Zhiyong Jason Ren HOME


Zhiyong "Jason" Ren, Ph.D

Associate Professor

Environmental Engineering

UCB 607, SEEC S291B

University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309

Phone: (303) 492-4137





Prof. Ren directs the Water Resource Recovery Lab in Environmental Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder. His research focuses on water-energy nexus and 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 municipal solid waste into energy, fuels, materials, chemicals and other value-added bioproducts. They use molecular microbiology, electrochemistry, and system engineering tools to understand the fundamental determinant factors of those systems so as to enhance design, operation, and monitoring in concert with traditional approaches.


     Environmental Biotechnology

     - Carbon negative, energy positive wastewater treatment and reuse
     - Environmental remediation of petroleum hydrocarbons and chlorinated solvents
     - Sustainable water infrastructure
     - Microbial and electrochemical carbon capture, utilization, and storage

    Energy, Fuels, and Chemicals 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)

     Water Desalination Systems 

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