Morgan Lehtinen - Canada

Morgan graduated with a BSc from Queen's University, Kingston and stayed on to continue her studies as a PhD candidate specialising in polymer and materials chemistry. Under the supervision of Professor Guojun Liu, her research focuses on the development of functionalised 'smart' filters and their use in oil/water separation. Morgan envisions her technology as a greener alternative to current oil/water separation methods helping us achieve a sustainable future. Her work has been presented at numerous conferences winning multiple awards, most notably the 'Best Presentation/Paper' award at the 2018 National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston, MA. Following her dream of being an entrepreneur, she recently teamed up with a group of students at the Queen's Innovation Centre to begin the process of launching a start-up company to take her green filtration technology to market.

Morgan holds various important roles within the University including Queen's Graduate Chemistry Society President, Chemistry Graduate Student Ambassador and Canadian Institute of Canada Local Chapter Student Co-President. In her free time, you can find her walking her dog along the Kingston waterfront, or hosting a dinner party with fresh produce from her vegetable garden.

H2Only: Smart filters for efficient oil/water separation

In a world that relies heavily on the use of crude oil as an energy source, clean oil recovery and spill remediation is of dire importance. Removing oil from surfactant stabilised oil-in-water emulsions has become an issue in numerous industries as current separation processes are tedious and wasteful of resources. Our research group has developed functionalised 'smart' filters that can selectively and efficiently separate the oil from oil-in-water emulsions. These filters are fabricated through a one-step thermally grafted polymer approach with minimal environmental impact. In a real-world scenario, these filters could be used to separate an emulsified organic phase from the aqueous phase when steam is used to extract crude oil from sands or at the surface of an ocean after an oil spill. In this presentation, I will discuss the environmental and operational advantages of this novel filter and its potential to improve the cleanliness of a normally dirty industry.

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