Emerging Contaminants Summit

Spring 2020

zhangWen Zhang
Associate Professor
New Jersey Institute of Technology

Wen Zhang is currently the tenured associate professor of NJIT’s Newark College of Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Wen is a licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.) registered in the States of New Jersey and Delaware. He is an American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AAEES) Board Certified Environmental Engineer (BCEE). Wen received his B.S from Tsinghua University in 2004, M.S. from Tongji University in 2007, and Ph.D. from Georgia Institute of Technology in 2011. Wen has been leading major efforts in the visible light-driven photocatalytic processes for harnessing solar energy, hydrogen evolution, and efficient degradation of emerging water contaminants. Moreover, he develops novel multifunctional nanomaterials for antimicrobial applications, microalgae harvesting for biofuel production, and reactive membrane systems. He develops chemically modified polymeric and ceramic membranes for efficient and antifouling filtration systems for emerging contaminant removal.



Enhanced Catalytic Degradation of Unregulated Organic Micropollutants via Heterogeneous Photo-Fenton Reactions

This presentation will demonstrate goethite (α-FeOOH) and other novel hybrid nanostructured composite catalysts that are shown to overcome the limitations in traditional Fenton reactions (e.g., high doses of Fe2+/Fe3+ and low working pH). Our target contaminants in previous work include PFOA and PFOS (also known as perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, respectively), industrial dyes, pharmaceutical compounds such as diclofenac, sulfamethoxazole, and bisphenol A (BPA) due to their environmental occurrence and recalcitrant natures against degradation. 



Multifunctional Reactive Electrochemical Membranes (REM) for Emerging Contaminant Removal

Micropollution in natural waters such as rivers and groundwater aquifers is a widespread problem that prevents these potentially potable sources from being used as drinking water. In the United States, approximately two-thirds of the over 1,200 most serious hazardous waste sites in the nation are contaminated with trichloroethylene (TCE), a potentially carcinogenic compound. Other emerging and environmentally persistent organic micropollutants include polyromantic hydrocarbons (PAHs), organophosphate flame retardants, endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs), pesticides, herbicides, pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs). Membrane filtration is one of the most efficient separation processes widely used for water treatment and pollutant removal. However, traditional membrane separations suffer from membrane fouling due to either the formation of a cake layer of biomass or more commonly due to organic matter adsorption onto the membrane surface. Moreover, some trace level organic micropollutants are not effectively removed particularly in microfiltration processes, where pore sizes are not small enough to capture small molecular weight organics. This talk will demonstrate an innovative and multifunctional reactive electrochemical membrane (REM) that acts as both a filter and a reactive anode. REM filtration will have significant mitigation of membrane surface and efficient degradation of water contaminant fouling through electrochemical oxidation powered by anodic polarization under a DC current. This presentation will demonstrate:

  1. the use of the Ti4O7 REM to separate and oxidize algal cells in aqueous suspension with evidence of algal cell damage and removal;
  2. Evaluation of the performance of REMs for the removal of antibiotic compound (sulfamethoxazole) and 1,4-dioxane;
  3. fouling mitigation and development of antifouling strategies via DC current applications and anode/cathode switch;
  4. Radical formation mechanisms under DC currents in the REM filtration system.

Overall, this project aims to demonstrate next generation reactive membrane filtration systems with high pollutant rejection or removal efficiencies toward water contaminants on electrochemical oxidation reactions on REM surfaces.

Program Agenda  Scientific Advisory Board  Keynotes and Session Chairs  Platform Presenters  Poster Presenters