BWRC and LEADERS Seminar Series – Dr. Ted Mao

Sophie Felleiter

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Municipalities are facing significant challenges related to wastewater treatment, including aging infrastructure, increasingly more stringent discharge requirements, climate change and extreme weather events, constrained plant space, municipal budget stress, etc.  Paradigm shifts in changing wastewater treatment plants into resource, energy and value recovery facilities are needed to turn these challenges to opportunities.  Game-changing technologies are being developed to realize this vision with low energy, small footprint and cost effectiveness.  However, significant barriers to development and commercialization of these technologies still exist. Some key challenges include: multi-disciplinary nature of the subject matter, scale-up from lab to pilot to full-scale, validation, risk/reward, technology adoption, regulation, etc.  Case studies will be presented to explore solutions in overcoming these barriers, particularly in removing roadblocks between scientific discoveries and commercial implementation, essentially bridging the "valley-of-death" in the innovation cycle.  Effective academic and industry collaborations on piloting new technologies in real wastewater under real plant dynamics can play an important role in accelerating technology development and commercialization.