Public Release: 

Opening session at ACS meeting will focus on nexus of food, energy and water

American Chemical Society

WASHINGTON, March 8, 2018 -- During the Opening Session and Welcome Reception, five scientists will explore a variety of subjects related to the "Nexus of Food, Energy and Water" theme of the 255th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society. The meeting will take place March 18 to 22 in New Orleans.

The presentations, which are among more than 13,000 scheduled to take place at the meeting, will be held on Sunday, March 18, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Great Hall A of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. The opening session, as well as all thematic programming, is organized by Jerald Schnoor of the University of Iowa.

The talks will focus on adapting to future challenges in the area of food, energy and water. The titles of the opening session talks are listed below:

  • Mark Jacobson, Ph.D: "Transitioning world energy for all purposes to stable electricity powered by 100% wind, water, and sunlight"
  • Yun Hang Hu, Ph.D.: "Advanced materials and processes for energy and water"
  • Pratim Biswas, Ph.D.: "Nanoparticle technology enabling smart agriculture solutions: Nexus of food and environment"
  • David A. Dzombak, Ph.D.: "Unconventional hydrocarbon development and water resources"
  • Amy Childress, Ph.D.: "Integrating systems of water reuse and desalination: More water, less energy"

A welcome reception for meeting attendees will immediately follow the opening session.


The American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, is a not-for-profit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS is a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. ACS does not conduct research, but publishes and publicizes peer-reviewed scientific studies. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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Transitioning world energy for all purposes to stable electricity powered by 100% wind, water, and sunlight


Global warming, air pollution, and energy insecurity are three of the most significant problems facing the world today. This talk discusses the development of technical and economic roadmaps to convert the energy infrastructures of each of the 50 United States and 139 countries of the world to those powered by 100% wind, water, and sunlight (WWS) for all purposes, namely electricity, transportation, industry, and heating/cooling, after energy efficiency measures have been accounted for. Results showing the ability of the grid to remain stable in each of 20 world regions at low cost under 100% WWS conditions are also discussed. Aside from mitigating global warming, these roadmaps have potential to eliminate 4-7 million air pollution deaths annually, stabilize energy prices, reduce catastrophic risk, and reduce international conflict over energy.



Advanced materials and processes for energy and water


Energy and water play critical roles in all aspects of life. In the recent years, Prof. Hu's group made great efforts to create new materials and processes for the conversion and storage of energy and the purification of water. In this plenary presentation, Prof. Hu will talk about the recent success of his group in creating new processes, which are based on reactions of alkali metals with CO and CO2, for synthesis of 3D meso-porous graphene and Na-embedded carbon nano-walls. Those novel nanomaterials are unique electrode materials due to their high electrical conductivity and large accessible surface areas. They exhibited excellent performance as electrodes for various energy devices, including dye-sensitized solar cells, perovskite solar cells, supercapacitors, ion batteries, and fuel cells. Furthermore, those materials were also explored as efficient electrodes of capacitive deionization cells for the desalination of seawater. Those important findings will be discussed in this talk.



Nanoparticle technology enabling smart agriculture solutions: Nexus of food and environment


Food production is a global challenge issue that requires sustainable, environmentally benign and smart agricultural methodologies to address the needs of a burgeoning population. The use of nanoparticle aerosol science and technology to synthesize effective composite fertilizers and delivery methodologies, demonstration of effective uptake by both soil and foliar application, enhanced metrics of plant and food product growth, and resultant reduced deleterious impact on the environment will be presented. Comparison of metrics of nutrient uptake efficiency, plant biomass growth and nutritional content of food product will be done for the developed methodologies to conventional approaches. Detailed transport models for nutrients in the form of nanoparticles will be described to guide the design of the overall methodology. Advantages of the proposed methodology include low cost, single step approaches for nanocomposite fertilizer synthesis; lower amounts of application due to efficient uptake and effective, targeted delivery; enhanced nutritional quality of the food product; and finally reduced deleterious environmental impacts.



Unconventional hydrocarbon development and water resources


The development of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technology has made possible the economic extraction of natural gas and oil from shale and other low-permeability subsurface units bearing these materials. This has significantly affected global oil and natural gas markets; the U.S. is now the world's largest natural gas producer and a net exporter of natural gas, and for the first time in decades produces more oil than it imports. While development of unconventional hydrocarbons has yielded environmental benefits, especially in thermoelectric power generation where the new supplies of natural gas are displacing coal as the fuel source, it also poses some distinctive environmental challenges, especially with respect to demand for water for the hydraulic fracturing process, and management of the brines brought to the surface during the post-fracturing production phase. This talk will examine the water management challenge for unconventional hydrocarbon development, including what has been learned from practice and research, and evolving approaches for reducing water use and impacts.



Integrating systems of water reuse and desalination: More water, less energy


Urban communities that desalinate ocean water using reverse osmosis and treat wastewater in coastal facilities produce two main waste streams - a reverse osmosis concentrate stream and a treated wastewater stream, which are typically discharged to the ocean. In this presentation, theoretical, experimental, and system-scale analyses to compare four blending scenarios for these waste streams will be discussed. Energy consumption, potable water generation, energy recovery, and waste stream management of each of the are considered. The ultimate goal of the research is to determine best scenarios to synergistically utilize the two waste streams and reverse osmosis to achieve the highest beneficial use of both streams, while minimizing energy consumption and environmental concerns. Challenges and opportunities facing system-scale integration of each scenario, including regulatory concerns, are also considered.

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