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Zero Liquid Discharge and Water Reuse in Recirculating Cooling Towers at Power Facilities: Review and Case Study Analysis

By Sophia L. Plata, Connie L. Devenport, Ariel Miara, Kurban A. Sitterley, Anna Evans, Michael Talmadge, Kurt M. Van Allsburg, Parthiv Kurup, Jordan Cox, Samuel Kerber, Andrew Howell, Richard Breckenridge, Cheyenna Manygoats, Jennifer R. Stokes-Draut, Jordan Macknick, and Amy E. Childress*

"This paper provides a review of water use in power sector recirculating cooling towers and a baseline assessment of on-site water reuse at natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) power facilities. Two NGCC facilities with reverse-osmosis (RO) or brine-concentrator processes followed by evaporation ponds were selected as case studies; data from these facilities were used to quantify the water, energy, and cost implications of implementing conventional and emerging ZLD technologies."

Published in ACS Publications, Technology Baselines and Innovation Priorities for Water Treatment and Supply 2022

Leveraging the water-energy nexus to derive benefits for the electric grid through demand-side management in the water supply and wastewater sectors

By Angineh Zohrabian, Sophia L. Plata, Dong Min Kim, Amy E. Childress, Kelly T. Sanders

"This paper presents a general overview of demand-side management
strategies in water and wastewater systems, focusing primarily on demand response measures. We find that while there is consensus in the literature about the potential for water systems to provide flexible demand-side management services, there is a need for developing comprehensive water-energy models to examine the value of load management as a source of revenue for water utilities and as a source of flexibility for the electric grid"

Published in WIREs Water. 2021

Formation and Fate of Nitromethane in Ozone-Based Water Reuse Processes

By Jiaming Lily Shi, Sophia L. Plata, Marco Kleimans, Amy E. Childress, and Daniel L. McCurry

"Bench-scale experiments were conducted to verify low removal by RO in clean systems and with wastewater effluent and to quantify the kinetics of direct and indirect photolysis of nitromethane in UV/AOP. An explanation for increasing nitromethane concentration during AOP is proposed. These results indicate that nitromethane presents a unique hazard to direct potable reuse systems, due to its ubiquitous formation during wastewater ozonation, poor removal by RO and UV/AOP, and facile conversion into genotoxic halonitromethanes upon chlorine addition." 

Published in Environmental Science & Technology 2021

Social-cognitive Leadership Theory of SHPE’s Premier Leadership Conference for Undergraduates and Professionals in the STEM Workforce

By Sophia L. Plata, Indhira María Hasbún, Mauro Rodriguez,
Dora Louise

"To this end, McCormick’s social cognitive leadership model was mapped to SHPE’s leadership development and annual chapter programming infrastructure and cycle. The National Institute for Leadership Advancement (NILA), SHPE’s premier leadership development conference, was mapped to the leader social cognitions portion of the McCormick model due to its incorporation of domain-specific leadership and self-efficacy. We measured the NILA attendees’ gained self-efficacy through pre-and post-conference surveys. Given McCormick’s leadership model and our mappings focus on leadership self-efficacy, the leadership programming and chapter-based organizational infrastructure is widely applicable to other chapter-based organizations."

Presented at 2021 CoNECD

Limiting power density in pressure-retarded osmosis: Observation and implications

By Sophia L. Plata & Amy E.Childress

"This study identified limiting water flux for multiple membranes in PRO and also, a limiting power density. To increase water flux and power density in PRO, it was suggested to first focus efforts on mitigating fouling on the feed side (support layer) of the membrane. If that can be done, then improvement of membrane transport parameters would be important for increasing limiting water flux and power density."

Published in the journal Desalination Volume 467, 1 October 2019, Pages 51-56

Flujo limitante observado en ósmosis de presión retardada


This article summarizes my past work, under the supervision of Amy E. Childress, that looks into the limiting flow observed in pressure retarded osmosis (PRO).

Published in the 8th edition of the National Congress SOCIEDAD MEXICANA DE CIENCIA Y TECNOLOGÍA DE MEMBRANAS A.C in 20-21 June, 2019. 

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