[NSF-OIA] RII Track-2 FEC: Center for a Sustainable Water, Energy, and Food Nexus (SusWEF)

Amount: $2,000,000 (first two years)
Duration: 08/2016 – 08/2020
PI: Nelson Cardona-Martinez (University of Puerto Rico at Mayag├╝ez)
Co-PIs: Juan Lopez-Garriga, Maria Curet-Arana, Andreas Heyden, Gabriel Terejanu (share $140,000)


The Center for a Sustainable Water Energy Food Nexus (SusWEF) will result in the formation of a strong, strategic and sustainable research and education partnership between the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez (UPRM) and the University of South Carolina (USC) that will work together in forging a path to finding solutions that are crucial for a global transition to sustainable use of water, energy, and food. Specifically, we will use an integrated approach of synergistic research to study: 1) the use of agricultural waste biomass for the sustainable production of lignin and simple carbohydrates, 2) the use of an integrated set of advanced computational and experimental tools to discover improved catalytic and porous adsorbent materials, 3) the development of selective and efficient catalytic materials and processes for carbohydrates conversion to value-added chemicals including biodegradable polymer building-blocks, 4) the development of advanced separation technologies for water treatment and 5) the use of soil conditioners for improving crop production and water retention.

One thrust will perform bottom-up design of nanostructured catalysts for targeted transformation of biomass waste into value-added chemicals as well as the study of soil amendment using lignin. A second thrust will focus on the development of advanced composites and membranes to remove contaminants of emerging concern from irrigation water. We propose to apply a novel research approach based on tight integration of experimental data and computational models through rigorous data science to elucidate and design novel functional materials at the nanoscale that has the potential to transform the field by fundamentally altering the way materials are discovered, developed, and optimized.


  • K. Abdelfatah, J. Bao, and G. Terejanu, “Geospatial uncertainty modeling using Stacked Gaussian Processes,” Environmental Modelling & Software, vol. 109, pp. 293-305, 2018. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsoft.2018.08.022
    [BibTeX] [Download PDF]
    title = {{Geospatial uncertainty modeling using Stacked Gaussian Processes}},
    journal = {{Environmental Modelling \& Software}},
    volume = "109",
    pages = "293 - 305",
    year = "2018",
    issn = "1364-8152",
    doi = "https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsoft.2018.08.022",
    url = "http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364815218304997",
    author = "Kareem Abdelfatah and Junshu Bao and Gabriel Terejanu",

Team Members @ USC

Gabriel Terejanu : Associate Professor
Gabriel Terejanu
Associate Professor
Computer Science
Andreas Heyden : Professor
Andreas Heyden
Chemical Engineering
Salai Ammal : Research Asst. Prof.
Salai Ammal
Research Asst. Prof.
Chemical Engineering
Jochen Lauterbach : Professor
Jochen Lauterbach
Chemical Engineering

Kareem Abdelfatah : PhD Student
Kareem Abdelfatah
PhD Student
Computer Science
and Engineering
Subrata Kundu : PhD Student
Subrata Kundu
PhD Student
Chemical Engineering