Academic Profile

Academic Profile

Prof Ng Wun Jern

Dean, College of Engineering
Executive Director, Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute

School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
College of Engineering

Phone: (+65)65921636/67906813
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
  • Academic Research Fund Tier 1 (2011-2015)
  • Grundfos Holding A/S (2013-) [by Grundfos Holding A/S]
  • MOE Grant (2014-) [by MOE]
  • NEA Environment Technology Research Programme (2014-)
  • NEA Environment Technology Research Programme (2014-) [by National Environmental Agency (NEA)]
  • NRF Competitive Research Program (2010-) [by National Research Foundation (NRF)]
  • PUB-NTU (2012-) [by Environment & Water Industry Development Council (EWI)]
  • PUB-NTU (2013-) [by Public Utilities Board (PUB)]
  • PUB-NTU (2014-) [by Public Utilities Board (PUB)]
Current Projects
  • Anaerobic Biodegradability of Sludge from Water Reclamation Plants
  • Anaerobic Digester Feed Stream Conditioning for Increasing Biogas Production
  • 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
  • ENERGY + : A Novel Integrated Concept for Retrofitting and Optimizing Existing Wastewater Treatment Plants into Energy Self-Sufficiency
  • EWT VPP on the Anaerobic Membrane Reactor Responses to Ramp/Shock Loads and Toxin Addition: Fundamentals, Monitoring and Controlled
  • Investigating issues affecting optimal industrial anaerobic process applications - improving energy generation
  • Investigation of the effects of metal-reducing bacteria bioaugmentation on energy production efficiency in anaerobic digestion and evaluation of its potential for practical application
  • Lab-Scale Study on Anaerobic Co-Digestion on Food Waste And Used Water Sludge
  • MBR Process Modeling And Optimization: Case Study of Ulu Pandan Water Reclamation Plant With Future Scale-Up Considerations
  • Research Funding for Tan Chin Tuan Centennial Professorship
  • Sustainable Urban Waste Management for 2020_Project 1: Communities As Renewable Resource Recovery Centres
  • Sustainable Urban Waste Management for 2020_Project 2: Wastewater Treatment Plant as an Urban Eco Power Station
  • Sustainable Urban Waste Management for 2020_Project 3: Rapid Land Reclamation of Closed Urban Dumping Grounds
  • Understanding and Mitigation of Sludge Deflocculation
  • Water and Energy in The Urban Water Cycle-improving Energy Efficiency in Municipal Wastewater Treatment
Selected Publications
  • Zhang DQ, Jinadasa KBSN, Liu Y, Ng WJ, Tan S K. (2014). Application of constructed wetlands for wastewater treatment in developing countries – A review of recent developments (2000–2013). Journal of Environmental Management, 141, 116-131.
  • Zhang D.Q., Hua, T., Xiao, F., Chen, C.P., Gersberg, R.M., Liu, Y., Ng, W.J., Tan, S. K. (2014). Uptake and accumulation of CuO nanoparticles and CdS/ZnS quantum dot nanoparticles by Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani in hydroponic mesocosms. Ecological Engineering, 70, 114-123.
  • Ng Wun Jern, Tan Soon Keat and others. (2014). WATER AND ENERGY IN THE URBAN WATER CYCLE: Improving Energy Efficiency in Municipal Wastewater Treatment” Global Water Research Coalition Research Report - publish by NEWRI, NTU. publish by NEWRI, NTU.
  • Yifei Li, Guibing Zhu,Wun Jern Ng, Soon Keat Tan. (2014). A reviewon removing pharmaceutical contaminants from wastewater by constructed wetlands: Design, performance and mechanism. Science of the total environment, , 468-469.
  • Zhang, D., Gersberg, R.M., Ng, W.J., Tan, S.K. (2014). Removal of pharmaceuticals and personal care products in aquatic plant-based systems: A review. Environmental Pollution, 184, 620-639.

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