Z. Jason Ren

Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment
Associate Director for Research, Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment
Office Phone
213 Andlinger Center

Ph.D.,  Penn State University


Honors and Awards

  • 2023 Fellow, Royal Society of Chemistry
  • 2021 Paul L. Busch Award, The Water Research Foundation
  • 2021 Super Reviewer Award, Environmental Science & Technology
  • 2021 First Place Prize, Intelligent Water Systems Challenge
  • 2020 Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize, American Society of Civil Engineers
  • 2017 Nanova/CAPEES Frontier in Research Award
  • 2015 New Inventor of the Year Award
  • 2012 University Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Work


  • Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment
  • Associate Director for Research, the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment
  • Associated Faculty, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
  • Associated Faculty, High Meadows Environmental Institute
  • Associated Faculty, Princeton Materials Institute
  • Executive Committee, Program in Engineering Biology
  • Executive Committee, Program in Sustainable Energy

Research Interests

Prof. Ren and the WET (Water & Energy Technologies) lab members work on Water-Energy-Climate Nexus especially in areas of decarbonization and digitalization of environmental and chemical processes such as water and CO2 electrolysis, wastewater treatment and reuse, water desalination, remediation, and carbon capture and utilization. They use electrochemistry, microbiology, AI/machining learning and system engineering tools to understand the fundamental determinant factors of the systems so as to enhance design, operation, and monitoring in concert with traditional approaches. Prof. Ren collaborates with colleagues from different disciplines. The group has been funded by federal and state agencies as well as private sponsors and published more than 200 papers in Nature Sustainability, Nature Climate Change, Nature Energy, Science Advances, Energy & Environmental Science, Environmental Science & Technology, Water Research, and other journals. Prof. Ren co-founded 2 companies with students to translate research findings into real-world applications.

Selected Publications
  1. Chen, X., Yang, M., Zheng, S., Temprano-Coleto, F., Dong, Q., Cheng, G., Yao, N., Stone, H.A., Hu, L. and Ren, Z.J., Spatially separated crystallization for selective lithium extraction from saline water. Nature Water, 2023, 1, 808–817.
  2. Zhu, J.J., Jiang, J., Yang, M., Ren, Z.J., ChatGPT and Environmental Research. Environmental Science & Technology, 2023, https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.3c01818.
  3. Jack, J., Zhu, W., Avalos, J.L., Gong, J., Ren, Z. J. Anode Co-valorization for Scalable and Sustainable Electrolysis. Green Chemistry, 2021, 23, 7917-7936.
  4. Lu, L., Guest, JS., Peters, CA., Zhu, X., Rau, GH., Ren, ZJ. Wastewater Treatment for Carbon Capture and Utilization, Nature Sustainability, 2018, 1, 750-758.
  5. Wang, H., Ren, ZJ. A Comprehensive Review of Microbial Electrochemical Systems As A Platform Technology, Biotechnology Advances, 2013, 31, 1796–1807.
Research Areas