Elimelech wins 2015 Eni Award for ‘Protection of the Environment’
Menachem Elimelech, the Roberto Goizueta Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering at the School of Engineering and Applied Science, has won a 2015 Eni Award for his innovative work in water treatment.
Elimelech received Eni’s “Protection of the Environment Prize,” and will accept the honor at a ceremony in Rome in October. The Eni Awards, created by the Italian energy company Eni, were established in 2007 with a goal of promoting better use of energy sources and inspiring new generations of researchers.
Elimelech’s pioneering application of the “forward osmosis” process for water desalination is used in the treatment of water associated with oil production, and has proven to be more energy efficient and environmentally friendly than other desalination technologies. A hallmark of Elimelech’s research is its interdisciplinary nature — integrating knowledge of nanotechnology, materials science, membrane science and engineering, microbiology, and colloid and interface science.
In its announcement of the honor, the awards committee said Elimelech “is considered one of the leading researchers in the world, as well as a point of reference in the field of water quality engineering and membrane technology for water desalination and reuse.”
During his career, Elimelech has introduced several fundamental concepts and processes. Examples include the development of a widely accepted equation for particle filtration in granular porous media, transport and fate of microbial pathogens in aquatic systems, fouling mechanisms and fouling control strategies in membrane systems, and toxicity and fate of nanomaterials in aquatic environments. These contributions have important implications for water filtration systems for pollution control and for predicting the spread of microbial pathogens and potentially toxic nanomaterials in aquatic and terrestrial environments.