EnSE Seminar Series: Controlled Environment Agriculture with Non-Conventional Water Resources


EnSE Seminar Series

SPEAKER: PROFESSOR Gary Amy, College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Science, Clemson University, USA
DATE: SunDAY| May 5, 2024 | 03:00 - 04:00 P.M. (GMT +3) 
VENUE: Auditorium between buildings 2&3


Controlled Environment Agriculture with Non-Conventional Water Resources



In an era of increasing scarcity of freshwater resources caused by climate change-induced regional droughts, there is often an abundance of proximate non-conventional water resources. Given that agricultural production accounts for almost 80 % of freshwater consumption, there is a critical need to further expand the potential use of non-conventional waters in the cultivation of food crops. However, non-conventional sources pose water quality challenges that may impact both plants and public health. The non-conventional water resources being considered include saline and brackish waters (e.g., inland and coastal brackish groundwater; tidally-influenced bays, estuaries, and river deltas), constrained by salt tolerance of crops and salinity management; reclaimed municipal wastewater, constrained by microbial and chemical risks to consumers; and urban stormwater, constrained by the presence of heavy metals, hydrocarbons, and pesticides that may be subject to plant uptake and bioaccumulation. These non-conventional waters can be integrated into controlled environment agriculture (CEA). Our CEA approach involves hydroponic (soilless) cultivation of food crops using greenhouses or modular containers with controlled conditions of light, temperature, fertigation, and water quality. Integration of saline/brackish waters into CEA involves a new concept of agricultural-sector desalting, partial desalination, with plant breeding to increase salt tolerance of crops and salinity management of brines though a salt gradient solar pond Integration of reclaimed wastewater involves a novel wastewater treatment scheme, anaerobic membrane bioreactor with UV light disinfection, to ensure food safety while delivering irrigation water containing in situ nutrients at low-energy/-cost. Integration of urban runoff involves passive treatment and storage by aquifer recharge and recovery with optional active treatment by sorption.


About the speaker:

Gary L. Amy presently holds the position of Dean’s Distinguished Professor in the College of Engineering, Computing, and Applied Science at Clemson University, where he established the Water-Energy Consortium (WEC). Until recently, he was a Visiting Professor in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department at the National University of Singapore (NUS), where he was instrumental in establishing the NUS Membrane Science and Technology Consortium (MSTC), the Singapore National Membrane Consortium (SG-MEM), and the Membrane Society in Singapore (MEMSIS). He is also an Emeritus Professor and Former Director of the Water Desalination and Reuse Center (WDRC) at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia. Prior to KAUST, he was a Professor of Water Supply Engineering at the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education in the Netherlands, where he held a joint appointment at the Technical University of Delft. Formerly, he was a Professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder (USA) and, earlier, at the University of Arizona (USA).

Over a career of 45 years, Dr. Amy’s main areas of expertise have been in drinking water quality and treatment, desalination, and wastewater reclamation/reuse, with specific expertise in membrane rejection and fouling, selective adsorption, natural organic matter characterization, disinfection by-product formation and control, and natural systems. Dr. Amy’s present research focus is on emerging low-energy membrane-based desalination technologies. At KAUST, his major research emphasis was on seawater desalination technologies, energy-harvesting wastewater treatment processes, and managed aquifer recharge for wastewater reuse. At UNESCO-IHE, he was involved in various European Union (EU) and other sponsored projects on membrane-based desalination, membrane bioreactors, natural drinking water and wastewater treatment processes, and organic and inorganic micropollutants. He has published over 500 articles in refereed publications and supervised more than 50 PhD students.

Dr. Amy is the recipient of the 2017 A. P. Black Research Award from the American Water Works Association (AWWA). He has received best paper awards from the Journal AWWA and the Journal of the Water Environment Federation. His PhD students have received best dissertation awards from the AWWA and the IOA. He was the recipient of a Fulbright Award for Germany (2003-2004), was invited as a Distinguished Lecturer, Korea Brain 21 Program (2002), and was appointed Visiting Scholar at Kyoto University, Japan (2001).

Event Quick Information

05 May, 2024
03:00 PM - 04:00 PM