Sebastian Engelhardt

Biomimicry Fellow: 2013 - 2017

Ross Environmental Services, Inc.


I am from Karlsruhe, Germany and have an interdisciplinary research background with a bachelor’s degree in bioscience (Technical University of Kaiserslautern, Germany) and a master’s degree in biomimetics in energy systems (Carinthia University of Applied Sciences, Austria). For my master's thesis I worked on textile-based solar thermal collector systems that were inspired by the heat harvesting mechanisms of polar bear fur (ITV Denkendorf, Germany). Since 2013 I am pursuing my PhD degree at the University of Akron where I worked on industrial research projects for my former corporate sponsor Ross Environmental Services, Inc. for the past years. Among others, I investigated bio-inspired strategies for industrial waste water desalination and purification, approaches for carbon dioxide capture from a flue gas stream and the potential of waste heat recovery for energy reuse in secondary processes. My current research focuses on water filtration and purification using aquaporin-based membranes in forward osmosis. More specifically, I am trying to recover water from urine using a light-weight and portable forward osmosis system that can for example be used on space stations or during long duration explorations of remote environments such as pristine caves. My research is funded by the Carlsbad Caverns National Park and the US National Park Services.