In a Flash

Multi-stage flash water desalination is a process that turns saltwater into drinkable water. Abbreviated as MSF, this process works by using heat exchangers and condensers to turn water into steam, and then back into water. While this method is unfamiliar in the United States, it is the most common drinking water treatment in Saudia Arabia and other desert biomes such as Kuwait and United Arab Emirates.

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Image of Saudi Arabia from KPMG.

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Oh, the Places I Go

Map of Madison Wisconsin.
Map of the lakes from WisContext.

Living in a city situated between two scenic lakes, I had to wonder why my drinking water wasn’t coming from either one of them. Madison, Wisconsin gets its drinking water from a sandstone aquifer that sits 90 to 95 feet below the ground’s surface according to Madison Water Utility. Twenty-two wells and many more pipes intertwine to serve the ever-growing population of this capital city. Continue reading “Oh, the Places I Go”

Activated Sludge

Imagine you are on a conveyor belt. The conveyor belt is circling around a box of pizza. Every time you get close enough, you take a slice of pizza. If the conveyor belt moves too fast, you can’t grab the pizza. But if it’s too slow, you’ll starve and the pizza won’t be nice and hot anymore and it might even start to grow mold. This is how the activated sludge process was explained to me in my first Environmental Engineering lecture many moons ago.

activated sludge
A simplification of the activated sludge process.

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Exotic Pet Ownership

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The majestic yet venomous (and very invasive) lionfish fromĀ Hakai Magazine.

Lately I’ve been pondering what type of pet I’d like to own when I finally move out of my college dorm and into the real word. During my time searching the interwebs, I discovered several exotic and even wild animals that I could easily purchase online, such as sugar gliders and even fennec foxes. After a couple minutes, I found myself stumbling on article after article that advocates against owning novelty pets. And so the moral debate begins.

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Atmospheric Water Generators

Typical Atmospheric Water Generators (AWGs) don’t work well in environments with low humidity or temperature. Scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found a way to extract water from soil in the driest biome in the world- the desert. Using an air-cooled sorbent-based atmospheric water harvesting device, the research group predicted that over a quarter-liter of water could be extracted per kilogram of metal-organic framework (MOF) each day.

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Image from supplementary documents of MIT study.

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World Water Day

How does one actually celebrate World Water Day? It’s not like other holidays with parades, family reunions, games, or special dinners. I’ve seen lots of articles for the day that has been broadcast all over the internet, and a couple suggestions on what to do. I decided on a shorter-than-usual shower and an informative blog post. (By the way, short shower means under 8 minutes in the realm of environmental engineering as this is the average time people spend under the shower head. If 8 is more than your normal, keep doing you!)

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Great Lakes Bluegill depiction from Missouri DEC.

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Desert Island

If you’re ever stuck on a desert island and have the chance to bring three things, don’t fret about potable water. Save your three wishes for a designer bikini, Netflix, or something more worth your while. According to Water Conditioning & Purification Magazine, activated carbon from coconut hull is a more efficient filter than activated carbon from bituminous coal. Below is a picture featuring this week’s topic of coconuts, and holding the coconut is a wonderful French traveler, writer, and inspirer I follow on Instagram, Jade Phoenix.

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Image from theadventuresofjade Instagram.

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