Explore the Nano World 

Mar. 2019:Congratulations to Kaiqin for winning the Third Place in AWWA NJ 84rd Annual Conference!

​​​Mar. 2019: Congratulations to Wanyi  for successfully defending her dissertation!

 Wen's Research Group​

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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Major achievements:

(1) One Ph.D. student (Likun Hua) is currently engaged and trained by this project;

(2) One journal articles published in Bioresource Technology;

(3) One provisional patent disclosure was filed at NJIT;

(4) Two NSF grants (one CBET and one national NSF I-Corps; $210,000 in total from 2015 to 2018);

(5) One NSF I-Corps Site grant;

(6) One NSF INTERN grant ($31,000)

(7) First Place Award in 2018 Student Research Poster Competition of AWWA NJ 83rd Annual Conference

(8) ENVR Graduate Award from Division of Environmental Chemistry of ACS;

(9) URI phase I and II grants;

(10) 3 undergraduate and 2 master students were involved and trained;

(11) One undergraduate student (Marah Magpile) received the ACS Division of Environmental Chemistry 2016 Undergraduate Award; and the other two (Andrea Cano and Maira Valenci) received the 2016 TechQuest First Place Award.

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. At the same time, utilization of biomass-based raw materials (e.g., bacteria, algae, and cellulose) for the production of high value chemicals such as proteins, pharmaceuticals, and biofuels is gaining an increasing interest. Traditional membrane filtration faces major challenges such as polymer aging, membrane fouling, and high costs. Thus, developing sustainable and efficient membrane filtration technologies is not only critical for safe drinking water supply but also important for many chemical processing or refineries such as biomass separation and biofuel production. This project is to develop an innovative and multifunctional reactive electrochemical membrane (REM) that exhibit great antifouling characteristics and strong surface reactivity.  Our research focuses on four aspects: (1) development and testing of a suite of tailored monolithic or nanofibrous REMs in biomass recovery; (2) evaluation of biomass separation efficiency, permeate water treatment, and anti-fouling properties using algae as model organisms; (3) experimental and modeling assessment of membrane fouling and regeneration kinetics and mechanisms; and (4) Ti4O7 reactive electrochemical membrane filtration for recalcitrant pollutants removal and microbial disinfection. The results not only provided fundamental guidelines as to the rational design of REMs with controlled and efficient performance, flexible structure, and durability of operation for algal recovery, but also leads to an avenue for the development of a new generation of reactive membranes that can be applied in other disciplines in addition to algal separation (e.g., food processing, drinking water treatment, and biomolecule purification in pharmaceutical industries).


Electrochemically Reactive Membranes for Efficient Biomass Recovery and Pollutant Degradation