Academic Profile

Academic Profile

Prof Ng Wun Jern

Executive Director, Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute

School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
College of Engineering

Phone: (+65)6790 6813
Office: CleanTech 1, #06-08

  • PhD Birmingham University 1980
  • MSc (Water Resources Engrg) Birmingham University 1978
  • BSc (Civil Engrg) University of London, Queen Mary Coll. 1977
NG WUN JERN interacts with the industry as an advisor in water and effluent treatment - and has brought R&D to full-scale applications. Commercialized IPs include biosystems [eg aerobic SBR, anaerobic SBR, anaerobic filter and hybrid anaerobic reactor] and equipment [eg recirculating aerator and electrochemical system]. His designs have been applied to some 120 full-scale installations. He had managed a “spin-off” company, was chairman on the board of directors at MWH (Montgomery, Watson & Harza) Consultants, is presently technical advisor on wastes to bio-energy to three companies operating in ASEAN, China and India, and had served on the national water reclamation expert panel. He is a registered professional engineer.

He teaches environmental engineering and science and has guided numerous postdoctoral fellows, and Masters and PhD candidates. He was a founding member of the Singapore Engineering Accreditation Board and contributed to Singapore's first Accreditation Manual for university engineering education.

He was Vice-Dean at the Faculty of Engineering, National University of Singapore and then Dean until 2003. In 2004 the Faculty was ranked 9th in a world ranking exercise conducted by Times London. From 2003 - 2004, he was founding Director of the Environmental Science & Engineering Program. In 2005 he was Singapore director of the Singapore-MIT Alliance serving the alliance universities - National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology till 2006. Thereafter he was Director - Capability Development at the Environment & Water Industry Development Council, Ministry of the Environment & Water Resources working on national funding for R&D and manpower development. In 2007 he joined NTU and became founding Executive Director at the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI). The NEWRI ecosystem presently operates with eight units covering education, research (4 of the units are Centres of Excellence), technology development, and interfaces with industry and community for applications and commercialization.
Research Interests
NG WUN JERN's research interests are largely in the area of water and wastewater management. The focus of his efforts has been on investigations into water quality, treatment science, and development of treatment technologies. These investigations span the water quality spectrum - ranging from ultra-pure water to high strength and potentially inhibitory wastewaters.

His research output may be found in some 400 publications. These include journal papers, conference presentations, book chapters and monographs, reports, and patents. His latest book publications are titled "Industrial Wastewater Treatment" (Imperial College Press) and "Wetlands for Tropical Applications" (Imperial College Press).

Current R&D interests revolve around effluent treatment and include dehalogenation under bioreductive conditions. Of particular interest are the chloro-compounds and dehalogenation under acidic conditions with biomass sculptured into granules.

The interest in bioreductive (instead of bio-oxidative) processes stems from concern over energy costs and carbon footprints of treatment processes. Anaerobic processes are therefore of interest when used to manage strong wastewaters from industrial and agro-industrial sources. Current R&D interest focuses on thermophilic anaerobic processes and gas productivities and quality. Conceptually there is a shift from viewing the anaerobic process as a wastewater pretreatment device to one which is intended to recover energy from the wastewater.

Extending this interest is the work on biosorption where sorption is used to concentrate carbonaceous material from low strength wastewaters prior to anaerobic degradation of the sorbent with gas recovery. This approach deviates from the conventional approach of using anaerobic processes such as the UASB or anaerobic filter to address low strength wastewaters. Laboratory studies typically use the cyclic process configuration although larger scale studies can be with the cyclic or continuous flow configuration.

In aerobic treatment, there is interest in the MBR applied with granulated biomass. The interest is on biofouling mitigation using this modified biomass morphology. There is also interest in using the MBR and the concept of "back seeding" to achieve better nutrients removal and degradation of resistant organics (eg textile dyes).
Research Grant
  • Economic Development Board (EDB) Grant (2016-) [by Economic Development Board (EDB)]
  • Environment & Water Industry Development Council (2016-) [by Environment & Water Industry Development Council (EWI)]
  • Grundfos (Singapore) Pte Ltd (2015-2017) [by Grundfos (Singapore) Pte Ltd]
  • Grundfos Holding A/S (2013-) [by Grundfos Holding A/S]
  • Hyundai Engineering and Construction Co., Ltd. (2015-)
  • MOE Grant (2014-) [by MOE]
  • NEA Environment Technology Research Programme (2014-2017) [by National Environmental Agency (NEA)]
  • National Environment Agency (2016-) [by National Environmental Agency (NEA)]
  • PUB-NTU (2012-2017) [by Environment & Water Industry Development Council (EWI)]
  • PUB-NTU (2014-2017) [by Public Utilities Board (PUB)]
Current Projects
  • Anammox for Main Stream Used Water Treatment under Tropical Climate
  • Anammox in Membrane Bioreactor for Wastewater Treatment with Energy Production
  • Cake Filtration for Next-Generation Separation
  • Cleaning oil-contaminated sand with Microbubbles (MBs) and MBs-related Methods
  • Design and Construction of Waste-To-Energy (WTE) Research Facility
  • Development of Technology on Sediment Reutilisation by Using Industrial By-products in Singapore
  • EWT VPP on the Anaerobic Membrane Reactor Responses to Ramp/Shock Loads and Toxin Addition: Fundamentals, Monitoring and Controlled
  • Research Funding for Tan Chin Tuan Centennial Professorship
  • Tranch-3 Development of NEWRI
  • Understanding and Mitigation of Sludge Deflocculation
  • Water and Energy Saving Solutions for the Beverage Industry - Yeo Hiap Seng (YHS) Pte Ltd
Selected Publications

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