WRF Presents $100K Research Award To Advance Wastewater Resource Recovery

Oct 11, 2023
Press Release

(Denver, CO) 10/11/23 – Last week, The Water Research Foundation (WRF) presented William Tarpeh, PhD, with the esteemed 2023 Paul L. Busch Award. With this $100,000 research prize, Dr. Tarpeh will continue his innovative work in “waste” water resource recovery at his laboratory at Stanford University.

Dr. Tarpeh is an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at Stanford University's Woods Institute for the Environment. There, he and his students reimagine liquid waste streams, developing novel approaches to wastewater resource recovery. They are working to create a toolbox of selective processes that can produce high purity fertilizers, fuels, and commodity chemicals from wastewater.

Tarpeh’s recent research project, Characterizing, Categorizing, and Communicating Next-Generation Nutrient Removal Processes for Resource Efficiency, yielded insights on the five major barriers to nutrient removal and recovery. This research not only revolutionized the understanding of wastewater resource recovery, but also laid the groundwork for the future of resource-efficient nutrient management.

On receiving the Paul L. Busch Award, Tarpeh said “It definitely feels like a vote of confidence in what my students and I are doing. We've been at it five years, which feels like both a long time and a short time, but it feels like we've come up with a vision that others think can really leave an impact on our field.”

With his current efforts to distill all of wastewater's many valuable elements, Dr. Tarpeh is more inspired than ever to conduct research that will rework current water recycling systems such that what is viewed as "waste" today may be seen as "liquid gold" tomorrow.

“With the Paul L. Busch Award, we highlight people who can take these incredible, technical, and complex questions and present them in a way where they can be accessible,” said Dr. Peter Grevatt, CEO of WRF. “We can then start to imagine the things that can be achieved at water resource recovery facilities.”

The Paul L. Busch Award is made possible by the Endowment for Innovation in Applied Water Quality Research and has provided $2.3 million in funding to up-and-coming researchers making major breakthroughs in the water quality industry. More information about the Paul L. Busch Award can be found on WRF’s website.