- Associate Professor
- Associate Professor, BIO5 Institute
- Member of the Graduate Faculty
Andrea Achilli main fields of research are membrane processes for desalination and water reuse and energy recovery from water and wastewater. Additional field of his research focuses on process integration, modelling, and optimization and biological processes for water and wastewater treatments. Dr. Achilli is the principal investigator on several research processes on membrane contactor processes and hybrid systems for desalination and water reuse.
- Ph.D. Civil and Environmental Engineering
- University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada, United States
- University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona (2017 - Ongoing)
- Humboldt State University, Arcata, California (2012 - 2017)
Licensure & Certification
- Profession Engineer, Nevada Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors (2012)
Membrane Processes in Environmental ApplicationsWater and Wastewater TreatmentWater ReuseDesalinationProcess Design and Intensification
Environmental EngineeringWater and Wastewater TreatmentPhysicochemical ProcessesMass and Heat Transfer
Directed ResearchCHEE 492 (Fall 2023)
DissertationCHEE 920 (Fall 2023)
Environmental+Water EngrCE 370R (Fall 2023)
Environmental+Water EngrCHEE 370R (Fall 2023)
ResearchCHEE 900 (Fall 2023)
Water Treatmnt Syst DsgnCHEE 475 (Fall 2023)
Water Treatmnt Syst DsgnCHEE 575 (Fall 2023)
DissertationCHEE 920 (Spring 2023)
Water ReuseCHEE 485 (Spring 2023)
Water ReuseCHEE 585 (Spring 2023)
DissertationCHEE 920 (Fall 2022)
Environmental+Water EngrCE 370R (Fall 2022)
Environmental+Water EngrCHEE 370R (Fall 2022)
Independent StudyCHEE 499 (Fall 2022)
DissertationCHEE 920 (Spring 2022)
Environmental+Water EngrCE 370R (Spring 2022)
Environmental+Water EngrCHEE 370R (Spring 2022)
DissertationCHEE 920 (Fall 2021)
Independent StudyCHEE 399 (Fall 2021)
ResearchCHEE 900 (Fall 2021)
WorkshopCHEE 497 (Fall 2021)
WorkshopCHEE 597 (Fall 2021)
DissertationCHEE 920 (Spring 2021)
Environmental+Water EngrCE 370R (Spring 2021)
Environmental+Water EngrCHEE 370R (Spring 2021)
ResearchCHEE 900 (Spring 2021)
DissertationCHEE 920 (Fall 2020)
Independent StudyCHEE 599 (Fall 2020)
ResearchCHEE 900 (Fall 2020)
DissertationCHEE 920 (Spring 2020)
Environmental+Water EngrCE 370R (Spring 2020)
Environmental+Water EngrCHEE 370R (Spring 2020)
Honors Independent StudyCHEE 499H (Spring 2020)
ResearchCHEE 900 (Spring 2020)
ThesisCHEE 910 (Spring 2020)
Chem+Environ Engr Lab ICHEE 401A (Fall 2019)
DissertationCHEE 920 (Fall 2019)
Environmental Engineering LabCHEE 400A (Fall 2019)
Environmental Engineering LabCHEE 500A (Fall 2019)
ThesisCHEE 910 (Fall 2019)
Ch E Plant DesignCHEE 443 (Spring 2019)
DissertationCHEE 920 (Spring 2019)
Independent StudyCHEE 399 (Spring 2019)
Independent StudyCHEE 599 (Spring 2019)
Master's ReportCHEE 909 (Spring 2019)
ThesisCHEE 910 (Spring 2019)
Chem Engr Design PrinCHEE 442 (Fall 2018)
DissertationCHEE 920 (Fall 2018)
Independent StudyCHEE 399 (Fall 2018)
Master's ReportCHEE 909 (Fall 2018)
ThesisCHEE 910 (Fall 2018)
DissertationCHEE 920 (Spring 2018)
Honors Independent StudyCHEE 299H (Spring 2018)
Independent StudyCHEE 299 (Spring 2018)
Independent StudyCHEE 499 (Spring 2018)
- Achilli, A. (2016). Pressure retarded osmosis: Applications.
- Chaves, B., Alhussaini, M., Felix, V., Presson, L., Betancourt, W. Q., Hickenbottom, K., & Achilli, A. (2022). Extending the life of water reuse reverse osmosis membranes using chlorination. Journal of Membrane Science, 119897.
- Hardikar, M., Marquez, I., Phakdon, T., Sáez, A. E., & Achilli, A. (2022). Scale-up of membrane distillation systems using bench-scale data. Desalination, 530, 115654.
- Marquez, I., Saez, A. E., Ogden, K. L., & Achilli, A. (2022). A hands-on course on intensified membrane process for sustainable water purification. Chemical Engineering Education.
- Xu, J., Phakdon, T., Achilli, A., Hickenbottom, K., & Farrell, J. (2022). Pretreatment of Reverse Osmosis Concentrate from Reclaimed Water for Conventional and High-Efficiency Reverse Osmosis and Evaluation of Electrochemical Production of Reagents. ACS ES&T Water, 2(6), 1022-1030.
- Binger, Z., O'Toole, G., & Achilli, A. (2021). Evidence of solution-diffusion-with-defects in an engineering-scale pressure retarded osmosis system. Journal of Membrane Science, 119135.
- Rabe, A., Presson, L., Felix, V., Hardikar, M., Hickenbottom, K., Achilli, A., & Ikner, L. A. (2021). Membrane distillation provides a dual barrier for coronavirus and bacteriophage removal. Environmental Science & Technology Letters.
- Tow, E. W., Hartman, A. L., Jaworowski, A., Zucker, I., Kum, S., AzadiAghdam, M., Blatchley, E. R., Achilli, A., Gu, H., Urper, G. M., & Warsinger, D. M. (2021). Modeling the energy consumption of potable water reuse schemes. Water research X, 13, 100126.More infoPotable reuse of municipal wastewater is often the lowest-energy option for increasing the availability of fresh water. However, limited data are available on the energy consumption of potable reuse facilities and schemes, and the many variables affecting energy consumption obscure the process of estimating energy requirements. By synthesizing available data and developing a simple model for the energy consumption of centralized potable reuse schemes, this study provides a framework for understanding when potable reuse is the lowest-energy option for augmenting water supply. The model is evaluated to determine a representative range for the specific electrical energy consumption of direct and indirect potable reuse schemes and compare potable reuse to other water supply augmentation options, such as seawater desalination. Finally, the model is used to identify the most promising avenues for further reducing the energy consumption of potable reuse, including encouraging direct potable reuse without additional drinking water treatment, avoiding reverse osmosis in indirect potable reuse when effluent quality allows it, updating pipe networks, or using more permeable membranes. Potable reuse already requires far less energy than seawater desalination and, with a few investments in energy efficiency, entire potable reuse schemes could operate with a specific electrical energy consumption of less than 1 kWh/m, showing the promise of potable reuse as a low-energy option for augmenting water supply.
- AzadiAghdam, M., Park, M., Lopez-Prieto, I. J., Achilli, A., Snyder, S. A., & Farrell, J. (2020). Pretreatment for water reuse using fluidized bed crystallization. Journal of Water Process Engineering.
- Binger, Z. M., & Achilli, A. (2020). Forward osmosis and pressure retarded osmosis process modeling for integration with seawater reverse osmosis desalination. Desalination.
- Crosson, C., Achilli, A., Zuniga Teran, A. A., Mack, E. A., Albrecht, T., Shrestha, P. P., Boccelli, D., Cath, T. Y., Daigger, G. T., Duan, J. G., Lansey, K. E., Meixner, T., Pincetl, S., & Scott, C. A. (2020). Net Zero Urban Water from Concept to Applications: Integrating Natural, Built, and Social Systems for Responsive and Adaptive Solutions. ACS ES&T Water.
- Hardikar, M., Marquez, I., & Achilli, A. (2020). Emerging investigator series: membrane distillation and high salinity: analysis and implications. Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology.
- Wei, X., Binger, Z. M., Achilli, A., Sanders, K. T., & Childress, A. E. (2020). A modeling framework to evaluate blending of seawater and treated wastewater streams for synergistic desalination and potable reuse. Water research, 170, 115282.More infoA modeling framework was developed to evaluate synergistic blending of the waste streams from seawater reverse osmosis (RO) desalination and wastewater treatment facilities that are co-located or in close proximity. Four scenarios were considered, two of which involved blending treated wastewater with the brine resulting from the seawater RO desalination process, effectively diluting RO brine prior to discharge. One of these scenarios considers the capture of salinity-gradient energy. The other two scenarios involved blending treated wastewater with the intake seawater to dilute the influent to the RO process. One of these scenarios incorporates a low-energy osmotic dilution process to provide high-quality pre-treatment for the wastewater. The model framework evaluates required seawater and treated wastewater flowrates, discharge flowrates and components, boron removal, and system energy requirements. Using data from an existing desalination facility in close proximity to a wastewater treatment facility, results showed that the influent blending scenarios (Scenarios 3 and 4) had several advantages over the brine blending scenarios (Scenarios 1 and 2), including: (1) reduced seawater intake and brine discharge flowrates, (2) no need for second-pass RO for boron control, and (3) reduced energy consumption. It should be noted that the framework was developed for use with co-located seawater desalination and coastal wastewater reclamation facilities but could be extended for use with desalination and wastewater reclamation facilities in in-land locations where disposal of RO concentrate is a serious concern.
- Armstrong, N. R., Shallcross, R. C., Ogden, K., Snyder, S., Achilli, A., & Armstrong, E. L. (2018). Challenges and opportunities at the nexus of energy, water, and food: A perspective from the southwest United States. MRS Energy & Sustainability, 5, E6.
- Morrow, C. P., Furtaw, N. M., Murphy, J. R., Achilli, A., Marchand, E. A., Hiibel, S. R., & Childress, A. E. (2018). Integrating an aerobic/anoxic osmotic membrane bioreactor with membrane distillation for potable reuse. DESALINATION, 432, 46-54.
- Rodman, K. E., Cervania, A. A., Budig-Markin, V., Schermesser, C. F., Rogers, O. W., Martinez, J. M., King, J., Hassett, P., Burns, J., Gonzales, M. S., Folkerts, A., Duin, P., Virgil, A. S., Aldrete, M., Lagasca, A., Infanzon-Marin, A., Aitchison, J. R., White, D., Boutros, B. C., , Ortega, S., et al. (2018). Coastal California Wastewater Effluent as a Resource for Seawater Desalination Brine Commingling. WATER, 10(3).
- Warsinger, D. M., Chakraborty, S., Tow, E. W., Plumlee, M. H., Bellona, C., Loutatidou, S., Karimi, L., Mikelonis, A. M., Achilli, A., Ghassemi, A., Padhye, L. P., Snyder, S. A., Curcio, S., Vecitis, C. D., Arafat, H. A., & Lienhard, J. (2018). A review of polymeric membranes and processes for potable water reuse. PROGRESS IN POLYMER SCIENCE, 81, 209-237.
- Achilli, A. (2016). A stepwise model of direct contact membrane distillation for application to large-scale systems: Experimental results and model predictions. Desalination.
- Achilli, A. (2016). River-to-sea pressure retarded osmosis: Resource utilization in a full-scale facility. Desalination.
- Warsinger, D. M., Chakraborty, S., Tow, E. W., Plumlee, M. H., Bellona, C., Loutatidou, S., Karimi, L., Mikelonis, A. M., Achilli, A., Ghassemi, A., Padhye, L. P., Snyder, S. A., Curcio, S., Vecitis, C., Arafat, H. A., & Lienhard, J. H. (2016). A review of polymeric membranes and processes for potable water reuse. Progress in polymer science, 81, 209-237.More infoConventional water resources in many regions are insufficient to meet the water needs of growing populations, thus reuse is gaining acceptance as a method of water supply augmentation. Recent advancements in membrane technology have allowed for the reclamation of municipal wastewater for the production of drinking water, i.e., potable reuse. Although public perception can be a challenge, potable reuse is often the least energy-intensive method of providing additional drinking water to water stressed regions. A variety of membranes have been developed that can remove water contaminants ranging from particles and pathogens to dissolved organic compounds and salts. Typically, potable reuse treatment plants use polymeric membranes for microfiltration or ultrafiltration in conjunction with reverse osmosis and, in some cases, nanofiltration. Membrane properties, including pore size, wettability, surface charge, roughness, thermal resistance, chemical stability, permeability, thickness and mechanical strength, vary between membranes and applications. Advancements in membrane technology including new membrane materials, coatings, and manufacturing methods, as well as emerging membrane processes such as membrane bioreactors, electrodialysis, and forward osmosis have been developed to improve selectivity, energy consumption, fouling resistance, and/or capital cost. The purpose of this review is to provide a comprehensive summary of the role of polymeric membranes in the treatment of wastewater to potable water quality and highlight recent advancements in separation processes. Beyond membranes themselves, this review covers the background and history of potable reuse, and commonly used potable reuse process chains, pretreatment steps, and advanced oxidation processes. Key trends in membrane technology include novel configurations, materials and fouling prevention techniques. Challenges still facing membrane-based potable reuse applications, including chemical and biological contaminant removal, membrane fouling, and public perception, are highlighted as areas in need of further research and development.
- Achilli, A. (2015). Factors contributing to flux improvement in vacuum-enhanced direct contact membrane distillation. Desalination.
- Achilli, A. (2015). The osmotic membrane bioreactor: A critical review. Environmental Science: Water Research and Technology.
- Achilli, A. (2014). Experimental results from RO-PRO: A next generation system for low-energy desalination. Environmental Science and Technology.
- Achilli, A. (2014). RO-PRO desalination: An integrated low-energy approach to seawater desalination. Applied Energy.
- Achilli, A., Prante, J. L., Hancock, N. T., Maxwell, E. B., & Childress, A. E. (2014). Experimental results from RO-PRO: a next generation system for low-energy desalination. Environmental science & technology, 48(11), 6437-43.More infoA pilot system was designed and constructed to evaluate reverse osmosis (RO) energy reduction that can be achieved using pressure-retarded osmosis (PRO). The RO-PRO experimental system is the first known system to utilize energy from a volume of water transferred from atmospheric pressure to elevated pressure across a semipermeable membrane to prepressurize RO feedwater. In other words, the system demonstrated that pressure could be exchanged between PRO and RO subsystems. Additionally, the first experimental power density data for a RO-PRO system is now available. Average experimental power densities for the RO-PRO system ranged from 1.1 to 2.3 W/m2. This is higher than previous river-to-sea PRO pilot systems (1.5 W/m2) and closer to the goal of 5 W/m2 that would make PRO an economically feasible technology. Furthermore, isolated PRO system testing was performed to evaluate PRO element performance with higher cross-flow velocities and power densities exceeding 8 W/m2 were achieved with a 28 g/L NaCl draw solution. From this empirical data, inferences for future system performance can be drawn that indicate future RO-PRO systems may reduce the specific energy requirements for desalination by ∼1 kWh/m3.
- Achilli, A. (2013). Standard Methodology for Evaluating Membrane Performance in Osmotically Driven Membrane Processes. Desalination.
- Achilli, A. (2012). Organic ionic salt draw solutions for osmotic membrane bioreactors. Bioresource Technology.
- Bowden, K. S., Achilli, A., & Childress, A. E. (2012). Organic ionic salt draw solutions for osmotic membrane bioreactors. Bioresource technology, 122, 207-16.More infoThis investigation evaluates the use of organic ionic salt solutions as draw solutions for specific use in osmotic membrane bioreactors. Also, this investigation presents a simple method for determining the diffusion coefficient of ionic salt solutions using only a characterized membrane. A selection of organic ionic draw solutions underwent a desktop screening process before being tested in the laboratory and evaluated for performance using specific salt flux (reverse salt flux per unit water flux), biodegradation potential, and replenishment cost. Two of the salts were found to have specific salt fluxes three to six times lower than two commonly used inorganic draw solutions, NaCl and MgCl(2). All of the salts tested have organic anions with the potential to degrade in the bioreactor as a carbon source and aid in nutrient removal. Results demonstrate the potential benefits of organic ionic salt draw solutions over currently implemented inorganics in osmotic membrane bioreactor systems.
- Achilli, A. (2011). A performance evaluation of three membrane bioreactor systems: Aerobic, anaerobic, and attached-growth. Water Science and Technology.
- Achilli, A. (2010). Pressure retarded osmosis: From the vision of Sidney Loeb to the first prototype installation - Review. Desalination.
- Achilli, A. (2010). Selection of inorganic-based draw solutions for forward osmosis applications. Journal of Membrane Science.
- Achilli, A. (2009). Power generation with pressure retarded osmosis: An experimental and theoretical investigation. Journal of Membrane Science.
- Achilli, A. (2009). The forward osmosis membrane bioreactor: A low fouling alternative to MBR processes. Desalination.
- Achilli, A. (2007). Treatment of dilute wastewater using an anaerobic membrane bioreactor. 2007 Membrane Technology Conference and Exposition Proceedings.
- Binger, Z. M., Hardikar, M., Josefik, N., Guy, K., Marchand, E. A., Hiibel, S. R., Childress, A. E., & Achilli, A. (2022). Biological Removal, Membrane Separation, and Thermal Destruction: A Multi-Barrier Approach to Potable Water Reuse and Waste Heat Recovery. In WEFTEC 2022.
- Morrow, C. P., Furtaw, N. M., Achilli, A., Marchand, E. A., Hiibel, S. R., & Childress, A. E. (2018, March). Potable reuse with engineered osmosis; integrating an osmotic membrane bioreactor with membrane distillation. In AWWA/AMTA 2018 Membrane Technology Conference & Exposition.
- Furtaw, N. M., Ahmadiannamini, P., Morrow, C. P., Murphy, J. P., Dash, S., Park, C., Achilli, A., Childress, A. E., Marchand, E. A., & Hiibel, S. R. (2017, July). Application of a submerged forward osmosis membrane bioreactor paired with membrane distillation utilizing waste heat. In 11th IWA International Conference on Water Reclamation and Reuse.
- Jones, L., & Achilli, A. (2017, February). California's Desalination Amendment: Opportunities from the colocation of desal facilities with wastewater treatment plants. In AWWA/AMTA 2017 Membrane Technology Conference & Exposition.
- Achilli, A. (2014). Integration of reverse osmosis and pressure retarded osmosis to decrease energy expenditures in seawater desalination. In AWWA/AMTA 2014 Membrane Technology Conference and Exposition.
- Achilli, A. (2017, May). Integrated membrane processes for water reuse and desalination. Workshop: Water Reuse Monitoring and Treatment Technologies.
- Achilli, A., & Hiibel, S. R. (2017, November). A Fully Integrated Membrane Bioreactor System for Wastewater Treatment in Remote Applications. Wastewater treatment technology project meeting (environmental restoration program area), SERDP-ESTCP Symposium 2017.
- Ahmadiannamini, P., Furtaw, N. M., Murphy, J. P., Morrow, C. P., Achilli, A., Marchand, E. A., Childress, A. E., & Hiibel, S. R. (2017, August). An integrated membrane pilot system for direct potable reuse. ICOM 2017.
- Furtaw, N. M., Ahmadiannamini, P., Morrow, C. P., Murphy, J. R., Dash, S., Park, C., Achilli, A., Childress, A. E., Hiibel, S. R., & Marchand, E. A. (2017, April). Application of a submerged forward osmosis membrane bioreactor paired with membrane distillation utilizing waste heat. 2017 Nevada Water Environment Association Annual Conference.
- O'Toole, G., & Achilli, A. (2017, August). Optimizing operating parameters for minimum net energy consumption in a pilot-scale SWRO-PRO system. ICOM 2017.
- Childress, A. E., Achilli, A., Hiibel, S. R., Marchand, E. A., & Park, C. (2017, November). A Fully Integrated Membrane Bioreactor System for Wastewater Treatment in Remote Applications. SERDP-ESTCP Symposium 2017.