CMCC@Ca’Foscari Seminar – Jennifer Dunn
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CMCC@Ca’Foscari Seminar – Jennifer Dunn

Event details
June 27, 2022
2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Ca’ Foscari Challenge School, VEGA
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Title: Clues to the future of wastewater treatment under climate change and urbanization

Speaker: Jennifer Dunn, Center for Engineering Sustainability and Resilience, Northwestern-Argonne Institute of Science and Engineering

Moderator: Enrica De Cian, CMCC@Ca’ Foscari, RFF-CMCC European Institute on Economics and the Environment (EIEE) and Venice Ca’ Foscari University


Water scarcity will increase as the planet warms. Coupled with increasing urbanization, climate change will spur increased construction of wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) to provide clean drinking water as well as supply irrigation and other water consumption needs. Accordingly, one effect of climate change will be to drive up energy consumption in the wastewater sector, which may, in turn, drive up greenhouse gas emissions associated with water provision. This presentation will summarize three efforts to characterize emissions from WWTP and how they may change under climate change scenarios. First, there have been several increasingly detailed efforts to inventory the wastewater sector in the United States.  We will describe our current efforts in this area as well as the state of WWTP inventory information for other countries and regions of interest including the EU, India, Brazil, and Mexico. Second, we will describe technology being developed through a National Science Foundation project led by Northwestern University to reduce nitrous oxide emissions from WWTPs.  Nitrous oxide is a potent greenhouse gas with a global warming potential approximately 300 times greater than carbon dioxide. We are using life cycle assessment to guide technology development towards process and product choices that drive these emissions down and limit greenhouse gases from a systems level that considers the entire WWTP. Finally, we will describe our collaborations with Ca’ Foscari and the CMCC to enhance integrated assessment models’ treatment of the WWTP sector including how it will evolve as the climate changes and how it can represent emerging technology that can reduce the sector’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Speaker’s short bio:

Jennifer Dunn studies emerging technologies, their energy and environmental impacts, and their potential to influence air pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, and energy consumption at the economy-wide level. Particular technologies of interest include biofuels and bioproducts, automotive lithium-ion batteries, fuels and chemicals made from carbon capture and utilization technologies and from natural gas liquids, and resource recovery from wastewater. She applies life cycle analysis as a key tool to evaluate emerging technologies. Dr. Dunn holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan. Her undergraduate institution in the same field was Purdue University.  Jennifer holds a joint appointment in the Energy Systems Division of Argonne National Laboratory and is Associate Director of Northwestern’s Center for Engineering Sustainability and Resilience.


CMCC@Ca’Foscari Seminar – in presence and online
AULA RADICE, Ca’ Foscari Challenge School, VEGA Park, Ground floor
Please note that on-site presence is strongly recommended to allow interactions during the Seminars.
However, we have a limited number of seats available, so please, let us know if you are attending in presence by quickly filling in the registration forms linked below at your earliest convenience. Thank you.