Data and Computing in Energy, Environment & Sustainability

  • Professor Beatrice Riviere is developing state of art algorithms for modeling and optimizing physical phenomena occurring in porous media, with applications such as enhanced oil recovery, remediation of contaminated groundwater sites through rivers and lakes, and image segmentation of tumors.  
  • Professor Jesse Chan has received the prestigious NSF CAREER Award, and is developing new technologies for reliable simulations of fluid flow, which are central to scientific fields from environmental and aerospace engineering to solar physics.  
  • Professor Maarten de Hoop researches on theoretical and computational seismology, in which he employs inversion and deep learning to explore the center of the earth and help discover oil and gas reservoirs.  
  • Professors Pulickel Ajayan, Robert Vajtai, Ming Tang, and Hanyu Zhu lead research on Energy Generation & Storage. New and better-understood nanomaterials are at the forefront of making more affordable, higher-performing, and environmentally sound systems for energy production and storage.  
  • Professor Haotian Wang is working on an NSF funded project aiming to convert CO2 into pure liquid fuel, developing an electrochemical modular system that will provide, “a sustainable, negative-carbon, low-waste, and point-source manufacturing path preferable to traditional large-scale chemical process plants.”  
  • Professors Philip Bedient and Bezawit Getachew work on Sustainable Water Management, where they investigate application of advanced technologies such as nano and bio can have on water treatment technologies, a pivotal step to ensuring enough water to meet multiple needs from agricultural to municipal and industrial.  
  • Professor James Tour champions the field of Synthetic Organic Chemistry, among several other fields. His recent works include the development of versatile laser-induced graphene, flash graphene from waste material, light-activated nanodrills that destroy cancer cells and “superbug” bacteria, silicon-oxide memory circuits that have flown on the International Space Station, the development of graphene quantum dots from coal, asphalt-based materials to capture carbon dioxide from gas wells, and the use of nanoparticles to quench damaging superoxides after an injury or stroke.  
  • Professors Jonathan Ajo-Franklin, Cin-Ty Lee, Alan Levander, Fenglin Niu, and Colin Zelt study the research theme of Earth and Plenary Interiors, enhancing our understanding of the composition, structure, dynamics and evolution of Earth’s interior from the core to the crust using a diversity of tools including seismology, petrology, geochemistry, fluid dynamics, and structural geology.  
  • Professors Sylvia Dee, Julia Morgan, Mark Torres, and Laurence Yeung work on the research focus of Earth System Science, involving geochemical, biogeochemical and physical interactions between the atmosphere, ocean, biosphere, Earth’s surface and its deep interior, to better understand their role on climate change, biological evolution, environmental change and the compositional evolution of the atmosphere, oceans and crust.  
  • Professor Kirsten Siebach is among 13 scientists recently selected by NASA to conduct research and, as part of their duties, operate NASA’s Perseverance rover. Siebach and her colleagues are receiving funding to create algorithms and machine learning methods that will help identify samples to be returned to Earth.  
  • Professor Farés el-Dahdah, who founded the Spatial Studies Lab, created a platform to utilize geospatial and time data. A recent project was an interactive map showing all cases of COVID-19 across Texas drawing from public health data.  
  • Professors Pulickel Ajayan, Hua Guo, Yimo Han, and Boris Yakobson research on Catalysis, essential to modern chemical and biological processing such as manufacturing, food production, environmental remediation, and more.