Carnegie Mellon University
October 21, 2015

CMU Hosts Food-Water-Energy Nexus Workshop

CMU Hosts Food-Water-Energy Nexus Workshop

CEE Assistant Professor Meagan MauterCEE Assistant Professor Meagan Mauter

On October 19 and 20, CMU hosted a Food-Water-Energy Nexus Workshop at the Jared L. Cohon University Center which was part of a series of workshops sponsored by the National Science Foundatiion (NSF). The NSF awarded 17 grants to promote research on the interactions between food, energy, and water. With drought and urbanization on the rise, providing these vital resources to an increasing population has become a challenge.

CEE Blenko Professor Greg Lowry served as the conference chair for this two-day workshop that focused on identifing opportunities and challenges for nanotechnology to optimize and unify food, energy, and water systems. The workshop brought together researchers from such institutions as Duke University, the Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization, and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The workshop began with a series of keynote speeches related to energy and water in agriculture, data-driven precision agriculture, challenges to systems-level optimization, and nanotechnology for treating water and generating energy. Keynote speakers included Nick Dokoozlian from E&J Gallo winery, Maximilian Safarpour from BASF, Michael Appell from the USDA, Pedro Alvarez from Rice University, and Meagan Mauter from Carnegie Mellon.

After the keynote speeches, conference participants broke into interdisciplinary groups to explore questions related to the role of nanotechnology in reaching sustainability at the food-water-energy nexus. By collaborating to answer these questions, the groups sought to determine ways to employ nanotechnology to prevent soil erosion, decrease food waste, reduce water consumption and energy use in agriculture, and lower agriculture’s environmental impacts. 

The ideas generated by this multidisciplinary collaboration will have significant influence on the use of nanotechnology in regards to food-water-energy sustainability, as members of academia, industry, and government organizations will be able to integrate the shared expertise from this workshop into their respective fields.  

2015 - Food, Energy, and Water Nexus NSF Workshop