Membrane-based separations offer a number of advantages over conventional processes. They are often more energy efficient, more environmentally friendly, easy to scale-up and ?gentle? on the process streams. The new members that have committed to initially join the Membrane Engineering Science and Technology I/UCRC at the University of Arkansas represent a range of industries that currently do not use membrane processes to meet their particular separation needs. The new center Site will lead the development of new membrane separation processes that will be tested under realistic and challenging conditions. The knowledge gained will provide insights into other applications for these new processes.
Water is a very valuable natural resource, and the development of new, cost-effective ways to treat recycle and reuse water is of tremendous societal importance. The research undertaken by the proposed site could have significant engineering, economic, and health impact. One of the major challenges in Arkansas is development of a trained workforce that will help attract new industries to the state. The mission of the NSF I/UCRC program is completely aligned with this need. The new Arkansas Site of the Membrane Engineering Science and Technology I/UCRC will reach out to other businesses in the region that could benefit from the technology and expertise within the MAST Center. One of the new research projects that will be undertaken by the proposed new site will address the needs of the aquaculture industry, which is a major component of the Arkansas economy. The project will be developed in collaboration with the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff (UAPB), a HBCU.