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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.
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)
- 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