UNM Civil Engineering Student Receives 2016 NSF EAPSI Award

April 14, 2016

ehren bacaEhren Baca, a graduate student in environmental engineering in the Civil Engineering Department studying under Dr. Kerry Howe, has received a prestigious National Science Foundation fellowship to conduct research in Taiwan during the summer of 2016. The East Asia and Pacific Summer Institute (EAPSI) program is aimed at facilitating synergistic collaboration between U.S. graduate students and foreign research institutions. Ehren will be investigating silica removal from Integrated Circuit (IC) manufacture waste water to facilitate water reuse.  IC facilities use upwards of millions of gallons of water each day in production, making their waste water a significant and viable alternative to freshwater withdrawals.  However, silica present in this water causes debilitating scale when it is subjected to reuse purification technology such as reverse osmosis. Taiwan has a high density of IC manufacture and presents itself as a strategic location to study effective silica removal from industrial waste water.  Dr. Chihpin Huang, a distinguished researcher and Vice President of National Chiao Tung University (NCTU) in Hsinchu Taiwan, will provide mentorship for this work.  Research will be in conjunction with Dr. Huang’s previous studies in silica removal, thereby levering his expertise and laboratory equipment.  NCTU’s close proximity to Hsinchu’s renowned technology park will allow unique and consistent access to waste water from a variety of IC manufacturers.