Madison Wisconsin.

Map of the lakes from WisContext.

Living in a city situated between two scenic lakes, I had to wonder why my drinking water wasn’t coming from either one of them. Madison, Wisconsin gets its drinking water from a sandstone aquifer that sits 90 to 95 feet below the ground’s surface according to Madison Water Utility. Twenty-two wells and many more pipes intertwine to serve the ever-growing population of this capital city. Continue reading

Activated Sludge

Imagine you are on a conveyor belt. The conveyor belt is circling around a box of pizza. Every time you get close enough, you take a slice of pizza. If the conveyor belt moves too fast, you can’t grab the pizza. But if it’s too slow, you’ll starve and the pizza won’t be nice and hot anymore and it might even start to grow mold. This is how the activated sludge process was explained to me in my first Environmental Engineering lecture many moons ago.

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A simplification of the activated sludge process.

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Sustainability Month

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My zero-emission mode of transport for the week.

I hope everyone was able to get outside this past Sunday to celebrate the holiday. Remember, environmental awareness doesn’t have to end with Earth Day! Keep the environmental vibes alive into the month of April, the Sustainability Month.¬† Continue reading

What a Superfund Site Really Looks Like

This past week I took a trip to the old Bethlehem Steel site in Buffalo, NY. Although the general public is prohibited from the site while remediation is going on, I was allowed to tour the site with two engineers as guides. I got the chance to see what a Superfund Site truly looks like, and spoiler alert, it wasn’t the futuristic radioactive wasteland that toxic sites are typically portrayed as by so many sci-fi movies.

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The cold lake breeze across my face really woke me up.

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Exotic Pet Ownership

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The majestic yet venomous (and very invasive) lionfish from Hakai Magazine.

Lately I’ve been pondering what type of pet I’d like to own when I finally move out of my college dorm and into the real word. During my time searching the interwebs, I discovered several exotic and even wild animals that I could easily purchase online, such as sugar gliders and even fennec foxes. After a couple minutes, I found myself stumbling on article after article that advocates against owning novelty pets. And so the moral debate begins.

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Atmospheric Water Generators

Typical Atmospheric Water Generators (AWGs) don’t work well in environments with low humidity or temperature. Scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found a way to extract water from soil in the driest biome in the world- the desert. Using an air-cooled sorbent-based atmospheric water harvesting device, the research group predicted that over a quarter-liter of water could be extracted per kilogram of metal-organic framework (MOF) each day.

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Image from supplementary documents of MIT study.

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