Deshusses Lab News

October 15, 2013

Deshusses Lab Photo

Deshusses lab Fall 2013Deshusses lab Fall 2013. From left to right: Yinlun (MEng), John (visiting prof), Jiele (postdoc), Mustafa (visiting prof), Marc, Joe A. (postdoc), Doug (postdoc), Aaron (PhD), Bobby (UG), Lilya (MS), Jose E. (visiting PhD). Missing Kate (postdoc), Kathy (project manager), Dave (researcher), Connor (UG). Linus (UG). And check out that cake on the table! (Thanks Jose A!)

May 12, 2013

Duke 2013 Commencement

Melinda Gates was the Duke 2013 Commencement Speaker.Jeff Glass (Electrical Eng and MEM Program), Melinda Gates and Marc Deshusses

April 20, 2013

Deshusses Awarded Grant from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

before and after treatmentThe Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded a Reinvent the Toilet Challenge grant to a team led by Dr. Deshusses! We will be using supercritical water oxidation to convert sewage to harmless byproducts and clean water with minimal or no energy input (see picture below of before and after treatment).

Learn more about this project:

November 28, 2012

News Archive 2012

November 2012

Sanitation for developing countries news: a lot is going on... we are actively engaged in discussions with different partners to demonstrate our digester-sterilizer technology in the field in 2013. Also Marc is advising two groups of students (one mechanical engineering team and one from the Certificate in Energy and the Environment) who, for their capstone design project, will develop a small (uncompressed) biogas heat and power co-generator... stay tuned.

Cavanaugh wins the American Council of Engineering Companies of North Carolina 2013 Grand Conceptor Engineering Excellence Award for the Loyd Ray Farms project. See more at  link (and of course some pictures of the system in earlier news below).

August 2012

Marc and Joan attend the Reinvent the Toilet Fair organized by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. See our paper (Gates&FSM2 paper.pdf) with early results on our anaerobic digester combined with a heat sterilization/recovery system.

We are also welcoming new graduate students Aaron Forbis-Stokes (Ph.D.) and Lilya Ouksel(MS) to the research team working on the Gates sanitation project.

July 2012

Marc is spending the month of July in Ales France, in the "odor and VOC" team of Prof. Jean-Louis Fanlo (see in French).

June 2012

Matt Strickland successfully defended his MS thesis titled Investigation of Secondary Phases Including Ionic Liquids for Biphasic Bioreactors Treating Hydrophobic VOCs. Congrats!

May 2012

We are welcoming Charles (Chip) Ellis, REU student originally from High Point, NC, now undergraduate at the University of Alabama.

April 2012

Two new MS from Deshusses' group... Osman Karatum: Treatment of Low Concentrations of Volatile Organic Compounds by Non-Thermal Plasma and Scott Loughery: Calcium Sulfate Precipitation in Biotrickling Filters Treating Hydrogen Sulfide. Congratulations! (pictures coming soon)

March 2012

Joan Colon, for the Autonomous University of Barcelona joins the lab as a postdoctoral fellow. Joan is working on novel sanitation technology (Gates Foundation project). It looks like he is already working on something!

November 29, 2011

News Archive 2011

November 2011

The Gates Foundation funds novel sanitation technology development.

See details in the Duke Engineering story and in the Duke Chronicle Article.

For more information on the Grand Challenges Exploration Grants and funded projects, click on the following links (Grand Challenges programFunded projects).

November 2011

Jinying Xi, Associate Professor in the School of the Environment, Tsinghua University China joins the Deshusses Lab for one year. Welcome!

October 2011

Biotechniques - 2011 Conference in La Coruna, Spain. Two presentations from our group, one poster about the determination of gypsum precipitation in biotrickling filter treating H2S. We show a detailed precipitation model and experimental data. Gypsum precipitation could be relatively common (but is never really identified). I also gave a platform presentation on our use of micro-electrodes to determine micro-gradients of dissolved oxygen (DO) in the biofilms of biotrickling filters treating various VOCs. We were able to show how DO limitation in biofilms is influenced by the reactor operating conditions.

September 2011

Converting hog waste to energy in Yadkinville NC... We are now generating many kilowatts digesting pig manure and converting it to biogas, while treating and recycling the barn flush water. 

This is large project, part of Duke's commitment to become carbon neutral. The digester alone is 2 million gallons! The Deshusses' group will be evaluating and optimizing performance and environmental benefits. The general flowsheet is as shown below:

See article on Duke's web site at See also the Google story at and watch the video either at the above link or directly here (the hog waste to energy is the second project). 

July 2011

Jovon and DantaviusHosted Jovon and Dantavius (high school kids) for a short week in the lab.

April 2011

Invited talk in the department of Earth and Environmental Engineering at Columbia.

April 2011

Making ice cream (and teaching a little bit about low temperature) with liquid nitrogen at an elementary school in Chapel Hill... too much fun! My favorite thank you letter read, "YOU are the best ice cream!" ... very sweet!

Making ice cream

February 2011

Anders Nielsen (Assistant Professor, Aarhus Univ. Denmark) joins the group for about 7 months, as part of a project looking at odor control and biotrickling filter. Sarah Liehrjoins the lab to work on a field demonstration and evaluation of anaerobic digestion of hog waste.

I also traveled to Quebec (very cold in February) to give a presentation in French (although French is my first language, it was only my second technical presentation in French...) on recent advances in biological techniques for air pollution control. 

Deshusses' lab alumni news: Ting Zhang, who obtained his PhD from UC Riverside (jointly supervised with Prof. N. Myung) has now settled at Suzhou University on a tenure track position. Eunsung (Bryan) Kan moved back to the US and joined the Biofilm Center in Bozeman, Montana.