Our students

Ying Cheng


Green synthesis of iron nanoparticles and their application as a Fenton-like catalyst for the degradation of TPHs in ground water and oil sludge


The application of nanoparticle modified electrodes in microbial fuel cell for electricity generation


Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) are an extensively described bio-electrochemical system (BES). They get this attention due to their ability to recover energy from low-value biomasses such as wastewaters, while purifying the wastewater at the same time.  

The performance of electrodes is the most important aspect in improving the power density and the application of MFCs on the large scale. The electrode materials must have good conduction, good chemical stability, high mechanical strength and be low cost. Surface modifications of electrodes are a hot topic as surface treatment and electroactive coatings can increase surface area and enhance electron collection.

Recent advances in nanofabrication provide a unique opportunity to develop efficient electrode materials. The number of reactive sites on the surface can be increased and the catalytic activity improved when modifying the electrode using highly dispersed nanoparticles. It is of great interest to examine the impact that nanomaterial imposed changes in surface chemistry and morphology have on the performance of MFCs.

This project investigates the relationship between the current density and properties of the electrode surface, including chemical composition, size, shape, and density of nanoparticles. The impact of nanoparticles on bacteria metabolism will also be examined to better understand changes in power generation.


As a participant in the tournament of ‘Discover the pollutions around you’ in elementary school Ying Cheng realised the importance of environmental protection. Her childhood pastime lead to a major in environmental engineering from China Agricultural University followed by a masters from Fujian Normal University and a graduate training program on biodegradation and environmental remediation at the Institute of Urban Environment (IUE). Ying Cheng is now a PhD student in the field of enviromental remediation and energy recovery. She actively shares her knowledge and experience of environmental protection in discussions with colleagues to help develop better ideas and solutions.