Access to clean water can be easy to take for granted, but in areas where environmental or technological pollution have contaminated the groundwater, finding water that is safe to drink can be a difficult, time-consuming task. Shayan Hojabri hopes to help change that for good.
Born in Iran, Hojabri received a B.Sc. in civil engineering at the University of Tehran, followed by an M.Sc. in Environmental Engineering in 2014 and a second M.Sc. in Geoenvironmental Engineering from Northeastern in 2016. At Northeastern, his dual passions for mathematical computation and the environment led to a role with the PROTECT Center, which studies environmental contamination in Puerto Rico, and the effect it has on preterm birth rates.
Under the guidance of Professor A. N. Alshawabkeh, Hojabri’s team focuses on research and development for electrochemical groundwater remediation. Their goal is to reduce costs and infrastructure requirements for this process by developing a self-contained, solar-powered system designed to operate on-site in contaminated areas.
Hojabri’s research with the PROTECT Center focuses on computational simulation of the remediation system, predominantly fluid dynamics. “When you upscale a system from lab conditions to the field, it is hard to know how effective or efficient it will be. That’s where my work comes into play – we know the process works, but we’re working on optimization now.”
Aside from his research, Hojabri has also contributed to two publications with Professor Alshawabkeh and teaches an undergraduate lab on Soil Mechanics. After completing his doctorate in 2020, he hopes to work in the geotechnical remediation industry in order to gain more practical experience in the field, and to better understand the challenges of implementing the sort of systems that he has tested in lab settings.
“In many places, people struggle to find clean water every day. If we can find a way to make peoples’ lives better, then I want to be a part of that.”