We are developing innovative and practical processes for enhancing sustainability in water and energy at agricultural industries through the Environmental Engineering research program.
We deal with sustainable food, energy, and water at concentrated animal feeding operation dairies nearby, hope to extend this program to swine and poultry farms, and municipal and industrial wastewater treatment facilities in national and international scopes.
The scope of our research lies in the development of applied and basic research on the effective treatment of agrarian wastewater and wastes, conversion of agricultural wastewater, or waste to valuable biofuels/bioproducts, and the reuse of treated wastewater to agricultural practices.
Converting Agricultural Wastes to Biochar-based valuable products
We have converted various agricultural wastes (i.e., animal manure, grass, wood) and sewage sludge to biochar for environmental, agricultural and energy applications. The biochars are modified to surface-functionalized biochars via metal impregnation for recovery of nutrients and lanthanum as a rare earth element from wastewater. The biochars are also developed to activated biochars via chemical, catalytic and plasma activations. The activated biochars possessed high surface area and well-developed pore structure which are comparable with those of commercial activated carbons. Thus, the activated biochars provide high adsorption of emerging contaminants (i.e., pharmaceutical compounds, algal toxins) and reduction of antibiotic resistance from wastewater. The biochars and activated biochar are also added to anaerobic digestion for enhancing biogas production and process stability while being used as advanced materials for energy storage. Besides, the amendment of dairy manure-derived biochar to soil resulted in the enhancement of plant growth, soil fertility, microbial diversity and water conservation.
Transforming Unusable Agrarian Water
We are transforming unusable wastewater to reusable water for your agricultural needs using various biochars derived from dairy manure, grass and crop-residues.
We have been studying the production, characterization, and application of dairy manure, grass and crop residue-derived biochar for eliminating emerging contaminants and pathogens from agricultural, industrial and municipal wastewater. Furthermore, various engineered biochars have been also developed via activation, surface modification and functionalization for significantly enhancing removal of emerging contaminants and pathogens from wastewater.
Up to date, various biochar, activated and functionalized biochars have demonstrated excellent removal of antibiotics (including antibiotic resistant genes), endocrine disrupting compounds, algal toxins, and pathogens from wastewater. The adsorption capacities of some biochars for tetracycline, sulfamethoxazole, microcystins and BPA were much higher than those of commercial activated carbon and engineered carbon materials.
We are focusing on a cost-effective treatment of emerging contaminants from wastewater via cyclic adsorption-regeneration for effective reuse of wastewater for agriculture as well as protection of various water resources.
Recovering Nutrients from Agrarian Waste
We are also recovering nutrients and rare earth elements from agricultural wastewater (i.e., dairy effluents) via engineered biochar. The biochar functionalized with various metal oxides is used to make an active recovery of nutrients from agrarian wastewater for recycling nutrients to crop fields as well as preventing a release of nutrients to environments.
The home-made biochar coated with metal oxides showed high recovery of nutrients from dairy effluents. Also, the nutrient-saturated biochar led to enhancement of crop growth, soil fertility, and diversity of the microbial community in crop fields.
Beneficial Effects of Biochar on Anaerobic Digestions
We are investigating the beneficial effects of biochar on anaerobic digestions such as enhancement of biogas production, process stability, and contaminant degradation.
Our recent investigation revealed the addition of dairy manure-derived biochar to anaerobic digestion led to enhancement of methane production by 32%, reduction of lag phase by 34% and longer stability. Besides, the biochar in anaerobic digestion helped to eliminate antibiotics and lower antibiotic-resistance in the anaerobic digestion effectively.
We will continue to study to understand better the multiple mechanisms associated with biochar in anaerobic digestion systems and scale-up of biochar-driven anaerobic digestion systems for agricultural and industrial wastewater.
Microalgal Processes for Production of Biofuels
We are also investigating microalgal processes for the production of biofuels and recovery of nutrients from wastewater. Recently, the microalgal grown on the dairy effluent showed high productivity of algal lipids used for biodiesel and bio-oil production. It also indicated possible removal and recovery of nutrients from dairy effluents and other wastewater.
Based on current results, we will focus on algal refinery systems using agricultural wastewater for the production of energy, bioproducts, and biofertilizers.
Converting Agricultural Wastes to Biochar-based valuable products
We have converted various agricultural wastes (i.e., animal manure, grass, wood) and sewage sludge into biochar for environmental, agricultural and energy applications. The biochars are modified into surface-functionalized biochars via metal impregnation for recovery of nutrients and lanthanum as a rare earth element from wastewater. The biochars are also developed to activated biochars via chemical, catalytic and plasma activations. The activated biochars possessed high surface area and well-developed pore structure which are comparable with those of commercial activated carbons. Thus, the activated biochars provide high adsorption of emerging contaminants (i.e., pharmaceutical compounds, algal toxins) and reduction of antibiotic resistance from wastewater. The biochars and activated biochar are also added to anaerobic digestion for enhancing biogas production and process stability while being used as advanced materials for energy storage. Besides, the amendment of dairy manure-derived biochar to soil resulted in the enhancement of plant growth, soil fertility, microbial diversity, and water conservation.
- Yongkeun Choi, Ph.D., Postdoc researcher, Biological Engineering
- Hyunmin Jang, Ph.D., Postdoc researcher, Environmental Engineering
- Shengquan Zeng, Ph.D., Biological and Agricultural Engineering
- Diana Baale, Senior, Animal Science
- Jang HM, Yoo SH, Park SK, Kan E*. 2018. Engineered biochar from pine wood: Characterization and potential application for removal of sulfamethoxazole in water. Environmental Engineering Research. Online publication on Dec. 6, 2018.
- Cho YK, Kan E*. 2019. Effects of pyrolysis temperature on the physicochemical properties of alfalfa-derived biochar for the adsorption of bisphenol A and sulfamethoxazole in water. Chemosphere, 218: 741-748 (Available online on November 24, 2018; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2018.11.151)
- Jang HM, Kan E*. 2019. A novel hay-derived biochar for removal of tetracyclines in water. Bioresource Technology,274: 162-172 (Available online on November 23, 2018; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biortech.2018.11.081).
- Jang HM, Choi SK, Shin JY, Kan E, Kim YM. 2019. Additional reduction of antibiotic resistance genes and human bacterial pathogens via thermophilic aerobic digestion of anaerobically digested sludge. Bioresource Technology, 273: 259-268 (online publication on November 9, 2018).
- Choi YK, Jang HM, Kan E*, Rose AR, Sun W. 2018. Adsorption of phosphate in water on a novel calcium hydroxide-coated dairy manure-derived biochar. Environmental Engineering Research (Published online October 29, 2018; doi: https://doi.org/10.4491/eer.2018.296).
- Choi YK, Jang HM, Kan E*. 2018. Microalgal Biomass and Lipid Production on Dairy Effluent Using a Novel Microalga, Chlorella Isolated from Dairy Wastewater. Biotechnology and Bioprocess Engineering, 23: 333–340.
- Jang HM, Lee JW, Choi SK, Hin JG, Kan E, Kim YM. 2018. Response of antibiotic and heavy metal resistance genes to two different temperature sequences in anaerobic digestion of waste activated sludge. Bioresource Technology, 267: 303-310.
- Jang HM, Yoo SH, Choi YK, Park SK, Kan E*. 2018. Adsorption isotherm, kinetic modeling and mechanism of tetracycline on Pinus taeda-derived activated biochar. 2018. Bioresource Technology, 259: 24-31.
- Jang HM, Choi YK, Kan E*. 2018. Effects of dairy manure-derived biochar on psychrophilic, mesophilic and thermophilic anaerobic digestions of dairy manure. Bioresource Technology. 250: 927-931.
- Cho IK, Park BJ, Chung KH, Li QX, Kan E*. 2017. Fenton Oxidation of Bisphenol A using an Fe3O4-coated Carbon Nanotube: Understanding of Oxidation Products, Toxicity and Estrogenic Activity. Korean J. Pestic. Sci., 21: 310-315.
- Kim JR, Kan E*. 2016. Heterogeneous photocatalytic degradation of sulfamethoxazole in water using a biochar-supported TiO2 Journal of Environmental Management, 180: 94– 101.
- Watson SK, Han Z, Su WW, Deshusses MA, Kan E*. 2016. Carbon dioxide capture using Escherichia coli expressing carbonic anhydrase in a foam bioreactor. Environmental Technology 37: 3186-3192.
- Hoh DH, Watson SK, Kan E*. 2016. Algal biofilm reactors for integrated wastewater treatment and biofuel production: a review. Chemical Engineering Journal, 287: 466 – 473.
- Watson SK, Kan E*. Effects of Novel Auto-Inducible Medium on Growth, Activity and CO2 Capture Capacity of Escherichia coli Expressing Carbonic Anhydrase. Journal of Microbiological Methods, 117: 139–143.
- Kim JR, Huling SG, Kan E*. Effects of temperature on adsorption and oxidative degradation of bisphenol A in a surface modified iron-amended granular activated carbon. Chemical Engineering Journal, 262: 1260-1267.
- Kim JR, Kan E*. 2015. Heterogeneous photo-Fenton oxidation of methylene blue using CdS- carbon nanotube/TiO2 under visible Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry. 21: 644- 652.
- Cleveland V, Bingham JP, Kan E*. 2014. Heterogeneous Fenton Degradation of Bisphenol A by Carbon Nanotube-supported Fe3O4. Separation and Purification Technology, 133:388-395.
- Kim JR, Santiano B, Kim HS, Kan E*. Heterogeneous Oxidation of Methylene Blue with Surface-Modified Iron-Amended Activated Carbon. American Journal of Analytical Chemistry, 4:115-122. Google-based impact factor: 1.12.
- Kan E*. 2013. Effects of pretreatment of anaerobic sludge and culture conditions on hydrogen productivity in dark anaerobic fermentation. Renewable Energy, 49: 227–231.
- Huling SG, Kan E, Wingo C, Park SH. 2012. Pilot study of Fenton-driven regeneration of MTBE-spent granular activated carbon. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 205/206: 55-62.
- Huling SG, Ko SB, Park S, Kan E. 2011. Persulfate oxidation regeneration of spent granular activated carbon. Journal of Hazardous Materials 192: 1484-1490.
- Huling SG, Kan E, Wingo C. 2009. Fenton-driven regeneration of MTBE-spent granular activated carbon – Effects of particle size and Iron Amendment Procedures. Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 89: 651-658.
- Kan E, Huling SG. 2009. Effects of temperature and acidic pre-treatment on Fenton-driven oxidation of MTBE-spent granular activated carbon. Environmental Science and Technology, 43 (5): 1493-1499.
- Kan E, Deshusses MA. 2009. Modeling of the foamed emulsion bioreactor for air pollution control. II. Process and parametric sensitivity studies. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 102: 708-713.
- Kan E,Deshusses MA. 2008. Modeling of the foamed emulsion bioreactor for air pollution control. I. Model development and experimental validation. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 99: 1096-1106.
- Kan E, Kim S, Deshusses 2007. Fenton oxidation of TCE vapors in a foam reactor. Environmental Progress, 26(3): 226-232.
- Kan E, Deshusses MA. 2006. Scale-up and cost evaluation of the foamed emulsion bioreactor. Environmental Technology, 27(6): 645-652.
- Kan E, Deshusses MA. 2006. Cometabolic degradation of TCE vapors in a foamed emulsion bioreactor. Environmental Science and Technology, 40: 1022 -1028.
- Kan E, Deshusses MA. 2005. Continuous operation of foamed emulsion bioreactors treating toluene vapors. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 92: 364-371.
- Kan E, Deshusses MA. 2003. Development of foamed emulsion bioreactor for air pollution control. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 84:240-244.
- Koh C, Lee S, Kan E, Kang J. 1999. New evaluation method of physicochemical parameters in the ozone/UV process. Environmental Engineering Research, 4:51-57.
- Kan E, Yoon CH. 1997. The economical review of paper mill effluent treatment by advanced oxidation process. Chemical Industry & Technology, 15: 533-537.
- Kan E, Park CB, Lee SB. 1997. Optimization in culture conditions of hyperthermophilic Sulfolobus solfataricus. Korean Journal of Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 12: 121-126.