Professor Vaibhav Bahadur, renowned for his pioneering work in thermal-fluid sciences and materials, unveils groundbreaking research at the intersection of energy, water, hydrogen production and environmental protection.

As an Associate Professor and Carl J. Eckhardt Fellow in Mechanical Engineering at UT Austin, Prof. Bahadur leads a dynamic research group dedicated to advancing sustainable solutions for energy, water and environmental challenges.

His latest study, featured in the journal Desalination, presents a revolutionary approach to utilize excess natural gas, currently flared or vented, for treating oilfield-produced water. By employing reverse osmosis (RO) technology, Prof. Bahadur's team shows that it is possible to treat oilfield water to generate ultrapure water with minimal dissolved solids in the water. Such high-quality water can be used to produce green hydrogen via electrolytic splitting of water.

Combining multiple analytical models and techniques, this research establishes the theoretical upper limit of RO system recovery, akin to the Carnot efficiency of heat engines. Analyzing various scenarios, including the Niobrara Shale field and different water sources, the study demonstrates the potential to produce electrolysis-grade water at high recovery rates, facilitating substantial hydrogen production.

"With this innovative approach, we aim to harness resources that are considered waste and are responsible for critical environmental challenges" Prof. Bahadur stated. "Our research not only offers a sustainable pathway for green hydrogen production but also underscores the importance of an interdisciplinary mindset in addressing pressing energy-water-environment needs." Alongwith Prof. Bahadur, PhD student Shanthanu Katakam was instrumental in this study; he is working on various aspects of green hydrogen production for his PhD.

Prof. Bahadur's prolific career spans academia and industry, marked by numerous accolades including the NSF CAREER Award, the Google Faculty Research Award, and recognition from prestigious organizations like ASME, SPE and ACS. His research, featured prominently in leading scientific publications and international media, continues to drive innovation in energy and environmental engineering.

This groundbreaking research not only showcases Prof. Bahadur's commitment to advancing sustainable energy solutions but also underscores UT Austin's leadership in pioneering research with real-world impact.

For more information about Prof. Vaibhav Bahadur's research and publications, visit