Research That Makes a Better World

NJIT focuses on applied research. Our professors and their assistants conduct research that has tangible results – research that leads to the development of new technologies or processes.      

As a top-ranked university whose research budget totals more than $100 million, NJIT has a myriad of research projects underway at any one time. But here are just a few examples of research projects that are not only succeeding but helping to create a cleaner environment and a more sustainable planet.   

Somenath Mitra, distinguished professor of chemistry and environmental science, developed a method to generate pure water and also concentrate pharmaceutical waste. The process, carbon nanotube enhanced membrane distillation, vastly increases the efficiency of the distillation process. Mitra also received a patent for a method of purifying carbon nanotubes using a rapid microwave process.  Assisting him on this research project are doctoral students Ornthida Sae-Khow and Ken Gethard.

Zeyuan Qiu, associate professor of chemistry and environmental science, studies the technical, social and economic factors that affect protection and preservation of sensitive waterways. Qiu, (pictured below) has authored and submitted a plan to restore the Neshanic River Watershed to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. The Neshanic is one of the Zeyuan Qiumost polluted headwater streams in the Raritan River Basin, with many areas suffering from severe bank erosion. The plan details the management measures needed to reduce pathogens and attain water quality standards for phosphorus and  suspended solids. It would assess the potential for restoring the river’s base flow and supporting its aquatic life.

Paul Romano, senior research architect at NJIT’s Center for Building Knowledge, is developing a training toolkit offering low-cost strategies for improving energy efficiency and reducing pollution at New Jersey’s supermarkets. The online self-diagnostic and training tool will focus on refrigerant leakage, a major contributor to the greenhouse gas effect, as well as optimization of lighting and HVAC controls. With funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Romano’s team is working with 35 supermarkets in New Jersey to develop strategies that will help food stores increase energy efficiency.

Professor Jay Meegoda of civil and environmental engineering led a team that developed a computer-based Drainage Information Analysis and Mapping System for the New Jersey Department of Transportation. Working in collaboration with Chi Tang, senior research associate in the transportation center, and civil engineering student Masroor Khan, Meegoda Paul Rodriguezdeveloped a system that will evaluate underground drainage as well as locate and catalog pipes, storm-water devices, manholes and catch basins. The system will also gather data to help engineers determine when those things need to be replaced or repaired. Meegoda received the 2011 New Jersey Department of Transportation Research Implementation Award for the project.

Paul Rodriguez, '12 (pictured right), MS in environmental engineering, says that his work with the on-campus club Engineers Without Borders (EWB) drew him to graduate studies and a career in water and wastewater engineering. His EWB group developed a bio-sand and water filter for the town of Milot, Haiti. The group traveled to Haiti and installed the first 25 filters. They also taught local citizens how to build more filters. He returned to Milot as a club adviser to inspect the operational filters and evaluate other sanitation measures. Rodriquez now works as an engineer for Hatch Mott MacDonald, a consulting engineering firm.