By Kathleen Hilliard.
Professor Dr. Gan Guly and Professor Michael Antoon are working alongside students in the Environmental Catalyst Organization and JOVE research to create a remodeled laboratory. One of the new assets is going to be that it will be powered by photovoltaic solar panels. The solar panels were the choice of electricity for the lab because they were both energy-saving and efficient for the activities to take place in the lab. The solar panels also promote renewable energy.
There is no estimate of when the lab will be completed. Antoon said that research is still being done on suppliers and working on raising money and applying for grants. ECO has begun raising money for the solar panels through their activities.
Amber Minor, a junior Business major at NSU, is president of ECO.
“It doesn’t matter what your major is or what you want to do…it’s for everybody. It predicts your future, your kids future, your dogs future. It determines if you’re just going to live and pass it on to the next generation,” said Minor when asked why being eco-friendly matters.
The goal of the new lab to study the purification of water through desalination. Desalination is the process of taking away mineral components from saline water. They plan to do so mainly through graphene, which is a porous material. Porous materials have enough spaces in them to hold onto the materials that are in saline water.
“Graphene is one of the materials, which is a porous material. Because you have those pores, you can easily purify water if you just put the graphene into water. All of the heavy toxic metals and materials can stick to graphene. You can take out that graphene and be left with purified water,” said Guly.
“I’m trying to get Northwestern to be associated with being proactive environmental protection,” said Antoon.
The lab itself is located next to Fournet 115, and will be mainly accessible to the students in both Antoon’s classes and part of the JOVE scholar research. One student that has been active in the lab already is junior Olivia Warren.
“I’ve learned a lot from being in the lab…you gain experience. We’re saving the environment. We want to further what we have now, and be hands on,” said Olivia Warren, a junior Biology major at NSU. Warren expressed her excitement about being involved in the new lab.
JOVE scholarships are available to chemistry and physics majors through the NASA-JOVE program at the College of Science and Technology.