At my day job, I am a nationally-recognized expert on the "energy-water nexus," and I frequently write and speak on the topic. Over the last couple of years, I have moved into the broader field of innovation in the water sector, and I am currently working with 4 federal agencies and 2 NGOs to develop an international network of test bed facilities for new water technologies. I have organized 6 conferences on the topic and helped prepare specialty sessions on it at 9 others. I have also organized a series of trainings in 7 states and Puerto Rico.
Although I started out looking narrowly at reducing energy use at these facilities, my work is now much more broad and includes all sorts of aspects related to making the wastewater treatment a model industry for sustainability in the 21st century. This stretches from energy production via gasification or anaerobic digestion to completely rethinking the way we design treatment plants to changing our regulatory policies to foster innovation and sustainable approaches.
In an effort to explain the complexities of water and energy for a speech at the New York Water Environment Association Energy Conference I gave in November, 2012, I created a mind map which you can find at this link. This map gives some sense of the scale and complexity of the issue.
The problems facing the industry include new contaminants and regulations, aging infrastructure, and the impacts of climate change. I have sketched out the issues and some potential solutions in this powerpoint deck (7 MB PDF). Briefly put, we need to invest nearly one trillion dollars in our water and wastewater infrastructure to meet our demands using current methods. My interest is in finding ways to spend less, do more, and get better results from that spending.
These are some of the notable projects I have worked on since 2007:
Co-Author, "Anaerobic Digestion and its Applications," EPA/600/R-15/304.
Lead Author, Communication and Outreach Chapter, WEF Energy Roadmap (2013)
Co-Author, "Employing Energy Management Planning to Achieve Net Zero Energy in Wastewater Operations," presented at WEFTEC 2010
Co-Author, "Developing Energy Efficient RFQ Guidance for Water-Wastewater Projects," presented at WEFTEC 2009
Co-Author, "Benchmarking Wastewater Facility Energy Performance Using ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager," presented at WEFTEC 2008
Applied Research into Integrated Resource Management for Water, Wastewater, Solid Waste, and Energy in New England, 2014-2016
Technical Advisor, NEIWPCC TR-16 Updated Design Guidelines for Climate Change, 2015
Member, Project Review Committee, NYSERDA PON 2722 "Toward Zero Net Energy Wastewater Treatment," 2013-2014
Member, Technical Advisory Committee, WERF ENER512, "Development of Acoustic Doppler Anaerobic Digester Diagnostics," 2013-2014
Member, Research Team, WaterRF RFP 4469, "Water and Electric Utility Integrated Planning," 2013-2014
Member, Technical Advisory Committee, ESTCP Environmental Restoration Grants for FY14
Project Sponsor, Technology Assessment Report: Aqueous Gasification Technologies, June 2012
Technical Advisor, NEIWPCC TR-16 Guides for the Design of Wastewater Treatment Works, 2011
A full list of my presentations and conference proceedings is available here.