About Damian

Bio

"Some see nature all ridicule and deformity, and by these I shall not regulate my proportions; and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of a man with imagination nature is imagination itself" –William Blake

I have studied and worked for a number of years in the pursuit and development of sustainable technologies. I believe that biologically inspired technologies will play a key role in the development of future sustainable societies and it is my aim to increase his knowledge and skill in this area.

Current research is allowing me to assess the ability of microorganisms to precipitate and accumulate minerals (including metals) out of solution. Part of this research includes the use of microfluidic devices to better understand the chemical and kinetic interaction between certain bacteria and their inorganic precipitates. This knowledge will be invaluable–as part of continued evidence–for the development of low energetic production technologies and how if employed or mimicked nature has the potential to provide industry with radical production alternatives.

TED Conference

TED2012

I'm passionate about

The thing that always gives me a good feeling is surfing. I have lived on the West coast of Ireland and spent some of my most memorable days and evenings with friends in the Atlantic Sea.

Comments & conversations

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Damian Palin
Posted about 3 years ago
Damian Palin: Mining minerals from seawater
Dear Tify, I must make it clear that I don't necessarily condone massive desalination projects and that conservation and frugality should be on the agenda before production. My work is based on the amount of desalinated water Singapore intends to produce by 2060 and whether we like it or not, this will happen if Singapore realizes its goal. The drive behind my work is environmental protection supported by a necessary economic aspect, there are a number of papers that have shown that reject, concentrated brine damages the receiving water body. I am also curious as to where you are from and whether it is fair for you to dictate what Singapore's water consumption should be in 2060, and I am even more curious as to your countries annual water consumption and indeed what your own consumption is. Be assured that I believe in the power and beauty of Nature and that the processes I am experimenting with are bioinspired and so should integrate harmoniously with natural processes. Damian
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Damian Palin
Posted about 3 years ago
Damian Palin: Mining minerals from seawater
Hi Rik, I was merely pointing out research by Patersen (1994) on the possible commodities that could be removed from seawater brine. My focus and interest currently is Mg precipitation as it may hold the key (for me) to new avenues in material (mineral, concrete, ceramic, metal) production. I will continue to dream, best wishes, Damian.
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Damian Palin
Posted about 3 years ago
Damian Palin: Mining minerals from seawater
I disagree, as the by-product of SWRO is a concentrated salt solution or brine, which is generally dumped back into sea with potentially grave environmental consequences for the receiving marine ecosystem (Einav, Harussi, & Perry, 2003; Fernandez-Torquemada, Sanchez-Lizaso, & Gonzalez-Correa, 2005; Gacia, Invers, Manzanera, Ballesteros, & Romero, 2007). The impact from this practice is set to increase with a growing global trend in volumes of desalinated seawater (Lattemann, Kennedy, Schippers, & Amy, 2010). Standard SWRO has a potable water recovery rate ~50% (e.g. Greenlee, Lawler, Freeman, Marrot, & Moulin, 2009) and if the water source is seawater then the composition of the brine will contain almost all the elements of the periodic table. Studies have been conducted identifying magnesium (Mg) as the most economically attractive commodity in seawater and hence SWRO brine, followed by water (H2O), table salt (NaCl2), calcium chloride (CaCl2) and potassium oxide (K2O) (e.g. Petersen, 1994). The recovery of economically attractive products from SWRO concentrates – which are increasingly difficult to mine from traditional sources – would be an ideal solution and one that would solve the environmental problem posed by the disposal of the concentrate, while indirectly reducing the cost of the desalinated water.
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Damian Palin
Posted about 3 years ago
Damian Palin: Mining minerals from seawater
Hello a lo, how are ya? Thank you so much for the kind words, and right on about bacteria ;) I went for the interview for Delft and was offered a position and so I will be off to Holland for September. I wont be working on a mining process which is sad, but I will still be working with bacteria on the development of self healing materials. Hope to be back to London once I get settled so would great to meet up, hope you are well. D
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Damian Palin
Posted about 3 years ago
Damian Palin: Mining minerals from seawater
Hi Trevor, the bacteria are naturally occurring, however they are native to particular ecological locations, however I must be clear that the bacteria would not be released into the environment and would most probably be housed in bioreactors. As part of the precipitation process the chosen bacteria form carbonate and as such could be a means of locking up carbon, as they do naturally. And for sure as part of a complete process the brine could also be used to produce table salt. Best, Damian