Chemical engineering graduate student Shaun Shields recently was awarded a Graduate Student Research Grant for his work on freshwater pollution. Shields -- working under the guidance of Dr. Andro Mondala, assistant professor of chemical engineering -- is researching solutions to particulates in erosion and runoff sediments that contribute to pollution in lakes, rivers and streams.
The goal of his research is to develop, scale-up and implement a system that extracts the phosphorus bound onto the runoff sediments that can cause toxic algal blooms and other damage resulting from excessive nutrients.
Implementing this system on an industrial scale would allow the recovery of nutrients from the runoff sediment to be re-used in agriculture.
“This system will reduce dependence on rapidly depleting mined fertilizer sources and could help ensure a sustainable food supply for the growing world population,” Shields said.