z ren


Zhiyong "Jason" Ren

Ph.D,The Pennsylvania State University

Associate Professor

Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering

UCB 607, SEEC S291B

University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309

Phone: (303) 492-4137
Email: Zhiyong.Ren[at]colorado.edu


PLEASE VISIT https://sites.google.com/a/colorado.edu/ren/

for updated website. Thanks!


Dr. Ren directs the Bioenergy and Bioresource Reccovery Lab in Environmental Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder. His research focuses on energy and resource recovery during waste treatment processes, with the goal of expanding environmental engineering from pollution clean-up to sustainable development of energy and environmental systems.

The Ren lab uses microbial and electrochemical systems to directly convert biodegradable materials, such as wastewater, biomass, and MSW into hydrogen gas, electricity, and other value-added commodity chemicals, and they use molecular microbiology tools and electrochemical analyses to understand the fundamental determinant factors of those systems so as to enhance design, operation, and monitoring in concert with traditional approaches.

The Ren lab always welcomes motivated students, postdocs, and visiting scholars to join our energetic team. Please contact Dr. Ren for any questions.


Biofuels, Bioproducts, and Bioenergy Generation from Biomass and Wastewater

- Microbial electrochemical technology (MET) (bioelectrochemical system or MXCs, microbial fuel cell, microbial electrolysis cell, microbial desalination cell, microbial electrosynthesis, etc.)

- Fermentation, anaerobic digestion, and other bioenergy systems for hydrogen, biogas, drop-in fuels, and value-added chemicals production

- Anaerobic membrane bioreactor (AnMBR) and electrochemical membrane bioreactor (EMBR)

 Environmental Biotechnology

- Carbon negative, energy positive wastewater treatment
- Environmental hydrocarbon remediation
- Sustainable water infrastructure
 - Microbial and electrochemical carbon capture, utilization, and storage

 Water Desalination Systems 

- Capacitive deionization and membranes
- Oil and gas flow back water and produced water management
- Seawater and groundwater desalination



  • 8/2015 - Our paper on microbial electrolytic carbon capture received broad interests - see News Release from Science Daily, CU News and more.
  • 7/2015 - Congratulations to Nanda for the new publication in JPS on the first MFC AC power production!
  • 6/2015 - Jason presented 2 papers for Lu at the Yale AEESP conference.
  • 6/2015 - Congratulations to Lu for the new publication in ES&T on microbial electrolytic carbon capture!
  • 5/2015 - Lu and Jason presented at the Battalle Conference in Miami.
  • 5/2015 - Congratulations to Ming for starting her associate professor job at China Petroleum Univesrity!
  • 5/2015 - Prof. Ren received the 2015 CEAE Department Research Development Award.
  • 5/2015 - Congratulations to Lu for the new publication in Bioresource Technology on Plant MFC and Community!
  • 5/2015 - Congratulations to Tyler for the new publication in Bioresource Technology on Biochar catalyst !
  • 4/2015 - Congratulations to Ming for the new review article in Biotechnology Advances (5-yr IF 11.2) on BES Remediation!
  • 3/2015 - Ming's ES&T critical review article was featured on ES&T Frontpage.
  • 3/2015 - Our paper on oil/gas produced water received broad interests - see News Release from CBS News, CCTV, Science Daily, NSF News, Shale Energy...
  • 2/2015 - Prof. Ren is to receive University of Colorado 2015 New Inventor of the Year Award.
  • 2/2015 - Congratulations to Dandan for the new publication in ES:WRT on MCDC membranes!
  • 1/2015 - Congratulations to Ming for the new review article in ES&T on MFC energy harvesting!
  • 1/2015 - Congratulations to Casey that the MCDC produced water article is featured as the Cover Article in the inaugural issue of Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology! [link]
  • 1/2015 - Congratulations to Hadi for the new publication in Bioresource Technology on septic MFC system!
  • 12/2014 - Prof. Bruce Logan's CU Boulder AEESP Distinguished Lecture was a HUGE success!
  • 11/2014 - Congratulations to Ming for the new joint publication with Xu lab at NMSU in Chemosphere on Trace Organic Removal in MFCs!
  • 10/2014 - Congratulations to Alex for the new publication in Bioresource Technology on new Spiral Wound MFCs!
  • 10/2014 - The Ren lab recevied a new grant to develop bioelectrochemical systems for soil and groundwater remediation.
  • 9/2014 - Congratulations to Casey for the new joint publication with Xu lab at NMSU in Journal of Hazardous Materials on produced water treatment and characterization!
  • 9/2014 - Congratulations to our team for winning the 1st place in NSF I-Corps program reivew! The news story is: Water treatment technology shows promise for fracking [link]
  • 9/2014 - Congratulations to Casey for the new publication in Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology on microbial capactive desalination for produced water treatment and energy production! The study is featured by Chemistry World: Energy Positive Treatment for Fracking Water [link]
  • 9/2014 - Congratulations to Casey for the new publication in Bioresource Technology on new percarbonate catholyte for MFCs!
  • 8/2014 - Congratulations to Ming for the joint new publication in Nano Energy (IF 10.2) with Hu lab at UMD on novel 3D natural fiber electrode! The study is featured by Materials Today: Lightweight, conductive hollow fibers from nature as sustainable electrode materials for microbial energy harvesting [link]
  • 8/2014 - Congratulations to Ming for new review publication in Water Reesearch on bioelectrochemical metal recovery!
  • 8/2014 - Welcome new Ph.D Student Fernando Lobo.
  • 8/2014 - Ren lab received a grant to develop a flexbile technology platfrom for hydraulic fracking flow back and produced water treatment and reuse.
  • 7/2014 - Dr. Ren was invited to present at the IWA Urban Water Summit and Chinese Academy of Engineering Conference at Harbin Institute of Technology, China
  • 7/2014 - Dr. Ren was invited to give a seminar at Tsinghua University, China, focusing on understanding the niche applications of microbial electrochemical technology
  • 5/2014 - Congratulations to Alex for winning the 2nd place award on student oral presenation at NA-ISMET!
  • 5/2014 - Alex, Casey, Tyler, and Ming presented at the Penn State NA-ISMET conference.
  • 4/2014 - Congratulations to Louis for receving the prestigious NSF Graduate Fellowship!
  • 3/2014 - Congratulations to Lu Lu for two new publications in ES&T and JHM on the new topic of bioelectrochemical soil hydrocarbon remediation!
  • 1/2014 - Dr. Ren serves as the President of the Chinese-American Professors in Environmental Engineering and Science (CAPEES).
  • 1/2014 - Welcome new group members Zhe (Ph.D) , Louis (M.S.), Liliana (V.S), and Albert (V.S.)
  • 1/2014 - Congratulations to Tyler and Teera for newly published articles in Bioresource Technology and New Biotechnology.
  • 10/2013 - Our review article "A Comprehensive Review of Microbial Electrochemical Systems as a Platform Technology" is now published in Biotechnology Advances (IF 9.65). This is the first comprehensive review that summerized nearly 50 different functions and systems developed so far based on the MET platform .
  • 08/2013 - Openings for new Ph.D research assistants
  • 07/2013 - Casey and Ming presented at the 50th AEESP Conference.
  • 05/2013 - Congratulations to Ming receiving the Graduate School Outstanding Ph.D Dissertation Award and Civil Engineering Department Outstanding Graduate Award!
  • 05/2013 - Congratulations to Ming and Casey in receving your Ph.D degree!
  • 05/2013 - Ming, Casey, Tyler presented their research at RMAWWA/RMWEA conference and ASM conference
  • 03/2013 - Dr. Ren was invited to give a research seminar at Stanford University,
  • 11/2012 - Dr. Ren received the 2012 Excellence in Review Award by the Journal of Environmental Science & Technology (ES&T)