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 continue to expand my research in aspects of integrated water management and industrial water treatment, for example in the projects INVEST, SUGGEREIX and iWAYS. Here, I combine my broad expert knowledge on technology and water quality to find tailored solutions working in multidisciplinary teams to solve real world problems.

Selected publications

- Kovoor George N, Wols BA, Santoro D, Borboudakis M, Bell K & Gernjak W 2022, 'A novel approach to interpret quasi-collimated beam results to support design and scale-up of vacuum UV based AOPs', Water Research X, 17, 100158.

- Mutzner L, Furrer V, Castebrunet H, Dittmer U, Fuchs S, Gernjak W, Gromaire MC, Matzinger A, Mikkelsen PS, Selbig WR & Vezzaro L 2022, 'A decade of monitoring micropollutants in urban wet-weather flows: What did we learn?', Water Research, 223, 118968.

Selected research activities

NOWELTIES MSCA EJD PhD students Nikoletta Tsiarta (catalytic ozonation) and Amit Kumar (atmospheric plasma treatment) defend their theses in 2023, the latter also being linked to the PlAgri Cost Action (plasma technology for agriculture), where I act as management committee member. In the EU funded iWAYS project (start 12/2020) on industrial water and heat recovery we develop a robust membrane distillation process to recover water in the steel processing industry with another PhD student (Atefeh Tizchang) commencing in 2022. In collaboration with the Dutch technology centre of excellence Wetsus, I am co-developing vacuum UV technology for efficient emerging contaminants reduction in the scope of the supervision of two PhD thesis (Nimmy Kovoor George, finishing in 2023, Yicheng Wang, started 11/2021). Another PhD student (Mireia Plà Castellana, chemometrics of online UV sensors) will defend her thesis early 2023. 

In integrated water management, I collaborate with several researchers from my host institution on the development of river basin models and decision support systems to support public authorities for taking investment decisions. Two related competitive projects successfully finished in 2022, namely INVEST and SUGGEREIX.

New nationally funded projects commenced in 12/2022 include OSMO4LIVES (recycling of RO membranes) and reclaimONEwater (controlling risks in de facto and planned potable reuse).