Three CEE Grad Students Place 3rd in National WEFTEC Connect Wastewater Student Design Competition

Recent PhD student graduate Yechon Won, 3rd year PhD student Haley Lewis, and MS student Haotain Cai recently competed in the Water Environment Federation (WEF) WEFTEC Connect Wastewater Student Design Competition and placed 3rd with their topic: “Membrane bioreactor system for a local brewery: process design and cost analysis with a novel approach to membrane fouling control.” The students developed a design to tackle fouling of membrane surfaces that clogs the flow of water. In his PhD research, Won worked on developing new materials that can be easily applied to a membrane surface to create a protective layer and then, once fouling accumulates, dissolved away and reapplied restoring the membrane to its pristine state. This membrane was accomplished using polyelectrolyte complexes.

In May, the graduate students placed 1st  in the Illinois Water Environment Association (IWEA) student competition which was created to promote a “real world” design experience for undergraduate or graduate students interested in pursuing an education and/or career in wastewater, water resources and environmental engineering. The students then represented the state of Illinois at the WEFTEC National Meeting where they sent in a video presentation submission that landed them in the top 4 throughout the nation. A live presentation was then given in front of WEF Young Professionals with a question and answer period following.

Won, Lewis and Cai all work under the direction of Professor Kimberly Gray, who was also the faculty advisor for the design project. Won’s research is co-advised by Professor Kenneth Shull in Material Science and Engineering. Won’s materials research has resulted in 2 invention disclosures, 1 patent application and 4 research publications.

McCormick News Article