Sunday Sip of Science
1 Dec 2019, The Republic Bar and Cafe, Hobart
Professor Benny Freeman presented a talk on Advanced Separation Technologies to Mitigate Climate Change.
One front in the climate change battle is seeing a variety of advanced technologies, based on membranes, being brought to bear to efficiently remove CO2 from air, find beneficial uses for it, and establish pathways to prevent or reduce the large-scale anthropogenic release of CO2. This presentation explored the fundamental science behind these technological advances and provided a glimpse of their use in the near term.
The presentation was followed by networking drinks and refreshments.
Advanced Separation Technologies to Mitigate Climate Change
Benny D. Freeman
University of Texas at Austin, Department of Chemical Engineering, Center for Materials for Water and Energy Systems (M-WET), Austin, TX 78712, USA
Climate change is being associated with a number of extreme weather events (more intense droughts, hurricanes, floods), rising temperatures, acidification of the oceans, and rising sea levels worldwide, to name a few. Australia, like the U.S. and elsewhere, has experienced many of these phenomena. As one anecdotal observation from the U.S., the 100th meridian in the U.S. was established in 1860 as the dividing line between the wet, fertile eastern U.S. and the dry, arid western U.S. This informal demarcation line between dry and wet climates is gradually shifting east, and many people now regard the 98th meridian as the dividing line between the wet and dry sections of the US, which represents a shift of more than 150 miles in central Texas, for example.
A key focal point regarding climate change is the rising levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air due to human activities such as thermoelectric power generation and transportation relying on fossil fuel combustion. One front in the climate change battle is seeing a variety of advanced technologies, based on membranes, being brought to bear to efficiently remove CO2 from air, find beneficial uses for it, and establish pathways to prevent or reduce the large-scale anthropogenic release of CO2. This presentation will explore the fundamental science behind these technological advances and provide a glimpse of their use in the near term.
Benny Freeman is the William J. (Bill) Murray, Jr. Endowed Chair of Engineering in the Chemical Engineering department at The University of Texas at Austin. He completed graduate training in Chemical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, earning a Ph.D. in 1988. In 1988 and 1989, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Ecole Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles de la Ville de Paris (ESPCI), Laboratoire Physico-Chimie Structurale et Macromoléculaire in Paris, France. Dr. Freeman was a member of the chemical engineering faculty at NC State University from 1989 – 2002, and he has been a professor of chemical engineering at The University of Texas at Austin since 2002. Dr. Freeman’s research is in polymer science and engineering and, more specifically, in mass transport of small molecules in solid polymers. His research group focuses on structure/property correlation development for desalination and gas separation membrane materials, new materials for hydrogen separation, natural gas purification, carbon capture, and new materials for improving fouling resistance in liquid separation membranes. He leads the Center for Materials for Water and Energy Systems (M-WET), a Dept. of Energy Energy Frontier Research Center and serves as Challenge Area Leader for Membranes in the National Alliance for Water Innovation (NAWI), a five-year, $100 million DOE sponsored Energy-Water Desalination Hub to address critical technical barriers needed to radically reduce the cost and energy of water purification.
His research is described in nearly 450 publications (cited 33,950 times (h-index = 91)) and 30 patents/patent applications. He has co-edited 5 books on these topics. He has won a number of awards, including a Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Disruptive Separations (2017), Fellow of the North American Membrane Society (NAMS) (2017), the Distinguished Service Award from the Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering (PMSE) Division of the American Chemical Society (ACS) (2015), Joe J. King Professional Engineering Achievement Award from The University of Texas (2013), American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Clarence (Larry) G. Gerhold Award (2013), Society of Plastics Engineers International Award (2013), Roy W. Tess Award in Coatings from the PMSE Division of ACS (2012), the ACS Award in Applied Polymer Science (2009), AIChE Institute Award for Excellence in Industrial Gases Technology (2008), and the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program Project of the Year (2001). He is a Fellow of the AAAS, AIChE, ACS, and the PMSE and IECR Divisions of ACS.