It’s Electric

Kyoung-Shin Choi’s approach to science is both simple and straightforward. When she sees an environmental problem, she just wants to fix it. Even when it’s not in her direct field of expertise.

The professor of chemistry, who was just inducted into the American Association for the Advancement of Science this year, is uniquely positioned to make good on that drive to improve. Choi’s specialty is electrochemistry, a scientific technique that uses electricity generated from sustainable sources to power chemical reactions.

Choi began her work with producing clean fuels (hydrogen) and chemicals using renewable sources like sunlight, water and biomass (plant and wood waste). She turned her attention to water in 2015, and in just a few short years has developed groundbreaking methods for desalinating seawater — potentially providing an important source of freshwater for areas of the world that desperately need it — and reducing the chloride levels in wastewater discharge.

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