ZHEN (JASON) HE
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Sustainable wastewater treatment demands maximized resource recovery and minimized resource consumption. Recovery of valuable resources such as energy, nutrient, water, and other value-added products, will help offset resource consumption by wastewater treatment. Bioelectrochemical systems (BES), as an emerging treatment concept, have attracted a great deal of attention in the past decades. BES rely on the interaction between microorganisms and solid electron acceptor/donors to achieve bioelectricity generation (in microbial fuel cells – MFCs), hydrogen production (in microbial electrolysis cells – MECs), desalination (in microbial desalination cells – MDCs), and organic synthesis (in microbial electrosynthesis cells). Nutrients such as ammonia and phosphorous can also be recovered through electricity-driven processes. BES have been greatly advanced in the aspects of microbiology, chemistry, materials, electrochemistry, and reactor design/operation. However, there is still a lack of successful pilot-scale demonstrations. This presentation will provide an overview of historical development of BES, current status of representative BES technologies, and perspectives towards future research and development.
ZHEN (JASON) HE is a Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech. Previously, he was an Assistant Professor at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee from 2009 to 2013, and then an Associate Professor at Virginia Tech from 2013 to 2017. He received a BS from Tongji University, an MS from the Technical University of Denmark, and a Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis, all in Environmental Engineering. He is directing the Environmental Biotechnology & Bioenergy Laboratory with a focus on resource recovery from wastes/wastewater. The ongoing research projects in his lab include bioelectrochemical systems for wastewater treatment, forward osmosis, nutrient removal and recovery, and algal bioreactors. He has published over 160 journal papers, which received more than 8,000 citations according to Google Scholar. He established the Virginia Tech Center for Applied Water Research and Innovations (CAWRI) as an inaugural director. Dr. He is also an Associate Editor for three journals, Science of the Total Environment, Water Environment Research, and Journal of Environmental Engineering, and is on the Editorial Board of the Chemical Engineering Journal. He was the 2017 President for Chinese-American Professors in Environmental Engineering and Science (CAPEES).