Anthony Straub

Anthony Straub's picture

Ph.D. Candidate, Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Yale University

M.Phil. Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Yale University, 2015

M.S. Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Yale University, 2014

B.S. Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 2012

Download CV      Google Scholar Citations

Anthony (Tony) Straub is a doctoral candidate advised by Menachem Elimelech and a recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.  His thesis research focuses on the development of membrane-based technologies to harvest energy from salinity gradients and low-grade heat.  He is broadly interested in desalination, advanced water treatment, and sustainable energy harvesting.

Currently, Tony’s research focuses on developing a new membrane-based technology to harvest energy from low-grade heat sources.  Low-temperature waste heat energy represents a massive untapped resource that can potentially power tens of millions of homes in the US alone.  By using the energy available from small temperature differences to create a pressurized fluid flow, Tony and other researchers at Yale demonstrated a new power generation process: thermo-osmotic energy conversion.  Initial performance results from the process, recently published in Nature Energy, showed a promising efficiency and power output.  Tony is currently fabricating hydrophobic nanoporous membranes tailored for the process and conducting system modeling to understand the overall performance of the system.

Tony has also conducted research on pressure-retarded osmosis (PRO), a process that produces electric power by harnessing the energy released when a low-salinity solution mixes with a higher salinity solution. Tony experimentally demonstrated unprecedented power output in PRO using hypersaline brines and has also conducted modeling studies to identify the amount of energy practically extractable from various salinity gradient sources.  Currently, he is investigating fundamental changes to water and ion transport that occur when using high salinity streams for PRO.

While completing his undergraduate degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Tony conducted research on a variety of topics ranging from solar disinfection to slow sand filtration and worked on international development projects, traveling to Guatemala, Cameroon, and Kenya.  Tony also spent two summers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel as a research intern working on the development of low-fouling ultrafiltration membranes.



pdfs and supporting information for group publications available on the main publications page.

  1. Straub, A.P., Yip, N.Y., Lin, S., Lee, J., & Elimelech, M. “Harvesting low-grade heat energy using thermo-osmotic vapour transport through nanoporous membranes.” Nature Energy, Volume 1. June 2016. Article Number: 16090. DOI:10.1038/nenergy.2016.90
    This publication was covered in several articles:
    Nature | Research Highlight: “Energy: Nanopores Harvest Wasted Heat.” Nature 534, 592 (2016). DOI: 10.1038/534592d
    Nature Energy | News and Views: Phillip, W.A. “Thermal Energy Conversion: Under Pressure.” Nature Energy 1, Article Number: 16101 (2016). DOI: 10.1038/nenergy.2016.101
    YaleNews, AIChE ChEnected, SciTechDaily, TechXplore, Wissenschaft Aktuell, and several more 
  2. Matthew, L.E., Piedra, L.M., Wu, C.F, Kramer-Díaz, A., Wang, H., Straub, A.P., Nguyen, T.H. “Social work and engineering: Lessons from a water filtration project in Guatemala” International Social Work, Volume 4. July 2016. Article Number: 655869. DOI10.1177/0020872816655869
  3. Straub, A.P., Deshmukh, A., & Elimelech, M. “Pressure-retarded osmosis for power generation from salinity gradients: is it viable?” Energy & Environmental Science, Volume 9. January 2016. pages 31-48.  DOI: 10.1039/C5EE02985F
  4. Bar-Zeev, E., Perreault, F., Straub, A.P., & Elimelech, M. “Impaired Performance of Pressure-Retarded Osmosis due to Irreversible Biofouling.” Environmental Science & Technology, Volume 49. November 2015. pages 13050-13058.  DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.5b03523
  5. Straub, A.P., Osuji, C.O., Cath, T.Y., & Elimelech, M. “Selectivity and Mass Transfer Limitations in Pressure-Retarded Osmosis at High Concentrations and Increased Operating Pressures.” Environmental Science & Technology, Volume 49. October 2015. pages 12551-12559.  DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.5b01317
  6. Straub, A.P., Lin, S., and Elimelech, M. “Module-Scale Analysis of Pressure Retarded Osmosis: Performance Limitations and Implications for Full-Scale Operation.” Environmental Science & Technology, Volume 48. October 2014. pages 12435-12444.  DOI: 10.1021/es503790k
  7. Lin, S., Straub, A.P., Elimelech, M. “Thermodynamic Limits of Extractable Energy by Pressure Retarded Osmosis.” Energy & Environmental Science. Volume 7, August 2014, pages 2706-2714.  DOI: 10.1039/C4EE01020E 
    Press: GWI Water Desalination Report, 21 July 2014, Volume 50, Issue 27
  8. Wang, H., Narihiro, T., Straub, A.P., Pugh, C.R., Tamaki, H., Moor, J.F., Bradley, I.M., Kamagata, Y., Liu, W.T., Nguyen, T.H. “MS2 Bacteriophage Reduction and Microbial Communities in Biosand Filters.” Environmental Science & Technology, Volume 28, June 2014, pages 6702–9.
  9. Straub, A.P., Yip, N.Y., and Elimelech, M. “Raising the Bar: Increased Hydraulic Pressure Allows Unprecedented High Power Densities in Pressure-Retarded Osmosis.” Environmental Science & Technology Letters, Volume 1, November 2013, pages 55-59.  DOI: 10.1021/ez400117d
    Press: ACS Chemical & Engineering News, 26 November 2013
  10. Tiraferri, A., Yip, N.Y., Straub, A.P., Romero-Vargas Castrillon, S., and Elimelech, M. “A Method for the Simultaneous Determination of Transport and Structural Parameters of Forward Osmosis Membranes.” Journal of Membrane Science, Volume 444, October 2013, pages 523–538.  DOI: 10.1016/j.memsci.2013.05.023
  11. Bradley, I., Straub, A.P., Maraccini, P., Markazi, S., & Nguyen, T. H. “Iron oxide amended biosand filters for virus removal.” Water Research, Volume 45, 2011, pages 4501-10.
  12. Romero, O.C., Straub, A.P., Kohn, T., Nguyen, T.H. “Role of Temperature and Suwannee River Natural Organic Matter on Inactivation Kinetics of Rotavirus and Bacteriophage MS2 by Solar Irradiation.” Environmental Science and Technology, Volume 45, 2011, pages 10385-10393.