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Li Y.,Nanyang Technological University | Zhu G.,CAS Research Center for Eco Environmental Sciences | Ng W.J.,Nanyang Technological University | Ng W.J.,Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute | Tan S.K.,Nanyang Technological University
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2014

This paper presents a comprehensive review of the current state of research activities on the application of constructed wetlands for removing pharmaceutical contaminants from wastewater. The focus of the review was placed on the application of constructed wetlands as an alternative secondary wastewater treatment system or as a wastewater polishing treatment system. The design parameters of the reported constructed wetlands including the physical configuration, hydraulic mode, vegetation species, and targeting pharmaceuticals were summarized. The removal efficiencies of pharmaceuticals under different conditions in the wetlands were evaluated at the macroscopic level. In addition, the importance of the three main components of constructed wetlands (substrate, plants and microbes) for pharmaceutical removal was analyzed to elucidate the possible removal mechanisms involved. There is a general consensus among many researchers that constructed wetlands hold great potential of being used as an alternative secondary wastewater treatment system or as a wastewater polishing treatment system for the removal of pharmaceuticals, but relevant reported studies are scarce and are not conclusive in their findings. Current knowledge is limited on the removal efficiencies of pharmaceuticals in constructed wetlands, the removal mechanisms involved, the toxicity to constructed wetlands caused by pharmaceuticals, and the influences of certain important parameters (configuration design, hydraulic mode, temperature and seasonality, pH, oxygen and redox potential, etc.). This review promotes further research on these issues to provide more and better convincing evidences for the function and performance of larger laboratory-scale, pilot-scale or full-scale constructed wetlands. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. Source

Gao P.,Nanyang Technological University | Liu J.,Nanyang Technological University | Sun D.D.,Nanyang Technological University | Ng W.,Nanyang Technological University | Ng W.,Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute
Journal of Hazardous Materials | Year: 2013

Graphene oxide (GO)-CdS composites were synthesized via a novel two-phase mixing method successfully. CdS nanoparticles were uniformly self-assembled on GO sheets at water/toluene interface. The photocatalytic degradation (photodegradation) and disinfection activities of GO-CdS composites were investigated thoroughly. The results show that GO-CdS composites exhibit higher efficiency in photodegradation of various water pollutants than pure CdS nanoparticles under visible light irradiation. In addition, the interactions between GO sheets and CdS nanoparticles inhibit the photo-corrosion of CdS and leaching of Cd2+. Only 3.5wt% Cd2+ of GO-CdS was leached out after photodegradation, while 38.6wt% Cd2+ of CdS was lost into aqueous solution. Furthermore, the disinfection activity of GO-CdS composites was investigated for the first time. Nearly 100% of both Gram-negative Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Gram-positive Bacillus subtilis (B. subtilis) were killed within 25min under visible light irradiation. The excellent performances of GO-CdS composites can be attributed to that (1) effective charge transfer from CdS to GO reduces the recombination rate of photo-generated electron-hole pairs; (2) uniform deposition of CdS on GO sheets eliminates aggregation of CdS nanoparticles; and (3) the strong interactions between GO and CdS enhancing the durability of GO-CdS composites. Finally, the mechanism behind these excellent performances was verified by transient photocurrent measurement and further confirmed by ESR technique as well as employing a radical scavenging species - dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO). © 2013. Source

Wang H.,Nanyang Technological University | Xie M.,Nanyang Technological University | Thia L.,Nanyang Technological University | Thia L.,Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters | Year: 2014

Substitutional nitrogen doping in graphene has been a very powerful tool to tailor the pristine property of graphene and furthermore extend its application. While nitrogen-doped graphene (N-graphene) has shown many potential applications in catalysis, electronics, sensors and so on, there is still a lack of accurate control of substitutional nitrogen doping, and higher performance toward various applications is always needed. This Perspective summarizes the ongoing developments toward better control of nitrogen doping. Moreover, two recent strategies aiming to promote the activity of N-graphene are also discussed. © 2013 American Chemical Society. Source

Chen J.L.,Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute | Ortiz R.,Nanyang Technological University | Steele T.W.J.,Nanyang Technological University | Stuckey D.C.,Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute | Stuckey D.C.,Imperial College London
Biotechnology Advances | Year: 2014

Anaerobic digestion is increasingly being used to treat wastes from many sources because of its manifold advantages over aerobic treatment, e.g. low sludge production and low energy requirements. However, anaerobic digestion is sensitive to toxicants, and a wide range of compounds can inhibit the process and cause upset or failure. Substantial research has been carried out over the years to identify specific inhibitors/toxicants, and their mechanism of toxicity in anaerobic digestion. In this review we present a detailed and critical summary of research on the inhibition of anaerobic processes by specific organic toxicants (e.g., chlorophenols, halogenated aliphatics and long chain fatty acids), inorganic toxicants (e.g., ammonia, sulfide and heavy metals) and in particular, nanomaterials, focusing on the mechanism of their inhibition/toxicity. A better understanding of the fundamental mechanisms behind inhibition/toxicity will enhance the wider application of anaerobic digestion. © 2014 Elsevier Inc. Source

He C.,Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute | He C.,Nanyang Technological University | Giannis A.,Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute | Wang J.-Y.,Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute | Wang J.-Y.,Nanyang Technological University
Applied Energy | Year: 2013

Conventional thermochemical treatment of sewage sludge (SS) is energy-intensive due to its high moisture content. To overcome this drawback, the hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) process was used to convert SS into clean solid fuel without prior drying. Different carbonization times were applied in order to produce hydrochars possessing better fuel properties. After the carbonization process, fuel characteristics and combustion behaviors of hydrochars were evaluated. Elemental analysis showed that 88% of carbon was recovered while 60% of nitrogen and sulfur was removed. Due to dehydration and decarboxylation reactions, hydrogen/carbon and oxygen/carbon atomic ratios reduced to 1.53 and 0.39, respectively. It was found that the fuel ratio increased to 0.18 by prolonging the carbonization process. Besides, longer carbonization time seemed to decrease oxygen containing functional groups while carbon aromaticity structure increased, thereby rendering hydrochars highly hydrophobic. The thermogravimetric analysis showed that the combustion decomposition was altered from a single stage for raw sludge to two stages for hydrochars. The combustion reaction was best fitted to the first order for both raw sludge and hydrochars. The combustion of hydrochars is expected to be easier and more stable than raw sludge because of lower activation energy and pre-exponential factor. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. Source

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