Han Gang
Nankai University, China

Biography: Dr. Gang Han is a professor in the College of Environmental Science and Engineering of Nankai University, China. His research focuses on the molecular-level design, synthesis, and characterization of multi-scale pore/channel materials and engineering advanced devices for applications in molecular separations and environmental sustainability. Those efforts are promising for membrane- and adsorption-based separations for energy, resource, and water remediation. Prof. Han is a co-author of over 40 peer-reviewed journal articles with a Google Scholar h index of 33 and has been recognized with several awards, including the NAMS Student Fellowship and the Singapore Young Chemical Engineer of the Year Award presented by the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE). He was also selected as the 100 Young Academic Leader Program of Nankai University and the National Talents Program for Distinguished Young Scholars. Prof. Han earned his bachelor’s degree in applied chemistry from the Dalian University of Technology and his PhD in chemical engineering from the National University of Singapore (NUS) under the supervision of Prof. Tai-Shung Chung Neal. While at NUS, he developed structure-property relationships for water permeation through polymeric membranes driven by the osmotic pressure gradient. His postdoctoral training in Prof. Zachary Smith’s lab at MIT examined the design of metal-organic frameworks for selective membrane and adsorption-based separations.

Speech title "Controlling Interfacial Compatability to Enhance Selectivity of Thin-film Nanocomposite (TFN) Membranes for Water Separation"

Abstract-Efficient discrimination of ions and small neutral contaminants remains a challenge for polyamide thin-film nanocomposite (TFN) membranes due to the presence of interfacial defects and particle-agglomeration-induced nonselective voids in the polyamide thin film. In this work, we developed a generalizable method to control interfacial defects and particle agglomeration in polyamide TFN membranes. By manipulating the chemistry and nanoscale structures of the sub-40 nm MIL-101(Cr)-NH2 MOF filler particles at the filler–polyamide interface, high-performance TFN desalination membranes with high filler loadings and molecular level size-exclusion selectivity were successfully fabricated. The TFN membranes display a water permeance of 1.3 L m–2 h–1 bar–1, which is five times higher than that of the Dow SW30XLE commercial benchmark, and excellent NaCl, MgCl2, Na2SO4, and MgSO4 rejections of 98.5–99.6% at 150 psi. Compared to the TFC control, the incorporation of the MOF fillers yields a 53% and a 24.5% increase in water permeance and NaCl rejection, respectively. The TFN membranes also show excelled rejections to small neutral contaminants such as PEG200 (i.e., 99.2%) and boric acid (i.e., 89.0%) at a pH value of 7.5 at 150 psi, which is 6.0% and 30.9% higher than that obtained by the SW30XLE benchmark under the same conditions. The TFN membranes also showed outstanding long-term performance stability, which further demonstrates their potential for water purification applications. Our results provide a new and effective method to tailor interfacial defects and phase compatibility in inorganic-organic composite materials.




Chaolei Yuan
Sun Yat-sen University, China

Biography: Dr. Chaolei Yuan is an associate professor at the School of Agriculture, Sun Yat-sen University, China. His research field is soil biogeochemistry and soil microbial ecology, with special interests in the behavior of toxic metals in soil and the chemical and microbial mechanisms involved. Dr. Yuan earned his bachelor’s degree in ecology from China Agricultural University, master’s degree in environmental science from the Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, and PhD’s degree in soil science from the University of Adelaide, Australia. Before he joined Sun Yat-sen University, he was a post-doc at the Institute of Eco-environmental and Soil Sciences, Guangdong Academy of Sciences and then an associate professor at Nankai University.

Speech title "Effects of Organic Matter, Sulfate, and Iron Oxide on Mobility of Cadmium and Arsenic in Paddy Soil under Alternate Watering Conditions"

Abstract-The remediation of paddy soil contaminated by cadmium (Cd) and arsenic (As) has been extensively studied, but previous studies often use soils with unrealistically high concentrations of contaminants. We amended a paddy soil containing realistically low concentrations of Cd and As with rice straw, gypsum, and hematite. Compared to the control, rice straw significantly decreased soil Cd solubility after flooding and drying, while gypsum and hematite were less effective. The impact of rice straw on soil As mobility was highly time-dependent: rice straw promoted As reduction and release in the first four weeks of flooding, but not the last four weeks of flooding, and then increased soil As mobility after five weeks of drying. Added gypsum and hematite reduced As mobility by 8–60% during the wet and dry periods. The results suggest that straw return has the potential to effectively remediate paddy soils contaminated by a low concentration of Cd (< 1 mg kg-1), and extra amendments may be not needed. However, for As-contaminated paddy soil, straw return must be accompanied by continuous flooding to avoid As mobilization. Gypsum and hematite may be useful for As immobilization in paddy soil, but negatived effects of gypsum and hematite on soil bacterial abundance and diversity were observed, which may need to be considered before application.





Qian Zhang
University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, USA

Biography: Dr. Qian Zhang is an Assistant Research Scientist with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Chesapeake Bay Program. His research focuses on better understanding natural and anthropogenic drivers of the observed current status and long-term trends in the water quality of Chesapeake Bay and its watershed, which is critical to defining the success of Chesapeake Bay and watershed restoration efforts to date and to making science-based management decisions in the foreseeable future. Dr. Zhang earned his Ph.D. degree in Environmental Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University (JHU), USA. He also received two master of science degrees from the JHU, one in Environmental Engineering and the other in Statistics. He has published 26 peer-reviewed journal articles in leading journals including Water Research, Environmental Science & Technology, Water Resources Research, and Environmental Research Letters.

Speech title "Progress in reducing nutrient and sediment loads to Chesapeake Bay: Three decades of monitoring data and implications for restoring complex ecosystems"

Abstract-For over three decades, Chesapeake Bay (USA) has been the focal point of a coordinated restoration strategy implemented through a partnership of governmental and nongovernmental entities, which has been a classical model for coastal restoration worldwide. The main objective of this review is to provide resource managers and estuarine scientists with a clearer perspective of the magnitude of changes in water quality within the Bay watershed over this period of restoration, including nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and sediment for the River Input Monitoring (RIM) watershed and the unmonitored below-RIM watershed. N load from the RIM watershed has declined in the period of 1985-2017, but P and sediment lacked progress. Reductions of N are largely driven by point sources and atmospheric deposition. Future reductions will require significant progress in managing agricultural nonpoint sources. The below-RIM watershed comprises a disproportionately high fraction of nutrient and sediment inputs to the Bay. Encouragingly, the below-RIM watershed showed long-term declines in major sources, including point sources (N and P), atmospheric deposition (N), manure (N and P) and fertilizer (P). To date, the Bay cleanup efforts have achieved some progress in terms of reducing nutrients from the watershed and improving water quality in the estuary. However, further reductions are critical to achieve the Total Maximum Daily Load goals, and emerging challenges due to Conowingo Reservoir, legacy nutrients, climate change, and population growth should be considered by the Partnership. Continued monitoring, modeling, and assessment are critically important for informing the restoration of Chesapeake Bay and other complex ecosystems.


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