Jovan Kamcev, assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and the Department of Macromolecular Science and Engineering, was recently awarded funding from the National Alliance for Water Innovation (NAWI) for a collaborative project between University of Michigan, Yale University, and Magna Imperio Systems.
The team, led by Professor Menachem Elimelech from the Chemical and Environmental Engineering Department at Yale, received $900,000 to develop new technology for efficiently removing boron from contaminated waters.
“I’m very excited to receive this funding because it enables me to expand the research focus of my group in new and exciting directions,” Kamcev said. “I am also excited about the opportunity to collaborate with Prof. Elimelech at Yale and industrial partner Magna Imperio Systems to rapidly advance this technology.”
Excess boron intake is toxic for both humans and many crops, making effective boron removal in seawater desalination essential. Currently, extra reverse osmosis passes are used to reduce the concentration of boron to acceptable levels, but this approach increases the energy consumption and requires substantial dosing of chemicals.
Kamcev’s group will develop novel electrodes that adsorb boron selectively in the presence of other common contaminants. The electrodes will be used in a novel electrochemical process to remove boron from aqueous solutions containing other ions in an energy efficient manner.
NAWI is working to develop a wide array of technologies that enable 90% of nontraditional water sources to be treatable at a practical cost in the next 10 years.
Jovan Kamcev has been an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan since 2019. In 2021, he was a recipient of the North American Membrane Society Young Membrane Scientist Award and the U.S. Department Of Energy Early Career Research Award.
Kamcev received a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering and Applied Math and Statistics from Stony Brook University in New York, graduating Magna Cum Laude, and a PhD in Chemical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. Before coming to Michigan, he was a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Chemistry at University of California, Berkeley.
NAWI is a 5-year, $110M research program supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, headquartered at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, co-founded by Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. It aims to secure an affordable, energy-efficient, and resilient water supply for the US economy through decentralized, fit-for-purpose desalination.