Dr. Wolfgang Gernjak

ICREA Research Professor

Contact Details

Catalan Institute for Water Research, ICRA
email: wgernjak@icra.cat
Ph: +34 972 183 380
F:    +34 972 183 248

Short Biography

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 aim to innovate the ways we treat water applied to water reuse, desalination, and drinking water to realize a vision for smart and water sensitive cities and societies. Specifically, I am an expert on numerous novel advanced oxidation processes or membrane filtration such as reverse osmosis but have also broad knowledge on many other processes. The focus of my research is on technology innovation. For example, I research novel membrane processes such as forward osmosis or innovative lighting solutions for UV driven advanced oxidation processes (utilizing vacuum UV or LEDs). A key aspect is that those technologies are then assessed in the context of complete treatment trains or more holistically, as buliding block of solutions for cities. 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.

Recent research activities: 

In 2020 I commenced several new grants and activities. The H2020 project iWAYS develops heat and water recovery solutions for several process industries, implementing circular economy principles. The main technology studied by ICRA is membrane distillation. We also commenced the Catalan funded projects SUGGEREIX, developing a decision support system for reclaimed water treatment and the TRAÇA project that develops the knowledge base for the Catalan actuation to protect the lower Llobregat and the Barcelona regions drinking water supplies. Both link intrinsically with our ongoing INVEST project funded by the AEI. Regarding novel treatment technologies, the collaboration with Wetsus (Netherlands), Trojan Technologies (Canada) and others continues to develop novel oxidation processes based on Vacuum UV radiation. Within the MSCA EJD NOWELTIES, I supervise two PhD theses commenced in 2020, one on catalytic ozonation and another on developing plasma-initiated oxidation processes. The latter also closely links to CA19110 - Plasma applications for smart and sustainable agriculture, also started in 2020.

Recent Publications:

- Toran, Marc Sauchelli; D'Haese, Arnout; Rodriguez-Roda, Ignasi; Gernjak, Wolfgang 2020, 'Fouling propensity of novel TFC membranes with different osmotic and hydraulic pressure driving forces', Water Research, 175, 115657.

- Sbardella, Luca; Velo Gala, Inmaculada; Comas, Joaquim; Morera Carbonell, Serni; Rodriguez-Roda, Ignasi; Gernjak, Wolfgang 2020, 'Integrated assessment of sulfate-based AOPs for pharmaceutical active compound removal from wastewater', Journal Of Cleaner Production, 260, 121014.

- Rizzo, Luigi; Gernjak, Wolfgang; Krzeminski, Pawel; Malato, Sixto; McArdell, Christa S; Perez, Jose Antonio Sanchez; Schaar, Heidemarie; Fatta-Kassinos, Despo 2020, 'Best available technologies and treatment trains to address current challenges in urban wastewater reuse for irrigation of crops in EU countries.', The Science Of The Total Environment, 710, 136312 - 136312.

For a complete list of publications please check my researchgate profile page:  https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Wolfgang_Gernjak

PhDs supervised to completion

Marc Sauchelli (2019). Mass transport and fouling of novel forward osmosis thin-film composite membranes. PhD Thesis, Universitat de Girona.

Andrés García, Elisabet (2018). Novel decentralized greywater treatment system based on combined adsorption and electrochemical oxidation. PhD Thesis, School of Chemical Engineering, The University of Queensland.

Peng, Liu (2016). Novel chemical and biological pre-treatments to improve water quality in drinking water treatment. PhD Thesis, School of Chemical Engineering, The University of Queensland.

de Vera, Glen (2016). Reducing Disinfection Byproduct Formation Potential Using Ozonation and Biological Drinking Water Treatment. PhD Thesis, School of Chemical Engineering, The University of Queensland.

Doederer, Katrin (2014). Disinfection by-products in high quality recycled water production with high pressure membranes. PhD Thesis, School of Chemical Engineering, The University of Queensland.

Rattier, Maxime (2013). Understanding of micropollutant removal during biological activated carbon filtration. PhD Thesis, School of Chemical Engineering, The University of Queensland.

Pype, Marie-Laure (2013). Monitoring reverse osmosis membrane integrity and virus rejection in water reuse. PhD Thesis, School of Chemical Engineering, The University of Queensland.

Ayache, Chrystelle (2012). Impact of biological pre-treatment on membrane fouling and micropollutant rejection in water recycling. PhD Thesis, School of Chemical Engineering, The University of Queensland


Ongoing PhDs

Mireia Plà Castellana (expected finalization 2022). Chemometric Tools for the Detection of Different Compounds in Water Matrices. Universitat de Girona.

Nimmy Kovoor George (expected finalization 2022). Developing UV-based advanced oxidation process using a dual wavelength approach: UVC/ H2O2 and Vacuum UV/H2O. Universitat de Girona.

Nikoletta Tsiarta (expected finalization 2023). Hybrid ozone-ceramic membrane process: increasing hydroxyl radical yield and OMP reduction while reducing membrane fouling. Universtat de Girona and University of Zagreb.

Amit Kumar (expected finalization 2023). Design, development and characterisation of atmospheric plasma system for wastewater treatment. Universitat de Girona and University of Belgrade.


ICREA: https://www.icrea.cat/Web/ScientificStaff/wolfgang-gernjak-216204
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/wolfgang-gernjak-b83b6354/

Twiter: https://twitter.com/wolfganggernjak               https://twitter.com/TechIcra    


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