The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory is organizing several upcoming events for Chicago Water Week that show how Argonne is harnessing the power of science and technology and working with industry and academia to address critical water issues here in the Midwest and around the country.
“Over the next 10 years, 40 out of the 50 states will experience some kind of water scarcity, so we need to look into a diverse portfolio of solutions towards that particular challenge,” said Junhong Chen, lead water strategist at Argonne and Crown Family professor of molecular engineering at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering. Chen is spearheading efforts at Argonne to showcase new water research and innovations as well as support a collaborative community of individuals and institutions working on water-related issues in the region.
The first of these events will take place September 28, during Chicago Water Week. This five-day series of virtual events — which is hosted by nonprofit organization Current — highlights the critical role water plays in Chicago’s environment, society and economy. Argonne events at Chicago Water Week include talks on using artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced materials manufacturing to address water-related issues, as well as the launch of a new water research and innovation seminar series. All of the following events are free and open to the public, but registration is required.
Argonne has been at the forefront of water research and innovation for years. Now, the laboratory is helping to connect the work being done at Argonne to the broader water community. The hope is that these events will spur additional partnerships and collaborations that can help Argonne achieve its goal of ensuring ample supplies of fit-for-purpose water for the entire nation and around the globe.
Using AI for Water Research
On Tuesday, September 29, Argonne will host an AI for Water workshop that will feature talks from five Argonne researchers who are exploring different aspects of how AI can be applied to solve challenges in the water space. These talks show how researchers can harness the power of AI to address critical topics in water research such as water modeling and sustainability, and support the development of new materials, sensors and manufacturing technologies.
“Argonne is leveraging its strengths in natural sciences, engineering and artificial intelligence to help tackle the water crisis,” said Olle Heinonen, a senior materials scientist at Argonne who is helping organize the AI for Water workshop. “We all need water. Artificial intelligence can support water research from the atomic scale to the continental scale.”
Through building better models and mining large databases AI can aid a wide variety of water research, such as developing new materials for water filtration and purification, managing groundwater resources and predicting water flow and availability. This workshop showcases a few of the synergies that are emerging between materials scientists, chemists, nano-scientists and computer scientists who are using AI to address today’s pressing water issues.
Third Coast Water Seminar Series: Waterborne Disease (COVID-19)
Argonne is partnering with Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Current to launch a new monthly seminar series to share the latest in water research and technology. The inaugural seminar will be held on Wednesday, September 30, and features a presentation by renowned scientist Dr. Rita Colwell of University of Maryland on waterborne disease. The series aims to foster collaboration among Chicago’s water research community to help solve pressing water challenges.
“Chicagoland is growing in stature in water research and innovation, and Argonne is a big part of that,” said Seth Darling, director of the Center for Molecular Engineering and a senior scientist in the Chemical Sciences and Engineering division at Argonne. “This seminar series unites regional institutions. By working together, we can attract really exciting and interesting speakers for the community, strengthen ties among the regional institutions and raise the visibility of Argonne and Chicagoland as a center for water research and innovation.”
Materials for Water Webinar
Argonne is launching a new monthly webinar series during Chicago Water Week focused on materials and manufacturing sciences. On Friday, October 2, National Manufacturing Day, Argonne will host the first Frontiers in Materials Manufacturing webinar series, “Materials for Water.” This webinar will focus on how manufacturing innovations will play a significant role in solving the global water crisis. Industry experts and scientists will discuss the development of new technologies and materials for water purification, and participants will get a virtual tour of Argonne’s newly expanded Materials Engineering Research Facility. (Construction of the original MERF was supported by the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Vehicle Technologies Office.)
Greg Krumdick, the director of Argonne’s Applied Materials division, planned the event to connect the research and innovation communities and to educate companies that do work in water-related materials, from filtration membranes, to sorbent materials, to detectors for finding impurities in water, about what is possible at Argonne.
“We have a lot of capabilities that we have been investing in at Argonne to help really push the boundaries of these advanced new materials and help us understand new ways of producing and manufacturing them,” Krumdick said.
This webinar series seeks to bring industry and science leaders together to engage in the future of materials and manufacturing science and technology. Future webinars will cover key cross-divisional research areas for Argonne, such as energy storage materials and using AI to support the manufacturing of novel materials.
Panel Discussion: Partners in Innovation — How to Collaborate with Universities and National Labs
This event, hosted by the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago, will feature technology transfer representatives from Argonne, DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and the University of Chicago talking about how companies and other organizations regularly collaborate with the Chicagoland national laboratories and UChicago to tap into their unique capabilities, facilities and tools.
The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy supports early-stage research and development of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies to strengthen U.S. economic growth, energy security, and environmental quality.
Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit https://energy.gov/science.