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Methods Collections

Emulsions for Sustainable Applications

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Methods Collections
Emulsions for Sustainable Applications

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Erica Pensini

University of Guelph, School of Engineering

Dr. Erica Pensini received her Bachelor’s and MASC at the Politecnico di Milano (Italy). She worked in the…

Collection Overview

This methods collection focuses on the applications of various methods aimed at stabilizing or separating emulsions concentrated on decreasing the environmental footprint of human activities. Examples are technologies that enable the sustainable use and reuse of water resources and develop products that aim to minimize water consumption and greenhouse gases.

Depending on the application, it is desirable to have stable emulsions or emulsions with tunable stability, or else the goal is to achieve effective emulsion separation. Achieving these goals often remains an open challenge.

For instance, emulsion separation is required for wastewater purification. On the other hand, aquifers can be treated by emulsifying hydrocarbon spills in aquifers to facilitate pollutant extraction. Bacteria that degrade organic pollutants naturally produce surfactants, which emulsify them and render them more biodegradable. Vegan food alternatives with lower environmental impacts than their non-vegan counterparts include vegan milk, cheese, and meat. These products are formulated as emulsions of fat in water-rich matrices. In industrial processes, water is often used to cool hot streams. Applying cracking steam leads to stable emulsions, which need to be separated to enable reusing water in closed-loop cycles. Encapsulation and emulsification of nutraceuticals foster human health, possibly limiting the need for pharmaceuticals.

These applications are merely examples, and we welcome submissions from diverse disciplines. Our focus is on various methods or techniques aimed at stabilizing or separating emulsions to promote sustainability. This collection does not focus on studies that use emulsions to develop products or pursue applications incompatible with the sustainable use of natural resources.

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