An article published by Dr. Tanju Karanfil and his former doctoral student, Meric Selbes, was selected by the American Water Works Association (AWWA) as the 2016 recipient of the AWWA Membrane Treatment Best Paper. The article is entitled “Optimization of Coagulation Pretreatment Conditions in a Ceramic Membrane System.” It was published in the December 2015 issue of Journal AWWA (Volume 107, issue 12, pages E693-E701). The co-authors on the paper are Amir Alansari (graduate research assistant) and James Amburgey (Associate Professor), both at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The purpose of this award from AWWA is to recognize and honor annually the authors of an outstanding advanced treatment of water paper published in the Journal AWWA from January through December of the previous year.
Dr. Selbes is currently an assistant engineer at Hazen and Sawyer in Fairfax, VA. Dr. Karanfil is the Vice President for Research at Clemson University as well as a Professor in EEES. He manages to maintain a very active research program on top of his duties as Vice President.
The research is noteworthy because membrane technology is becoming an increasingly common part of advanced water treatment practices. The economic viability of this approach relies on pretreating the water with less costly chemical techniques to remove as much of the impurities as possible before using a membrane. The authors investigated using aluminum sulfate and ferric chloride to pretreat water from a river and a lake. Results showed that optimal pretreatment conditions with aluminum sulfate reduced membrane total fouling rates by at least 80% relative to the control train. Optimal pretreatment with ferric chloride reduced membrane total fouling rates by 95% relative to the control train; however, the pretreatment conditions in which ferric chloride was effective were narrow compared with aluminum sulfate. AWWA recognized the important contribution this research makes to use of membranes for producing high quality drinking water at a reasonable cost. Congratulations to Dr. Karanfil and his co-authors.