Environmental Sustainability Enviro



Our group focuses on the greenhouse gas and wastewater treatments based on our designed novel polymer and carbon nanostructural materials.


1)   Greenhouse Gas Treatment

Polymer as a tail gas separator has been proved many years ago. I had been using hollow fiber membrane modulus to separate SO2 in flue gas with the sodium hydroxide aqueous solution for three years during my master study in China.

A microporous hydrophobic polypropylene (PP) hollow fiber membrane module was utilized to separate the gas and liquid phase. The reaction takes place in the wall due to the gas diffusion and neutralization of acid gas and basic solution.

Figure 1 shows the principle for the gas-liquid separation.




The efficiency should be improved if the hollow nano-fibers rather than microfibers were used due to the subsequent higher specific surface area. The major challenge is to fabricate the hollow fiber membrane with strong mechanical properties to bear the high treating capacity and high selectivity critical for certain applications. The selectivity could be able to be tailored by membrane surface post-treatment or matrix treatment.

In this area, my future research will focus on developing the hollow fiber membrane composite materials. The optimum fiber materials should be porous, hydrophobic and thermal/electric conductive. The ideal candidate would be some high-temperature polymer nanocomposites. The matrix should be able to permeably selective to some species. The fillers should be able to serve as a catalyst to favor the separation. In addition, the conductive matrix will favor the kinetic control of the separation rate and the conversion efficiency by controlling the reaction temperature. The conductive filler such as metal or carbon fiber/nanotube will be utilized to tailor the thermal conductivity of the membrane materials for kinetic control.

The significance of the project will be environmental protection. The proposed goal is to eliminate or at least minimize the releasing of the acidic gas such as carbon dioxide and sulfuric dioxide which are major issue of global warming. The project will be intimately related to the chemical companies, petrochemical chemical companies ,etc. The other major application will be organic chemical synthesis and separation in biomedicine areas.


2) Wastewater Treatment

Based on the unique physicochemical properties of the nanostructures, our group has successfully demonstrated the advantages to remove the heavy metals from model polluted water with a low concentrated Cr(VI). The efficiency can reach 96% or a complete removal. Figure 2 shows the Cr(VI) removal mechanism.








  • Hexavalent Chromium Induced Tunable Surface Functionalization of Graphite; B. Xiang, D. Ling, F. Gao, H. Lou, H. Gu and Z. Guo, RSC Advances, 6, 58354-58362 (2016)
  • Cr(VI) removal by magnetic carbon nanocomposites derived from cellulose at different carbonization temperatures; B. Qiu, Y. Wang, D. Sun, Q. Wang, X. Zhang, B. L. Weeks, R. O'Connor, X. Huang, S. Wei and Z. Guo, Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 3, 9817-9825 (2015)
  • Magnetic amine-functionalized polyacrylic acid-nanomagnetite for hexavalent chromium removal from polluted water, F. Gao, H. Gu, H. Wang, X. Wang, B. Xiang, and Z. Guo, RSC Advances, 5, 60208-60219 (2015)
  • Polyaniline Coating with Various Substrates for Hexavalent Chromium Removal; B. Qiu, C. Xu, D, Sun, Q. Wang, H. Gu, X. Zhang, B, Weeks, J. Hopper, T.C. Ho, Z. Guo, S. Wei, Applied Surface Science, 334, 7-14 (2015) 
  • Polyethylenimine Facilitated Ethyl Cellulose for Hexavalent Chromium Removal with a Wide pH Range; B. Qiu, J. Guo, X. Zhang, D. Sun, H. Gu, Q. Wang, H. Wang, X. Wang, X. Zhang, B. L. Weeks, Z. Guo, and S. Wei; ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 6, 19816-19824 (2014)
  • Cellulose Derived Magnetic Mesoporous Carbon Nanocomposites with Enhanced Hexavalent Chromium Removal; B. Qiu, H. Gu, X. Yan, J. Guo, Y. Wang, D. Sun, Q. Wang, M. Khan, X. Zhang, B. L. Weeks, D. P. Young, Z. Guo, and S. Wei, Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 2(41), 17454-17462 (2014)
  • Polyaniline Coating on Carbon Fiber Fabrics for Hexavalent Chromium Removal; B. Qiu, C. Xu, D. Sun, H. Wei, X. Zhang, J. Guo, Q. Wang, D. Rutman, Z. Guo and S. Wei, RSC Advances, 4, 29855-29865 (2014)
  • Polyaniline Coated Ethyl Cellulose with Improved Hexavalent Chromium Removal; B. Qiu, C. Xu, D. Sun, H. Yi, J. Guo, X. Zhang, H. Qu, M. Guerrero, X. Wang, N. Noel, Z. Luo, Z. Guo and S. Wei, ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 2(8), 2070-2080 (2014)
  • Synergistic Interactions between Activated Carbon Fabric and Toxic Hexavalent Chromium; C. Xu, B. Qiu, H. Gu, X. Yan, H. Wei, X. Huang, Y. Wang, D. Rutman, D. Cao, S. Bhana, Z. Guoand S. Wei, ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology, 3(3), m1-m9 (2014)
  • Mesoporous Magnetic Carbon Nanocomposite Fabrics towards Highly Efficient Cr(VI) Removal; J. Zhu, H. Gu, J. Guo, M. Chen, H. Wei, Z. Luo, H. A. Colorado, N. Yerra, D. Ding, T. C. Ho, N. Haldolaarachchige, J. Hopper, D. P. Young, Z. Guo and S. Wei, Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 2, 2256-2265 (2014)
  • “Synergistic Interactions between Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes and Toxic Hexavalent Chromium” H. Gu, S. Rapole, Y. Huang, D. Cao, Z. Luo, S. Wei and Z. Guo; Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 1, 2011-2021 (2013)
  • Hexavalent Chromium Synthesized Polyaniline Nanostructures: Magnetoresistance and Electrochemical Energy Storage Behaviors; H. Gu, H. Wei, J. Guo, N. Haldolaarachchige, D. P. Young, S. Wei and Z. Guo, Polymer, 54, 5974-5985 (2013)
  • Magnetic Polyaniline Nanocomposites toward Toxic Hexavalent Chromium Removal; H. Gu, S. Rapole, J. Sharma, Y. Huang, D. Cao, H. Colorado, Z. Luo, N. Haldolaarachchige, D. P. Young, B. Walters, S. Wei, Z. Guo; RSC Advances, 2, 11007-11018 (2012)
  • Looped Carbon Capturing and Environmental Remediation: Case Study of Magnetic Polypropylene Nanocomposites; J. Zhu, H. Gu, S. B. Rapole, Z. Luo, S. Pallavkar, N. Haldolaarachchige, T. J. Benson, T. C. Ho, J. Hopper, D. P. Young, S. Wei and Z. Guo; RSC Advances, 2, 4844-4856 (2012)
  • “One-pot Synthesis of Magnetic Graphene Nanocomposites Decorated with Core@Double-shell Nanoparticles for Fast Chromium Removal” J. Zhu, S. Wei, H. Gu, S. B. Rapole, Q. Wang, Z. Luo, N. Haldolaarachchige, D. P. Young and Z. Guo; Environmental Science and Technology, 46(2), 977-985 (2012)
  • “Multifunctional Composite Core-Shell Nanoparticles” S. Wei, Q. Wang, J. Zhu, L. Sun, H. Lin and Z. Guo; Nanoscale, 3, 4474-4502 (2011)
  • “Carbon Stabilized Iron Nanoparticles for Environmental Remediation” D. Zhang, S. Wei, C. Kaila, X. Su, J. Wu, A. B. Karki, D. P. Young, and Z. Guo, Nanoscale, 2, 917 - 919 (2010) [pdf link] [supporting materials]
  • “Sulfur Poisoning and Regeneration of NOx Storage-Reduction Cu/K2Ti2O5 Catalyst” Q. Wang, J. Zhu, S. Wei, J-S. Chung, and Z. Guo, Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, in press (2010) [pdf link]
  • “Molecular NO2 induced K2Ti2O5-K2Ti6O13 Structure Switching in the Dry Gas Phase: Lattice Potassium Reactivity” Q. Wang; Z. Guo; J. S. Chung, Chemical Communication, 35, 5284-8286 (2009). [pdf linkage]
  • “Formation and Structural Characterization of Potassium Titanates and the Potassium Ion Exchange Property” Q. Wang; Z. Guo; J. S. Chung, Materials Research Bulletin, 44 (10), 1973-1977 (2009) [pdf linkage]
  • “Absorption of Sulfur Dioxide Using Hollow Fiber Membrane Modules,” Z. Guo; J. Shi; J. Xu; S. Wei; X. Wu, Engineering Chemistry & Metallurgy, 21(3)268-273 (2000).