Explore the Nano World 

 Wen's Research Group​

Dec. 2022: Dr. Zhang group received NJIT’s 2022 Technology Innovation Translation and Acceleration (TITA) Program Funding ($75,000) for developing high-efficient inactivation of airborne viruses using a microwave-enabled air filtration system

Wen Zhang

Principal Investigator
Associate Professor

Phone: (973) 596-5520 
Fax: (973) 596-5790
Email: wen.zhang@njit.edu

Office Location: Colton Hall 211

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Jan. 2023: Decoupling Electron- and Phase-Transfer Processes to Enhance Electrochemical Nitrate-to-Ammonia Conversion by Blending Hydrophobic PTFE Nanoparticles within the Electrocatalyst Layer 

Dr. Bo Jiang’s group at Qingdao University of Technology and Dr. Wen Zhang’s group at New Jersey Institute of Technology published a collaborative research article in Chemical Engineering Journal. This study reported an electrochemical technology for upcycling wastewater nitrate into ammonia fertilizer via concurrent electrocatalysis and membrane extraction. Specifically, this study integrated a flow-through electrolysis cell using a bimetallic iron nickel (FeNi) alloy as the cathode catalyst and a separate hollow membrane device for NH3 extraction. This decoupling of the electrochemical nitrate reduction and NH3 stripping was demonstrated to significantly improve the two processes compared to the two coupled processes on the gas-permeable cathode membrane. The effects of operation parameters (e.g., current density) and water matrices (NO3− and Cl− concentrations) on electrochemical NO3− reduction and NH3 recovery were all investigated. Based on the density functional theory (DFT) and scavenging experiments, the activity and mechanisms of electrolytic NO3− reduction to ammonia at the activated FeNi alloy cathode was revealed. Finally, the performance of NO3− removal and NH3 recovery from real wastewater was also assessed to provide new insights into the practical applications. This work is financially supported by the Natural Science Foundation of Shandong Province (Award number: ZR2021MB003, ZR2021QB205) and partially supported by the NSF-BSF Grant (Award number: 2215387) and the INTERN program (Award number: 2016472).


青岛理工大学环境与市政工程学院江波教授课题组与新泽西理工大学土木与环境工程系张文教授课题组于Chemical Engineering Journal发表了合著研究论文。本研究报道了一种通过耦合电催化和膜萃取过程将废水中的硝酸盐升级/同步回收为氨肥的电化学技术。 具体而言,本研究集成了使用双金属铁镍 (FeNi) 合金作为阴极催化剂的流通式电解槽和用于 NH3 提取的外置中空纤维膜装置。 该电化学装置可以实现硝氮升级至氨和氨回收过程的同步,避免了后续单纯氨回收过程的能源浪费。本研究进一步对操作参数(例如电流密度)和水化学(NO3- 和 Cl- 浓度)对电化学 NO3- 还原和 NH3 回收的影响进行了研究。研究表明该电化学装置适用于不同水化学参数的进水条件,并可以通过调节施加的电流密度进一步降低装置能耗。密度泛函理论 (DFT) 和自由基掩蔽实验进一步揭示了在活化的 FeNi 合金阴极上 NO3- 还原至氨的活性和机制。最后,该研究还评估了从实际废水中去除 NO3− 和回收 NH3 的性能表现,以提供电化学装置对实际硝氮废水处理的新见解。






Upcycling wastewater nitrate into ammonia fertilizer via concurrent electrocatalysis and membrane extraction