Explore the Nano World 

 Wen's Research Group​

Wen Zhang, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE

Principal Investigator

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

Office Location: Colton Hall 211

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This MWM filtration system will provide a unique solution to limitations for industrial wastewater treatment of refractory PFOA and deliver insightful information for a future industrialization and rationale design of microwave-assisted membrane filtration systems. This study was supported by an EPA SBIR Phase I grant (Federal Contract #: 68HERD19C0014) in 2019 and now under funding support from the U.S. Department of Interior to further study the stability of filtration and pollutant degradation performances.

Dr. Zhang’s research group was recently awarded two grants from the U.S. Department of Interior to support our study of microwave-catalytic membrane for water treatment and electromagnetic induction heating for membrane distillation.

Microwave-enhanced Membrane Filtration for PFOA Degradation

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is extremely resistant to natural weathering and degradation processes such as hydrolysis, photolysis, and microbial degradation. Membrane filtration is an efficient and widely used chemical separation and water purification technology. Yet, the membrane technology suffers from membrane fouling and inadequate removal of dissolved organic matters such as PFOA.

To tackle this problem, Dr. Zhang and his master student, Fangzhou Liu, at NJIT and a master student, Chen Chen, at Qingdao Tech in China utilized microwave-enhanced membrane (MWM) filtration and photocatalytic reduction reactions to facilitate the degradation of refractory PFOA. Microwave-absorbing catalyst coated on the ceramic membrane produces hydroxyl radicals that enhance the oxidative degradation of PFOA. MW irradiation is selectively absorbed by catalysts and hydrogen peroxide to produce ‘‘hotpots” on membrane surface that promoted the generation of nanobubbles, which prevents membrane fouling and leads to a PFOA degradation rate as high as 76%.