Industry-Sponsored Research Week
University-Industry Engagement Advisor

School Of Mines Creates Water Treatment Technology Hub

By David Schwartz
Published: April 9th, 2019

Colorado School of Mines has opened a new 10,000-square-foot research facility in Denver that will serve as a collaboration space for industry, government and academia to research innovations aimed at securing greater access to clean water.

The WE2ST (Water-Energy Education, Science and Technology) Water Technology Hub will conduct large-scale research focused on developing treatment technologies for produced water from oil, gas and mineral production, groundwater contaminated with emerging contaminants, saline and hypersaline streams, municipal water, wastewater and more. The research is designed to create new technologies for sustainable water reuse.

“Colorado School of Mines was founded almost 150 years ago to help industry grow and thrive and since those early years, solving water and wastewater treatment challenges have been a key part of its research mission,” said Stefanie Tompkins, vice president of research and technology transfer. “As we approach our next 150 years, we want to continue to be a go-to place for the use-inspired research and innovation needed for society’s big challenges. This new facility is an important step in that direction, allowing our amazing researchers — in partnership with other research institutions, industry and government — to bridge the gap between lab-scale and commercial-scale water treatment technologies.”

The WE2ST Hub includes full analytical and wet labs for water analysis, a fabrication facility and a flexible research bay, with capacity for 30,000 gallons of water and rail line access for bringing in those water samples from anywhere in the U.S.

The facility was previously operated by NGL Energy Partners, a midstream oil and gas company, which donated the entirety of its equipment to Mines — a gift valued at approximately $800,000.

“For over a decade, NGL Energy Partners has been treating oilfield waste water, creating clean water for use in irrigation, municipal and industrial applications, and, in addition, returning substantial amounts of clean water to the surface for beneficial use,” CEO H. Michael Krimbill said. “We are proud to be a part of this project and look forward to an ongoing collaboration with Colorado School of Mines through serving as a partner to assist in efforts to pilot and commercialize innovations that flow from the WE2ST Water Technology Hub.”

A gift of $1.5 million from the Colorado-based ZOMA Foundation will seed the facility’s operations and support several undergraduate and graduate research fellowships. “ZOMA is excited to support the WE2ST Water Technology Hub and hopes the facility can help accelerate innovations that improve access to clean water and further sustainable water reuse,” said Luis Duarte, chief philanthropic officer of ZOMALAB.

The hub’s initial projects include a U.S. Department of Energy-funded collaboration with UCLA on solar desalination and a smaller project in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on ocean wave energy desalination.

Source: Patch

Posted under: University-Industry Engagement Week

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