Could AI Help Recover Energy and Fresh Water From Municipal Wastewater?


UChicago, Argonne to develop test systems to save energy, benefit underserved communities.

As city populations boom and the need grows for sustainable energy and water, scientists and engineers with the University of Chicago and partners are looking towards artificial intelligence to build new systems to deal with wastewater. Two new projects will test out ways to make “intelligent” water systems to recover nutrients and clean water.

“Water is an indispensable resource of our society, as it is required for sustaining life and economic prosperity,” said Junhong Chen, the Crown Family Professor in the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago and lead water strategist at Argonne National Laboratory. “Our future economy and national security greatly depend on the availability of clean water. However, there is a limited supply of renewable freshwater, with no substitute.”

The U.S. Department of Energy announced that UChicago, along with Argonne National Laboratory, Northwestern University and other partners, will receive funding to develop an artificial intelligence-assisted system for recovery of energy, nutrients and freshwater from municipal wastewater.

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