Ohio State ADVANCE
The Ohio State University

Ohio State ADVANCE News

Ohio Water Resources Center Funds Dr. Perena Gouma

Posted: April 5, 2019

The work of Dr. Pelagia-Iren (Perena) Gouma, Orton Chair in Ceramic Engineering and Professor of both (1) Materials Science and Engineering and (2) Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, has been highlighted in the latest issue of the Ohio Water Resources Center (WRC) newsletter. Dr. Gouma and her team at Ohio State have made significant advancements in remediating effluents (wastewater) from unconventional energy sources such as hydraulic fracturing. Fracking activity continues to support Ohio’s economy and the need for finding economic ways to remediate and reuse produced water from fracking is emerging. Dr. Gouma’s work that is highlighted here may provide a sustainable, natural option for filtering toxic contaminants and potentially radionuclides from fracking wastewater. It also has a significant potential to find additional uses in water filtration and re-use.

Congratulations to Dr. Perena Gouma and her team for their dedication to research and the advancements in materials science.

The original story is below.


Ohio WRC Research Highlight

Composite Membranes for Produced Water Clean-up

Within Ohio, hydraulic fracturing, or fracking continues to be a common method for energy production in which oil or gas is extracted from rock and shale formations by drilling and injecting high-pressure water and chemicals into wells. This process uses millions of gallons of water and leaves the wastewater produced filled with salts, proprietary industrial chemicals, radionuclides, and toxic metals. The Ohio WRC is funding Dr. Pelagia-Iren Goumaand her team at the Ohio State University to study innovative water treatment technologies that can make removal of metals and radionuclides from fracking wastewater cost effective and scalable. Dr Gouma and her team focus on filtration using cellulose acetate-amyloid fibril mats, a natural biomaterial that they derive from wheat proteins, to efficiently remove specific contaminants.

Through our seed funding, Dr. Gouma and her team have reached three major breakthroughs. Firstly, they have come up with a cost effective way to scale the production of amyloid fibrils from common plant proteins. Next, they have successfully managed to encapsulate amyloid fibrils into non-woven mats of cellulose acetate via a single step process of electrospinning. Lastly, they have successfully utilized the electrospun mats to treat produced water. We at the Ohio WRC are excited to see what the future holds for this innovative and revolutionary technology. Due to the affordable nature of the membrane constituents and the potential for it to efficiently remove toxic metals and radionuclides via filtration, this technology could be of significant use in addressing water pollution issues, such as fracking wastewater.

Find out more about Dr. Gouma’s research by visiting her website. If you’d like to find out more about other Ohio WRC research projects, visit: https://wrc.osu.edu/past.

Category : General