May 2, 2023

Projects to advance zero-waste water research, solutions

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (May 2, 2023) — A new master agreement with ENOWA, a company tasked with pioneering sustainable energy and water innovations, will support Penn State research efforts in sustainable water solutions. The agreement could see up to $6 million invested into developing much-needed zero-waste water solutions.

The agreement offers funding for up to 15 projects with five initial projects that will focus on desalinating water, recovering rare earth minerals and metals from water and brine and minimizing water line strain and water loss. The research will be conducted at Penn State followed by testing in the ENOWA Water Innovation Center.

“This agreement offers the opportunity for Penn State researchers, through their collaborative and interdisciplinary research strengths, to make significant contributions to the water needs of society,” said Lora Weiss, senior vice president for research at Penn State. “Moreover, the innovations and solutions brought forth through this research could have far-reaching and world-changing impacts on the world’s water needs.”

Bruce Logan, director of the Institutes of Energy and the Environment at Penn State, was a key facilitator in the agreement due to his robust research portfolio in the areas of water and energy.

“I am so pleased that a trailblazing organization like ENOWA sees value in Penn State’s research innovations and potential for addressing water needs and solutions,” said Logan, who is also an Evan Pugh University Professor and Kappe Professor of Environmental Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “An agreement such as this is a tangible statement that affirms ENOWA’s confidence in Penn State’s researchers and the scientific and engineering solutions they develop.”

The seven Penn State researchers are from the College of Engineering and the College Earth and Mineral Sciences, four of which are cofunded faculty members of the Institutes of Energy and the Environment. In addition to Logan, they are Christopher Arges, associate professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering; Christopher Gorski, associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Derek Hall, assistant research professor in the John and Willie Leone Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering; Cliff Lissenden, professor in the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics;; Hee Jeung Oh, assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering; and Bryan Vogt, professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering.

“This is another key milestone for ENOWA as we continue to invest in and develop world-class renewable utilities infrastructure,” said Executive Director of Water at ENOWA, Gavin Van Tonder. “We are thrilled to be partnering with one of the world’s top water research universities to transform and realize sustainable possibilities in the water sector. Not only does this strengthen our technology portfolio, but it will also accelerate the global progress on sustainable water management.”

The occasion was marked by a signing event in Boston during the Discover NEOM tour on Thursday, April 13, attended by Professor Bruce Logan alongside Gavin van Tonder.

Launched in March 2022, ENOWA is the energy and water company for NEOM. The organization benefits from NEOM's greenfield site and strategic location in the northwestern part of Saudi Arabia, which is abundant in solar and wind resources. Acting as an incubator for new, sustainable energy and water solutions, ENOWA seeks to become a global reference for industry leaders and set a benchmark for sustainable economic circular systems around the world.