Vinny Anderson completed his undergraduate study in autumn 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering from Ohio State University. He continued into a PhD program within the Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering Department under Dr. Weavers in spring 2016. Vinny’s research focus is on understanding the capabilities and energy demands of novel membrane technologies. His research in the field of membrane filtration began with a coupled forward osmosis – membrane distillation (FO-MD) process to treat flue gas desulfurization (FGD) wastewater. This work investigated the capacity of a coupled FO-MD approach to meet FGD wastewater discharge regulations and provided optimum operating conditions. In addition, the feasibility of utilizing on-site residual waste heat (from the coal fired power plant) to drive MD was studied. With the utilization of waste heat, the FO-MD system may prove to be a sustainable approach to FGD wastewater treatment, obtaining high-quality finished water with minimal energy input.
Vinny’s work then shifted to a second membrane filtration process: electrofiltration. This research focused on characterizing the energy requirements of an electrofiltration process using microporous alpha alumina membranes. In electrofiltration an electric field is applied to a surface charged membrane, generating electroosmotic flow through the membrane’s pores. This work provided a characterization of the specific energy costs (SEC) of electroosmotic flow and gave insight into how electrofiltration may be adopted by full-scale filtration processes.
Lastly, Vinny studied a novel piezoelectric PZT membrane employed for municipal wastewater treatment. When stimulated, piezoelectric materials (including the microporous PZT membrane) transform electrical signals into a physical vibrations. This effect allows for the production of ultrasonic vibrations from within the PZT membrane during active filtration. This work focused on characterization of the piezoelectric response from PZT membranes and evaluation of the effects of ultrasonic vibration on wastewater filtration.
Lena Ruban, PhD
Josh Fuchs, MS
Josh Fuchs is an upcoming 2nd year Master’s student under Dr. Weaver’s group who plans to pursue a PhD in the future while aspiring to teach and continue research in academia. He has a lot of love for Ohio State after spending his undergrad there earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Engineering in 2018. After completing his Bachelor’s degree, Josh participated in consulting for 2 years working on a variety of water and wastewater distribution projects throughout Ohio. Josh has a passion for water treatment and is looking forward to continuing work and research in the water field. He hopes to use applied engineering in his future career for engineering work in developing countries and has gained prior experience doing so through an Ohio State engineering trip oversees that he took part in during his undergraduate as well as coursework he performed while earning a Minor in Humanitarian Engineering at Ohio State. In his free time Josh likes to go on a daily walk, ride his bike, set up his hammock at a park, and go on snowboarding trips with friends and family. He is an avid traveler and hopes to continue traveling to new places regularly.
Josh’s current research project involves developing a design standard with Ohio EPA and Ohio AWWA for ozone and/or biofiltration installations for Ohio PWSs for treating organic contaminants. The goal of the project is to improve finished water quality in Ohio by making it easier for future water systems to install ozone and/or biofiltration by lowering the demonstration requirements for obtaining Ohio EPA Plan Approval for ozone design and installation. Ozone and biofiltration are often used simultaneously and can be used to target highly health-relevant contaminants in Ohio such as disinfection byproducts (DBPs) including trihalomethanes (TTHMs) and Haloacetic acids (HAAs) and also for cyanotoxins including microcystin. These treatment processes can also be used for other targets such as taste and odor compounds, pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PCCPs), pesticides, color, and the multibarrier disinfection achievable with ozone. The design standard is expected to increase the familiarity of ozone and biofiltration for PWSs and is expected to be especially useful for small-to-medium PWSs in Ohio who currently have a larger barrier to installing ozone due to the cost and time associated with the current demonstration requirements for Plan Approval.
Shannon Thayer is Master’s student who has worked under Doctor Weavers since the summer of 2019. She completed her bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering at Ohio State in December 2020. Shannon worked as an undergraduate research assistant with Billy Fagan. Their work involved investigating the effects of ultrasound on PFASs compounds. She worked closely with Billy to develop experiments and analytical methods.
Inspired by this work, Shannon decided to pursue her master’s in environmental science under Doctor Weavers. Her master’s work is focused on the use of ultrasonic treatment of harmful algal blooms.