Jovan Kamcev, an assistant professor in the U-M Department of Chemical Engineering, has received a Young Membrane Scientist Award from the North American Membrane Society (NAMS).
NAMS is a professional society in North America that promotes all aspects of membrane science and technology. This ranges from fundamental studies of membrane material science to process application and development.
“I am honored to be recognized by the North American Membrane Society (NAMS) with a Young Membrane Scientist Award,” said Kamcev. “I would like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of my students, for without them this would not have been possible.”
The Young Membrane Scientist Award is presented annually to outstanding individuals who are within the first five years of starting their professional careers in membrane science and technology. In addition to a one-year NAMS membership and a $500 award, each recipient was also invited to give an oral presentation in a special Awards session at the 2021 NAMS Annual Meeting. Kamcev presented, “Transport properties of ion-exchange membranes for brine concentration via electrodialysis.”
“The overarching objective of this project is to develop next-generation membranes for brine concentration via electrodialysis,” Kamcev explains. “Brine management is an enormous challenge for purifying non-traditional water sources and is often cited as the ‘Achilles’ heel of desalination.”
Electrodialysis is a technology that provides a lower energy alternative to conventional thermal-based technologies for brine concentration, but the performance of current commercial membranes (i.e., selectivity and throughput) is inadequate for treating highly impaired waters.
“We have recently discovered strategies to fabricate new membranes with properties that are suitable for brine concentration via electrodialysis. This project leverages this synthetic technique to develop structure/property guidelines for the rational design of new membranes for this challenging application,” he said.
The results of this study could have broader implications for treating other unconventional water sources, such as produced water from hydraulic fracturing.
“In the past, seawater was considered as the prototypical highly concentrated and unconventional water source. However, brine waste and produced water could contain up to 2-6 times more total dissolved solids than seawater, which presents enormous challenges for membrane design,” said Kamcev. “A significant effort in our group is directed towards the development of new membranes that maintain their selectivity and throughput when contacted by such harsh waters.”
In 2016, Kamcev also received a NAMS Student Fellowship Award, presented annually to outstanding graduate students in the membrane science and technology area. He is the first person to receive both a graduate student fellowship award and the Young Membrane Scientist Award.
Kamcev joined the U-M Department of Chemical Engineering in 2019 following a postdoc in chemistry at University of California, Berkeley. He obtained his doctoral degree in chemical engineering at the University of Texas in Austin, where he also served as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow. In addition to researching methods to create sustainable and affordable water supplies, Kamcev is also interested in applying similar methodologies to the generation and storage of energy.