Session Descriptions | AIChE

Session Descriptions

Session Name Description
PFAs in Water: Occurrences & Treatment PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are a group of man-made chemicals that are fire resistant, and repel oil, stain, grease, and water. These chemicals are found in surface water, groundwater, drinking water, rainwater, and air emissions and can lead to adverse public health conditions. This session aims to highlight current and emerging practices in detecting, evaluating, and treating PFAs in water systems, as well as regulations and policy initiatives that address challenges with PFAs.
Food-Energy-Water Nexus This session addresses emerging themes related to the inter-dependent Food-Energy-Water (FEW) systems when viewed through the lens of strategic water resource issues. Topics of interest, research and discussion can range from climate change and extreme event impacts on FEW systems to water allocation strategies and water reuse opportunities specific to these sectors. The session aims to showcase academic research and lessons-learned from industry that demonstrates best-practices and potential win-win opportunities across systems that can both increase multi-sectoral productivity while lowering overall environmental impacts.
Big Data & AI for Operations and Cybersecurity Data analytics, advanced sensors, and artificial intelligence (AI) are playing a key role in improving operational efficiencies and finding opportunities to enhance revenue streams and lower environmental impacts. The emergence of easily deployable and economically efficient technology is helping the water sector adopt big data and AI like never before. This session aims to highlight best practices and opportunities for data analytics and AI applications in decision-making.
Climate Impacts and Resiliency for Water and Water Utilities Future climate change is projected to change both the supply and demand of water resources across the world. In the US, regionally diverse climates and economies imply that climate change may result in a range of planning and operational challenges to watershed mangers and water utilities. This session aims to bring to light some of the most urgent issues facing the water industry,management of water resources in the context of climate change and how the water sector is adapting its operations to be more resilient overall.
Emerging Treatment Technologies This session aims to highlight applications and research of advanced water treatment methods being tested at pilot-scales and technologies that are expected to become more prevalent including reverse osmosis, ion exchange and multi-effect distillation. Applications of these treatment methods and opportunities in the context of water reuse are of particular interest.
Modeling and Analysis Tools Modeling and analysis tools, from new modeling approaches and methods to advanced visualization tools, are central to improving operational decisions and planning for water utilities and watershed management. This session aims to showcase emerging and successful innovative modeling and analysis tools and studies that have been utilized by stakeholders and the industry to improve water system performance, management and sustainable operations.
De-centralized Water treatment: Challenges & Opportunities Decentralized, modular water treatment systems have the potential to help supply water and water treatment to regions and areas that lack access to centralized water systems. This session aims to address current technological, economic, and regulatory challenges and opportunities for large-scale deployment of small, modular water treatment systems.
Secondary Revenue Stream Opportunities Water utilities have traditionally had a single revenue stream that is to supply water to people and for economic use. However, technology advancements and flexible water treatment methods, including outside the box research into cross-sector approaches have opened the door to synergistic multi-sector economic opportunities including raw material and mineral recovery from water treatment trains and produced water, and energy recovery. This session aims to highlight new ideas and best-practices for secondary revenue stream opportunities.
The Department of Energy's Water Initiatives (CLOSED)

The panel discussion will focus on unit processes and facility-to-system scale water treatment solutions that have the potential to solve varying regional water resource and energy system challenges. The Department of Energy has recently announced three major initiatives to advance water security: (1) The Water Security Grand Challenge, (2) The Energy-Water Desalination Hub, and (3) the joint DOE and Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation’s Energy Center focused on innovation in materials and technologies for water systems. This session aims to showcase research and development goals and highlights in these particular efforts, inform academia, industry and the public on how best to engage with these efforts, as well as discuss other DOE supported energy-water projects across the national laboratory systems. The discussion will be moderated by the Water Research Foundation, followed by a Q&A with conference participants.

The Impact of COVID-19 on the Water Sector (CLOSED) As Covid-19 wreaks havoc on national healthcare and our economy, water and wastewater providers are in uncharted territory. The municipal water sector is predicted to be affected “long beyond” the current healthcare crisis, with the short-term impacts catalyzing new approaches to urban resilience. In the United States, the water industry is facing substantial financial losses amongst others. According to a recent report prepared for the AWWA and the AMWA, the combined water and wastewater sector impact of the COVID-19 crisis is calculated to be more than $27 billion. Millions of Americans who have lost their jobs during the crisis, risk losing running water if they fall behind with bill payments in coming months, as water utilities in several states have not suspended the policy of shutoffs for non-payment. This session will extensively focus on the long term and short term impacts of COVID-19 on the water sector covering topics ranging from disinfection protocols, the stability of the genetic signal of the virus in the community sewershed, etc.