Wen's Research Group
Phone: (973) 596-5520
Fax: (973) 596-5790
Office Location: Colton Hall 211
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Jan. 2021: Congratulations!
Zhang’s group is awarded
$500,000 from NJDEP to work in partnerships with MERI and BRISEA Inc.
Explore the Nano World
Sep. 2020: Congratulations!
Dr. Zhang's group received two EPA Phase I Awards.
Sep. 2020: Congratulations!
Dr. Zhang' received an new NSF Grant.
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.
(1) 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. To tackle this problem, Dr. Zhang and his Ph.D. student, Fangzhou Liu, at NJIT utilizes microwave-enhanced membrane (MWM) filtration 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%.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.
(2) Applying Electromagnetic Induction to Boost Membrane Distillation (MD)
Tackling water scarcity, which currently aﬀects 40% of the global population, is one of the greatest technological challenges of the 21st century. Water desalination technologies, particularly those that treat highly saline or contaminated waters, are energy intensive. Minimizing the energy consumption of desalination processes is especially important given the reciprocal interdependence between energy generation and water production, termed the water-energy nexus.
Under the funding support from the U.S. Department of Interior via the Water Reclamation Bureau, Dr. Zhang’s group is developing localized heating enabled by electromagnetic induction heating at the surface of the feed membrane interface as illustrated to the right. Local surface heating can provide an effective solution to overcome the problems of heat loss during the heat transfer in the feed flow along the membrane. This study will deliver scientific insight into a rational design and manufacturing for smart membranes, supporting seawater desalination via localized heating. Realization of electromagnetic induction interfacial heating for high-efficiency membrane distillation will lay a foundation for the development of a robust and sustainable next generation desalination process.