Seven years ago, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued stricter regulations to reduce mercury emissions from power plants by 2018. That was important news for Pratim Biswas, PhD, the Lucy and Stanley Lopata Professor and chair of the Department of Energy, Environmental, & Chemical Engineering, who developed a new technology to remove mercury from fossil fuel combustion exhausts.
Biswas developed technology that uses clusters of non-toxic nanostructured titanium dioxide to bind and remove mercury in power-plant stacks, before it can reach the atmosphere, contaminating lakes, killing wildlife and causing brain and nervous system damage in fetuses and children. Embraced in the United States, he hopes the technology will go global to also capture the 40 percent of mercury, generated abroad, that is polluting the United States.
Biswas serves on the steering committee of Washington University’s McDonnell International Scholars Academy and the International Center for Advanced Renewable Energy and Sustainability (I-CARES) and directs the McDonnell Academy Global Energy and Environment Partnership (MAGEEP), a partnership of 28 premier universities from around the world that is working to advance energy, environmental and sustainability research and education.
He also directs Washington University’s Aerosol & Air Quality Research Laboratory. Washington University has one of the largest faculty-based aerosol research programs in the nation. The program’s mission is to educate future generations of engineers and scientists who will tackle and solve the complex environmental problems we currently face. Working as a faculty scholar in the Washington University Institute for Public Health, Biswas stimulates collaboration between disciplines with the goal of improving public health.
“We are trying to understand what causes some of the major environmental problems, and then develop technologies to prevent them at the source,” Biswas says.
Working together we can create and sustain a healthier environment for all.