The Michigan Engineer News Center

Prof Raskin part of new network to build sustainable, livable cities

The University of Michigan is one of nine research universities in a new international effort, funded by a $12 million award from the National Science Foundation, to build better cities of the future.| Short Read

Professor Lutgarde Raskin is the co-principal investigator of the Michigan portion of this effort.

The University of Minnesota-led project brings together scientists, industry leaders and policy partners committed to creating cities that are highly functional, that promote the health of residents and the environment, and that have that intangible vibe, called livability, that makes cities desirable places to live and work.

The U-M portion is roughly $750,000 over four years and involves green infrastructure, urban farming—including a Detroit aquaculture project to raise freshwater shrimp—and the investigation of innovative techniques to recover energy and water from wastes.

Michigan researchers and their partners will identify optimal sites, called hotspots, for future green infrastructure and urban agriculture development. To find the hotspots, they will create a “spatial planning model” that integrates key ecological and socioeconomic indicators, including flooding, social vulnerability, park access, air pollution, urban heat islands and green-space connectivity.

Raskin’s team will use the hotspots identified by the principal investigator of the Michigan portion, Joshua Newell, to select locations suitable for the development of community-scale waste treatment systems that recover water and energy from a variety of sources.

A technology called an anaerobic membrane bioreactor will recover energy in the form of methane gas from household wastewater, food waste, garden waste and urban food-production waste. Effluent produced by the bioreactor can be used directly as irrigation water or treated further to produce drinking water.

“The feasibility of using an anaerobic membrane bioreactor in conjunction with urban food production in Detroit will be examined,” Raskin said. “This urban test bed will include a recirculating shrimp aquaculture system focused on the distributed production of freshwater shrimp.”

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  • Lutgarde Raskin

    Lutgarde Raskin

    Professor of Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

The electrons absorb laser light and set up “momentum combs” (the hills) spanning the energy valleys within the material (the red line). When the electrons have an energy allowed by the quantum mechanical structure of the material—and also touch the edge of the valley—they emit light. This is why some teeth of the combs are bright and some are dark. By measuring the emitted light and precisely locating its source, the research mapped out the energy valleys in a 2D crystal of tungsten diselenide. Credit: Markus Borsch, Quantum Science Theory Lab, University of Michigan.

Mapping quantum structures with light to unlock their capabilities

Rather than installing new “2D” semiconductors in devices to see what they can do, this new method puts them through their paces with lasers and light detectors. | Medium Read