Wolfgang Gernjak

Wolfgang Gernjak

Institut Català de Recerca de l'Aigua

Engineering Sciences

2002 MSc in Analytical and Physical Chemistry from Vienna University of Technology, Austria. 2006 PhD in Land and Water Management from BOKU Vienna, Austria. 2000-2008 External Research Staff & post-doc, Plataforma Solar de Almería, Spain - Solar advanced oxidation & desalination. 2008-2014 Senior research fellow, The University of Queensland, Australia - Group leader: Drinking and Recycled Water. 2014-2015 Ramon & Cajal research fellow, Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA) - Group leader: Water Supply and Advanced Treatment. 2015- ICREA Research Professor at Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA) - Group leader: Water Supply and Advanced Treatment.

Research interests

I strife to to realize a vision for smart and water sensitive cities and societies by innovating the ways we treat reclaimed and drinking water. My research focuses on technology innovation. Specifically, I research novel advanced oxidation and reduction as well as membrane filtration. PhD projects I currently supervise e.g. investigate vacuum UV driven water treatment, membrane distillation, catalytic ozonation, and plasma treatment. My research on water treatment technology is typically strongly connected to controlling water quality hazards to end-users, including trace organic contaminants, disinfection byproducts, and also pathogens. I also expand my research in aspects of integrated water management and industrial water treatment, for example in the projects reclaimONEwater, iWAYS, RECREATE and intoDBP. I combine my broad expert knowledge on technology and water quality to find tailored solutions enjoying working in multidisciplinary teams.

Selected publications

- Velo-Gala I, Farré MJ, Radjenovic J & Gernjak W 2023, 'Influence of water matrix components on the UV/chlorine process and its reactions mechanism', Environmental Research, 218, 114945.
- Kumar A, Škoro N, Gernjak W, et al. 2023, 'Degradation of diclofenac and 4-chlorobenzoic acid in aqueous solution by cold atmospheric plasma source', Science Of The Total Environment, 864, 161194.
- Abily M, Acuna V, Corominas L, Rodriguez-Roda I & Gernjak W 2023, 'Strategic routes for wastewater treatment plant upgrades to reduce micropollutants in European surface water bodies', Journal Of Cleaner Production, 415, 137867.
- Boyer TH & Gernjak W 2023, 'Why stories matter in water research: A case for narrative style paper writing', Water Research X, 21, 100198 - 100198.

Selected research activities

In 2023, we completed the MSCA program Nowelties in which Amit Kumar finished his PhD on atmospheric plasma systems for wastewater treatment. In my close collaboration with Wetsus, Nimmy Kovoor will finalize her PhD in 2024 on vacuum UV treatment processes and Yicheng Wang continues her PhD research on applying vacuum UV for degrading perfluorinated substances. Atefeh Tizchang is progressing well on her industrial PhD in the iWAYS project, focusing on membrane distillation for industrial water reclamation. This year we welcomed visiting PhD student Julia Wolters from RWTH Aachen, and Nour Slama, a former visitor, defended her PhD with interesting results from ICRA. Congrats!
New projects like reclaimONEwater and HE intoDBP started in 2022, with Nikolaus Klamerth and Tomàs Lock joining our team, the latter also beginning a PhD. More water reclamation projects, including the HE project RECREATE and the construction and operation at the Costa Brava of a pilot plant for reclaimed water suitable for drinking, start in 2024 under my scientific direction.