Resources and Sustainability

Food, water, air, energy, materials. Civilization cannot survive without them. They are the resources that keep us functioning. We are looking to revolutionize those resources. We want them to be more accessible, a higher quality, more sustainable. We focus on natural and human-made resources, their extraction, generation, and interaction with the environment.

Key areas include:

  • Water, e.g. the SMART Center for Environmental Sensing and Modeling (CENSAM)
  • Atmosphere & air quality, e.g.: Air pollution impacts on global crop yields; Regional hotspots where climate change may severely impact human habitability
  • Food & agriculture, e.g.: Bacterial viruses as pathogen control agents in aquaculture systems; Gravity fingering during water infiltration in soil: Impact on the resilience of crops and vegetation in water-stressed ecosystems
  • Energy, e.g.: Hydraulic Fracturing and Fracture Flow in Rocks; Reservoir-on-a-chip; Simulating Fracture in Geomaterials
  • Material sourcing, e.g. Transforming animal waste to biobinder and bio-petroleum
  • Coastal resilience, e.g.: Green Infrastructure: Vegetated Landscapes and Coastal Protection


Ruben Juanes:

Two-phase flow in porous media is important in many natural and industrial processes like geologic CO2 sequestration, enhanced oil recovery, and water infiltration in soil. In this project, Professor Juanes’s research focuses on elucidating how the wetting properties of the medium control fluid-fluid displacements by means of precision visual experiments in patterned microfluidic cells.

This type of microfluidic device is used to visualize and model how one fluid displaces another in a porous matrix, such as CO2 displacing brine in a deep saline aquifer, or water infiltrating in soil.