Victoria Guerrero wins Best Student Paper Award at the Membrane Technology Conference

Victoria Guerrero checks the pressure on her carbon dioxide dissolution (CDOX) system

A Fulbright scholar from Argentina, Victoria Guerrero was the recipient of one of two Best Student Paper awards at the 2018 Membrane Technology Conference & Exposition. Her paper was titled “Effects of Dissolved CO2 on Organic and Inorganic Fouling and Cleaning of RO Membranes.” Victoria is a member of David Ladner‘s research group in the Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences Department at Clemson. Her work aims to improve the reverse osmosis (RO) process for desalination (salt removal). When RO is used to treat high-salinity groundwater, some salts like calcium carbonate can precipitate onto the membrane and block the flow of water. Victoria is studying the benefits of carbon dioxide to clean such precipitates. Chemicals like sulfuric acid are typically used for cleaning, but they must be disposed after use. If carbon dioxide works well it will exolve naturally from solution, leaving no residual. Victoria’s results show that CO2 can be effective in certain situations, creating a pathway toward commercial implementation.

Attendees at the 2018 Membrane Technology Conference: (left to right) Weiming Qi, Zuo Zhou, David Ladner, and Victoria Guerrero
Other conference attendees from the EEES department were Weiming Qi, presenting a poster called “Automated Cleaning System for In-Field Experiments With Ceramic Membranes in High-Strength Industrial Wastewater Treatment,” and Zuo Zhou presenting a poster on “Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Modeling to Simulate Foulant Reduction by Patterned RO and NF Membranes.” These initiatives are indicative of the work being done at Clemson to make water and wastewater treatment more sustainable.


The Membrane Technology Conference was held in West Palm Beach, Florida, March 12-16, 2018. It is jointly hosted by the American Membrane Technology Association (AMTA) and the American Water Works Association (AWWA). The CDOX system used in Victoria’s work was provided through a collaboration with BlueInGreen.