Sahil Shah

Sahil Shah, an Indian American MIT doctoral candidate and student in the department of mechanical engineering, has received a fellowship from MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel Water and Food Systems Lab for the next academic year. (mit.edu photo)

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and its Abdul Latif Jameel Water and Food Systems Lab, or J-WAFS, has announced the selection of their third cohort of graduate fellows, including doctoral candidate Sahil Shah.

In addition to Shah, a student in the mechanical engineering department, fellow mechanical engineering doctoral student Peter Godart also received a one-semester graduate fellowship as part of J-WAFS’ Rasikbhai L. Meswani Fellowship for Water Solutions and J-WAFS Graduate Student Fellowship Programs.

Shah and Godart were selected for the quality of their research as well as its relevance to current global water challenges, according to a news release.

Each of them demonstrates a long commitment to water issues, both in and outside of an academic setting. Their research projects focus on transforming water access opportunities for people in vulnerable communities where access to fresh water for human consumption or for agriculture can improve human health and livelihoods, MIT said.

From developing a way to use aluminum waste to produce electricity for clean water to making significant improvements to the energy efficiency of desalination systems, these students demonstrate how creativity and ingenuity can push forward transformational water access solutions, it added.

Shah received the 2019-20 Rasikbhai L. Meswani Fellow for Water Solutions. The Indian American grad student spent his childhood in Tanzania, received his undergraduate education in Canada, and worked in Houston as an engineering consultant before being drawn to MIT to pursue his interest in mechanical design and hardware.

As a doctoral student in professor Amos Winter’s lab, he is now working to decrease the cost of desalination and improve access to drinking water in developing countries, his bio notes.

His research focuses on new methods to decrease the cost and energy use of groundwater treatment for drinking water.

Currently, he is exploring the use of electrodialysis, which is a membrane-based desalination process. By improving the design of the control mechanisms for this process, as well as by redesigning the devices to achieve higher desalination efficiency, he seeks to decrease the cost of these systems and their energy use, his bio added.

His solutions will be piloted in both on-grid and off-grid applications in India, supported through a collaboration with consumer goods maker Eureka Forbes and infrastructure company Tata Projects, it said.

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