Chandran Receives NSF CAREER Award

Kartik Chandran, assistant professor of earth and environmental engineering, has been awarded an NSF CAREER Award for $400,000 to study "Molecular mechanisms and metabolic modeling of N2O and NO emission fluxes from biological nitrogen removal reactors." The CAREER Award is the NSF's most prestigious award to junior faculty, given to teacher-scholars who have shown leadership in integrating outstanding research with exceptional educational skills.
 
Chandran's research centers on engineered wastewater treatment technologies that are enabled by environmental microbiology and biotechnology. His preliminary research has shown that biological nitrogen removal (BNR) processes in wastewater treatment plants may, in fact, produce gases that are environmentally hazardous.
 
This NSF project will characterize gaseous nitric oxide (NO) and nitrous oxide (N20) emissions from wastewater treatment plants at the molecular mechanism and metabolic modeling levels and will complement the multi-agency funded "Wastewater Treatment and Climate Change" program of the Kartik Chandran Laboratories that aims to characterize N-GHG emissions from wastewater treatment plants around the world.
 
"My research goal is to develop BNR technologies that will improve water quality, but not at the cost of deteriorating air-quality," Chandran says. "The greenhouse impact of nitrous oxide is about three hundred times that of carbon dioxide. In addition, nitric oxide is converted to nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere, and that is one of the primary constituents of the orange smog present during peak air pollution events in urban areas." 
 
Chandran, who is currently in The Netherlands, is working with colleagues at Technical University-Delft on a complementary project to find the underlying molecular mechanisms that lead to N2O and NO generation by nitrifying bacteria, which are key protagonists in BNR reactors. Read more about Professor Chandran's research.

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