Casey Finnerty

Casey Finnerty's picture

Ph.D., Environmental Engineering, University of California - Berkeley, 2022

M.S., Environmental Engineering, University of California - Berkeley, 2016

B.S., Chemical Engineering, University of California - Berkeley, 2013

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Casey Finnerty joined the Elimelech research group as a postdoctoral associate in August 2022. His research focuses on developing decision-making tools for desalination and brine management. As a NEWT Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow, Casey will be exploring opportunities in the emerging field of municipal wastewater reuse concentrate (MWRC) and developing decision-making tools to guide research priorities and support practitioners. Additionally, Casey will continue to research decentralized water technologies, expanding into the field of atmospheric water harvesting.

Prior to his arrival at Yale, Casey was proud to be a Golden Bear at the University of California, Berkeley. After receiving his B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 2013, Casey worked as a technical service engineering for the membrane manufacturing company, TriSep Corporation (now MANN+HUMMEL), for two years. Fascinated by desalination technologies, Casey returned to UC Berkeley in 2015 to pursue his M.S. and Ph.D. in environmental engineering. Working with Professor Baoxia Mi, Casey studied interfacial solar vapor generation (ISVG)—the phenomenon of porous, nano-enabled materials to efficiently vaporize water when exposed to sunlight. Through this work, Casey synthesized and characterized ISVG materials, evaluated the evaporative performance of these materials to understand underlying heat and mass transfer mechanisms responsible for ISVG, and modeled how environmental factors impact ISVG performance. Taking this research beyond the lab, Casey led a collaboration with a partner in Indonesia to assess the feasibility of developing ISVG into a sustainable desalination technology to address context-specific barriers to water access for small-island communities.
Outside of work, Casey enjoys running, hiking, traveling, playing soccer, and pretty much anything to do with the beach. Casey has lived in California his whole life, and so he is also learning how to deal with seasons.


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

  1. Zang, L., Finnerty, C., Yang, Z., Ma, J., Mi, B., & Sun, L. (2022). An Electrospun Transporter-assisted Evaporator with Antifouling Water Channels for Solar-driven Desalination and Water Purification, Journal of the Taiwan Institute of Chemical Engineers. DOI: 10.1016/j.jtice.2022.104493
  2. Finnerty, C. T. K., Menon, A. K., Conway, K. M., Lee, D., Nelson, M., Urban, J. J., … & Mi, B. (2021). Interfacial Solar Evaporation by a 3D Graphene Oxide Stalk for Highly Concentrated Brine Treatment. Environmental Science & Technology. DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.1c04010
  3. Zang, L., Sun, L., Zhang, S., Finnerty, C., Kim, A., Ma, J., & Mi, B. (2021). Nanofibrous hydrogel-reduced graphene oxide membranes for effective solar-driven interfacial evaporation and desalination. Chemical Engineering Journal, 422, 129998. DOI: 10.1016/j.cej.2021.129998
  4. Zang, L., Finnerty, C., Zheng, S., Conway, K., Sun, L., Ma, J., & Mi, B. (2021). Interfacial solar vapor generation for desalination and brine treatment: Evaluating current strategies of solving scaling. Water Research, 117135. DOI: 10.1016/j.watres.2021.117135
  5. Mi, B., Finnerty, C., & Conway, K. (2019). Prospects of artificial tree for solar desalination. Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering, 25, 18-25. DOI: 10.1016/j.coche.2019.06.004
  6. Oh, Y., Armstrong, D. L., Finnerty, C., Zheng, S., Hu, M., Torrents, A., & Mi, B. (2017). Understanding the pH-responsive behavior of graphene oxide membrane in removing ions and organic micropollulants. Journal of Membrane Science, 541, 235-243. DOI: 10.1016/j.memsci.2017.07.005
  7. Finnerty, C., Zhang, L., Sedlak, D. L., Nelson, K. L., & Mi, B. (2017). Synthetic graphene oxide leaf for solar desalination with zero liquid discharge. Environmental science & technology, 51(20), 11701-11709. DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.7b03040
  8. Kang, Y., Zheng, S., Finnerty, C., Lee, M. J., & Mi, B. (2017). Regenerable polyelectrolyte membrane for ultimate fouling control in forward osmosis. Environmental science & technology, 51(6), 3242-3249. DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b05665