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Two MSU Professors Spearhead International Water Project

Two Michigan State University professors, Volodymyr Tarabara and Tom Voice, are leading an ambitious project to purify the worlds waters .

Tarabara and Voice are leading an international partnership of environmental engineers and scientists from two U.S. research universities, two research centers in France, and three institutions in Ukraine and Russia that will create new technologies for the project.

With the biggest funding of its kind a $2.5 million grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the team leaders are bringing together domestic and international expertise, as well as investing in students, to develop water purifying strategies using what are called membrane-based technologies.

Membrane-based technologies selectively remove things such as chemicals and particles from water, said Voice, professor of civil and environmental engineering. They are analogous to filters except they remove things that are smaller and separate on the basis of chemistry and size. Our project is looking at developing new types of membranes and membrane systems that perform better in water treatment applications.

Membranes can produce ultrapure water, removing almost everything.

They are used in some places to turn sea water into fresh water, said Voice. The challenge is to do this cost effectively, and we seek to do this by improving their performance.

Development of robust membranes is a significant opportunity to enhance the quality of water and, ultimately, public health, especially in developing countries.

NSFs initiative to invest in international education and research is relatively new, said Tarabara, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering. It was motivated by the recognition that the world is becoming increasingly more global and that for American graduates to successfully compete with researchers from other countries, they have to be better prepa
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