2009, Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering, University of Science & Technology of China (USTC), China.
Professor Bing-Jie (Bruce) Ni received his PhD degree in environmental engineering in June 2009. He currently is an ARC Future Fellow and full professor at UNSW Sydney. He has been working in the field of environmental technology and wastewater treatment, particularly the interface among process engineering, microbial biotechnology, materials science and mathematical modeling, focusing on the integration of these disciplines to develop innovative and sustainable technological solutions to achieve high-levels of pollutant removal from wastewater with a minimised carbon footprint and maximised energy recovery, in order to transform wastes or wastewater from a troublesome pollutant to a valuable resource and save large quantities of greenhouse gas emissions.
Professor Ni is a worldwide pioneer in modeling and control of potent greenhouse gases (e.g., nitrous oxides and methane) emissions from wastewater management systems. He has made significant contributions to developing cost-effective biotechnologies/tools to lower methane and nitrous oxide, the two strong greenhouse gases directly generated in sewer management and wastewater treatment plant operations. Nitrous oxide, for example, has a 300 times stronger warming effect than carbon dioxide. Through his research, he has developed a new model to minimise and mitigate the quantity of GHG emissions from wastewater treatment. Particularly, he has developed a nitrous oxide emission model, which has been recently applied by IPCC (June 2019) to update its National Greenhouse Gas Inventories Guideline for the first time in 13 years (Prof Ni is the Lead Investigator). Based on his research, the IPCC guidelines significantly updated the default emission factors for nitrous oxide in one type of domestic wastewater treatment plant. The research has also contributed to the emissions factor tables and provides a more accurate accounting benchmark.
Professor Ni and his team revealed the world first fundamental understanding of micro(nano)plastics ecotoxicity to anaerobic wastewater and sludge treatment. He and his team discovered microplastics are becoming a key factor behind low methane yield and process failure due to their small sizes and specific characteristics. He also disclosed the long-term exposure-response relationship between micro(nano)plastics and microorganisms in anaerobic sludge digestion system. He then developed novel effective technologies for mitigating the adverse influences of micro(nano)plastics on energy recovery in anaerobic wastewater and sludge treatment. Professor Ni and his team developed a world first technology and the underpinning science to gain renewable liquid bioenergy from sewage sludge on an economical and safe platform and realise sewage sludge reduction, by directly transforming sewage sludge into high-value medium chain fatty acids and long chain alcohols, allowing for easy collection, storage and transportation. Wastewater treatment is generating an increasing quantity of carbon-rich sewage sludge, which typically represents a substantial, but largely untapped, renewable resource. He and his team successfully achieved the transformation of sewage sludge from a troublesome waste stream to a high-value liquid bioenergy that can be applied in existing sludge treatment infrastructure for addressing the increasing energy demand and changing the current sludge treatment strategies.
Professor Ni and his team have made significant breakthroughs in the area of cost-effective electrocatalysts design and (waste)water electrolysis. He and his team have developed an innovative strategy to simultaneously recycle critical metals and produce green hydrogen from industrial wastewater via a proof-of-concept electrodeposition-electrolysis integrated technique. Such breakthrough finding was featured in famous global medias, including Chemistry World. News outlets such as Planet's Water, Daily Advent, and Ground News also picked up on this interesting finding. He and his team also have designed a series of efficient electrocatalysts from natural minerals (i.e., ilmenites, arsenopyrite, chalcopyrite). The direct conversion of natural resources into catalysts showed significant advantages over the traditional industrial catalyst synthesis processes by avoiding the high energy, economic and environmental costs of complicated metallurgy and chemical synthesis approaches.
Professor Ni has published 2 research books, 30 book chapters, and more than 450 papers in refereed ISI journals, including 35 in Environmental Science and Technology (Nature index journal) and 90 in Water Research (Nature index journal). He has won six major Australian Research Council (ARC) grants including an ARC Future Fellowship and an ARC DECRA Fellowship and over 30 other Government, University and Industry research grants with a total research funding of about AUD $12 M over the last 10 years. He serves as Editor-in-Chief for Cleaner Water (Elsevier), Lead Guest Editor for Water Research (Elsevier, Nature index journal, JCR Q1, IF=13.4), Editorial Advisory Board for Environmental Science and Technology (ACS, Nature index journal, JCR Q1, IF=11.4), Editor for Sustainable Horizons (Elsevier), Associate Editor for Journal of Cleaner Production (Elsevier, JCR Q1, IF=11.1), Environmental Chemistry Letters (Springer, JCR Q1, IF=13.4), Environmental Research (Elsevier, JCR Q1, IF=8.4) and Journal of Environmental Management (Elsevier, JCR Q1, IF=8.9), and Editorial Board for Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology (Taylor & Francis, JCR Q1, IF=11.75), Journal of Hazardous Materials Advances (Elsevier) and Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry (Elsevier, JCR Q1, IF=8.8).
Professor Ni has delivered over 30 keynote speeches at national and international conferences, and has chaired over 20 national and international conference sessions. He is the inventor of over 10 granted patents for relevant technologies he developed, with some of them currently being commercialized for translating his research outcomes to end users. He is a Highly Cited Researcher - Clarivate Analytics - Web of Science. He is a Mendeley Data top 2% Cited Researchers in the world in all academic disciplines. He has been continuously recoginzed as a Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Highly Cited Researcher since 2020. He has received more than 50 awards & prizes since 2009, such as Awards for Excellence in Research Higher Degree Supervision, Foundation Research Excellence Award, Scopus Young Researcher Award, ProSPER.Net-Scopus Young Scientist Award, UQ Early Career Researcher Award, Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Awards, among others. He has also been recognized by Engineers Australia as one of Australia’s most innovative engineers primarily for his work on greenhouse gas neutral wastewater treatment.
Ni, B.J., Wei, W., Overcoming microplastics induced inhibition on waste-to-energy conversion, Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project, 2022-2024, Australia.
Ni, B.J., Ngo, H.H., Guo, W., Contribution of Comammox Process to Sustainable Wastewater Treatment, Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project, 2022-2024, Australia.
Ni, B.J., Sustainable wastewater management, Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship (step 2), 2016-2020, Australia.
Ni, B.J., Novel biotreatment for micropollutant removal from contaminated water, Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA), 2013-2016, Australia.
Ni, B.J., Mu, Y., Micro-managed biofilm - next generation environmental biotechnologies, Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project, 2013-2016, Australia.
Yuan, Z., Tyson, G., Sharma, K., Ni, B.J., Murthy, S., Methane and nitrous oxide emissions from sewers – understanding, modelling and mitigation, Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project, 2011-2014, Australia.
I have been working on the interface among process engineering, chemistry, materials engineering, microbiology, and environmental biotechnology. I focus on the effective integration of these disciplines to develop innovative and sustainable technological solutions to achieve high-levels of pollutant removal/transformation in waste/water with minimised carbon emissions and energy consumption and maximized resources/energy recovery, aiming to transform waste/water from a troublesome pollutant to a valuable resource for resources recovery and energy generation as well as saving large quantities of greenhouse gas emissions. My specific research interests include but not limited to: