Addressing Water and Energy Challenges with Reactive Transport Modeling

Hang Deng, Alexis Navarre-Sitchler, Elanor Heil, Catherine Peters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Addressing society's water and energy challenges requires sustainable use of Earth's critical zones and subsurface environment, as well as appropriate design and application of porous materials for resilient infrastructure and membranes for water treatment/recovery. Reactive transport models (RTMs) provide a powerful tool for environmental engineering and science professionals to investigate the complex interplay between biogeochemical reactions, flow, transport, and heat exchange, which control the dynamic behaviors of these systems. RTMs are, thus, able to inform engineering design and policy making for sustainable use of Earth's critical zones and subsurface environment. This special issue on "Addressing Society's Water and Energy Challenges with Reactive Transport Modeling"provides a few examples that illustrate the diverse application of RTMs in informing practices, including resource recovery, subsurface energy extraction, and carbon mitigation. In this article, we present a brief overview of the development of the research field of reactive transport modeling and its growing applications in environmental engineering and science in the past three decades. We also provide perspective on the frontiers of reactive transport modeling research and emergent application areas that are critical for addressing water and energy challenges our society faces. Example application areas include groundwater quality management, mine waste pollution management, safe nuclear waste disposal, reliable geological carbon storage, climate-water interactions, materials for resilient infrastructure, recovery and valorization of critical materials, groundwater resource management for drought mitigation, negative carbon emissions, and subsurface renewable energy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-114
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Engineering Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


  • energy
  • reactive transport model
  • water


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