Jelena Radjenović

Jelena Radjenović

Institut Català de Recerca de l'Aigua

Engineering Sciences

Graduated in Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology from the University of Belgrade´s Faculty of Technology and Metallurgy, Serbia, in 2004. PhD in Environmental Chemistry from the University of Barcelona in July 2009 with “cum laude” distinction. 2009-2014: Advanced Water Management Centre (AWMC), University of Queensland, Australia. November 2014-onwards: Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA), Girona, Spain. Awarded several prestigious fellowships: Queesland Early Career Smart Future Fellowship, Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowship, Ramon y Cajal fellowship. 2017-2022: ERC Starting Grant ELECTRON4WATER. 

Research interests

I am an expert in chemical and electrochemical advanced (waste)water treatment, with a focus on the fate of chemical contaminants. My research aims to increase the efficiency and resilience of water treatment and reuse through the development of sustainable, energy-efficient and renewable energy-driven technologies. My core expertise is the development of low-cost, nanostructured electrode materials, and their implementation in electrochemical water treatment systems, as well as elucidation of electrochemical  degradation pathways of persistent organic contaminants. We have recently patented graphene sponge electrodes that overcome a major limitation of existing, commercial electrode materials - production of toxic byproducts in the presence of chloride - as they are completely inert to chloride and other halides. In addition, our group is also developing a hybrid nano-biotreatment based on accelerating the redox microbial reactions in anaerobic respiration by the addition of low-cost graphene oxide. Electron shuttling by graphene derivatives drastically enhances the removal of pollutants and improves the performance of anaerobic treatment systems, and this is currently being demonstrated at a pre-pilot scale. 

Selected publications

- Radjenovic J & Sergienko N 2020. 'Manganese oxide-based porous electrodes for rapid and selective (electro)catalytic removal and recovery of sulfide from wastewater', Applied Catalysis B Environmental, 267,118608. 

- Radjenovic J, Duinslaeger N, Avval SS & Chaplin B 2020. 'Facing the Challenge of Poly- and Perfluoroalkyl Substances in Water: Is Electrochemical Oxidation the Answer?' Environ. Sci. Technol. 54(23):14815-14829. 

Selected research activities

We are optimizing graphene-based electrochemical systems for several water treatment applications which are crucial for the transitioning towards a more efficient and sustainable water management. Our graphene sponges are tailored for complete defluorination of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), which are persistent, carcinogenic and bioaccumulative contaminants that are the main focus of the current Green Deal call of the EC. Secondly, our graphene sponges are capable of efficient and complete disinfection, which is remarkable given that this disinfection is achieved without chlorine, thus avoiding the hazardous disinfection byproducts formed in conventional disinfection. We are investigating their performance in eliminating E. coli, human viruses, and even coronavirus. We are also developing other nanostructured materials based on conductive TiO2 nanotubes and coatings of non-noble metal oxides, for electrochemical treatment of industrial waste streams.