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Wan-Ting Chen

Wan-Ting (Grace) Chen
Wan-Ting (Grace) Chen Assistant Professor

Expertise

Plastics Recycling, Bioplastics, Microplastics, Safer Solvent Design, Biomass Conversion

Research Interests

Plastic recycling, Biomass conversion, Biodegradable Polymers, Microplastic Pollutant Prevention, Safer Solvent Design, Lifecycle Assessment.

Chemical and biological recycling of plastics; Plastic degradation; Renewable fuels, plastics and additives synthesis; Safe/green solvent formulations; Microplastic transport and fate; Lifecycle assessment and techno-economic analyses of organic waste treatment technologies

Education

  • Postdoc: Chemical Engineering, (2018), Purdue University
    Supporting Area: Plastic Recycling
    Dissertation/Thesis Title: Conversion of Plastic Waste into Pristine Polymers, Clean Fuels and Monores for a Sustainable Future
  • Ph D: Agricultural & Biological Engineering, (2017), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    Supporting Area: Biomass Conversion
  • MS: Agricultural & Biological Engineering, (2013), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    Supporting Area: Biomass Conversion
  • BS: Chemical Engineering, (2011), National Taiwan University

Biosketch

Wan-Ting (Grace) Chen, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the department of Plastics Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UMass Lowell), where she directs the Plastics & Environment Research Laboratory. Grace received her B.Sc in Chemical Engineering from National Taiwan University, M.S. and Ph.D. in Agricultural and Biological Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a postdoctoral training in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University. 

Her research group has extensive experience in the sustainability area. Prof. Chen's current research focuses on four topics: 

  1. Chemical recycling of plastic waste into fuels, polymers, and chemicals, 
  2. Biofuel and bioplastic material development, 
  3. Microplastic pollution mitigation, and 
  4. green solvent formulation. 

Her lab is equipped with reactors for hydrothermal processing of plastic waste and biowaste, as well as characterizations for fuel/polymers/thin films/microplastics. In addition, her lab also has a license to a specialized software, Hansen Solubility Parameters in Practice (HSPiP), to study polymer dissolution/precipitation behavior, coating removal, polymer diffusion, and packaging failure mechanisms. The Chen Group's research program contributes to the development of new multi-disciplinary materials on the topic of plastic waste recycling, biobased plastic material, and sustainability analysis. Prof. Chen is affiliated with American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), American Chemical Society (ACS), Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), and American Society of Agricultural & Biological Engineers (ASABE). To date, she has published 30+ peer-reviewed articles, one book chapter, and one U.S. patent, with a total citation of 1600+ and an H-index of 20.

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Outstanding contribution in reviewing for Algal Research (2018), Service, Professional - Elsevier
  • Outstanding contribution in reviewing for Bioresource Technology (2017), Service, Professional - Elsevier
  • AIChE’s Women’s Initiatives Committee (WIC) Travel Award (2016), Scholarship/Research - AICHE
  • Dissertation Completion Fellowship (2016), Scholarship/Research - University of Illinois
  • Mavis Future Faculty Fellowship (2016), Teaching - University of Illinois
  • Selected participants of Purdue Prospective Faculty Workshop (2016), Scholarship/Research - Purdue University
  • First place of Collegiate Technical Poster Competition in SWE14 Annual Conference (2014), Scholarship/Research - SWE
  • ERM Foundation Sustainable Fellowship (2013), Scholarship/Research - ERM Foundation
  • Second place of Boyd-Scott Graduate Research Award (2013), Scholarship/Research - ASABE

Selected Publications

  • Taofeng Lu, Gregory Reimonn, Gregory Morose, Evan Yu, Wan-Ting Chen*, "Safer Solvents to Replace Methylene Chloride for Conformal Coating Removal," Polymers, 13(6), 937, 2021.
  • Neeti Gandhi, Nicholas Farfaras, Nien-Hwan Linda Wang, and Wan-Ting Chen* "Lifecycle Assessment of High-Density Polyethylene Plastic Waste Recycling," Journal of Renewable Materials, in press, 2021.
  • Wan-Ting Chen*, Md. Akiful Haque, Taofeng Lu, Aersi Aierzhati, and Gregory Reimonn "Hydrothermal Processing of Biosolids," Current opinion in Environmental Science & Health, 14: 63-73, 2020 (Invited).
  • Wan-Ting Chen, Zhenwei Wu, Buchun Si, and Yuanhui Zhang, "Renewable Diesel Blendstocks and Biopriviliged Chemicals Distilled from Algal Biocrude Oil Converted via Hydrothermal Liquefaction," Sustainable Energy & Fuels, 4(10): 5165-5178, 2020.
  • Gregory Reimonn, Taofeng Lu, Neeti Ghanti, and Wan-Ting Chen* "Review of Microplastic Pollution in the Environment and Emerging Solutions," Journal of Renewable Materials, 7(12):1251-1268, 2019 (Invited).
  • Chen, W., Jin, K., Linda Wang, N. (2019). Use of Supercritical Water for the Liquefaction of Polypropylene into Oil. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 7(4) 3749-3758.
  • Chen, W., Zhang, Y., Lee, T.H., Wu, Z., Si, B., Lee, C.F., Lin, A., Sharma, B.K. (2018). Renewable diesel blendstocks produced by hydrothermal liquefaction of wet biowaste. Nature Sustainability, 1(11) 702.
  • Chen, W., Qian, W., Zhang, Y., Mazur, Z., Kuo, C., Scheppe, K., Schideman, L.C., Sharma, B.K. (2017). Effect of ash on hydrothermal liquefaction of high-ash content algal biomass. Algal Research, 25 297--306.
  • Chen, W., Zhang, Y., Zhang, J., Schideman, L., Yu, G., Zhang, P., Minarick, M. (2014). Co-liquefaction of swine manure and mixed-culture algal biomass from a wastewater treatment system to produce bio-crude oil. Applied Energy, 128 209--216.
  • Chen, W., Zhang, Y., Zhang, J., Yu, G., Schideman, L.C., Zhang, P., Minarick, M. (2014). Hydrothermal liquefaction of mixed-culture algal biomass from wastewater treatment system into bio-crude oil. Bioresource technology, 152 130-9.
  • Chen, W., Lin, C., Shih, P., Chang, W. (2012). Adsorption of phosphate into waste oyster shell: thermodynamic parameters and reaction kinetics. Desalination and Water Treatment, 47(1-3) 86-95.

Selected Presentations

Invited Talk:
  • "Biodegradable Mulch Films Produced from Soy-filled Polymer Resins," ACS Spring Conference (ACS Presidential Symposium: Sustainability: Advances and Applications), 2021 Apr., Virtual Conference.
  • Material Attributes of MSW that Impact the Quality for Hydrothermal Processes (HTP)," Environment-Enhancing Energy Workshop, 2021 Jan., Virtual Conference.
  • "Chemical Recycling of Plastic and Plastic Additives: Perspective on Industrial Applications," AICHE Annual Meeting (Waste Plastics Plenary), 2020 Nov., Virtual Conference.
  • "Waste Valorization for a Circular Economy," Invited Oral Presentation in ACS Fall Conference (Sustainable Green Chemistry: Bench to Market Symposium)", 2020 Aug., Virtual Conference.
  • "Chemical Recycling of Plastic Waste: Current State-of-the-art and Industrial Applications," the REMADE Institute Short Course Series, 2020 Jun.
  • "Fundamental material attributes of MSW that impact the quality necessary for various conversion pathways and feedstock end-uses" DOE BETO Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Workshop, Arlington, VA, 2020 Feb.
  • "Plastic Waste Valorization for a Circular Economy: Perspective on Chemical Recycling," French American Workshop-Responding to Plastic Pollution through Science: from research to action, Le Mans and Paris, France, 2019 Dec (Invited by French Embassy).
  • "Valorization of Textile Waste for a Circular Economy: Perspective on Chemical Recycling," 19th Annual Sukant Tripathy Memorial Symposium, Lowell, MA 2019 Dec.
Conference Presentations (*corresponding author):
  • Gregory Reimonn, Madison Reed, Demetre Fontaine, and Wan-Ting Chen*, "Microplastics: Biodegradation, Community, and Engagement," at New England Water Environment Association Annual Conference, Jan. 2021, Virtual Conference (Note: this is a Capstone Group).
  • Evan Yu, Taofeng Lu, and Wan-Ting Chen*, "Use of Diffusion Modeler to Help Identify Safer Solvents to Replace Dichloromethane for Conformal Coating Removal," Poster Presentation in AICHE Annual Meeting, Nov. 2020, Virtual Conference.
  • Kerry Candlen, Evan Yu, Md. Akiful Haque, Wan-Ting Chen*, Amy Peterson, and Jo Ann Ratto, "Identification of Critical Performance Properties for Barrier Materials in Hot Sauce Packaging for Meals Ready-to-Eat (MRE) Rations," Poster Presentation in AICHE Annual Meeting, Nov. 2020, Virtual Conference.
  • Lester Anderson and Wan-Ting Chen*, "Chemical Recycling of Mixed Plastics in the Electronic Waste Using Solvent-Based Processing," Oral Presentation in AICHE Annual Meeting, Nov. 2020, Virtual Conference.
  • Wan-Ting Chen*, "Valorization of Textile Waste for a Circular Economy: Perspective on Chemical Recycling," Oral Presentation in Polymers and Textiles Conference 2019, Nov. 2019, Lowell, MA.
  • Wan-Ting Chen*, "Chemical Recycling of Mixed Plastics and Valuable Metals in the Electronic Waste Using Solvent-Based Processing," Poster Presentation in 2019 REMADE Institute Annual Member Meeting, Oct. 2020, Rochester, NY.
  • Wan-Ting Chen*, "Organic Waste Valorization for a Circular Economy" Poster Presentation in 2019 Gordon Research Conference (GRC): Biomass to Biobased Chemicals and Materials, Jul 2019, Newry, ME.

Selected Intellectual Property

  1. Wan-Ting Chen, Nien-Hwa Linda Wang, and Jin Kai, "Methods of Converting Plastic Waste into Useful Stock," US 2019/0322832 A1, Oct.24, 2019.

Selected Contracts, Fellowships, Grants and Sponsored Research

  • Melt Processing Ocean Plastics Using Nanomaterials (2020), Grant - U.S. DOE SBIR, Chen, W., Mead, J.
  • Biocrude Oil and Biobased Polymer Production from Sewage Sludge via Hydrothermal Liquefaction (2020), Grant - Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center, Chen, W.
  • Chemical Recycling of Mixed Plastics and Precious Metals in the Electronic Wastes Using Solvent-based Processing (2019), Grant - The REMADE Institute, Chen, W.
  • Flame Retardant Textile Finishes (2019), Grant - HEROES US Army Natick Soldier RD&E Center SLIMMER Project, Chen, W., Nagarajan, R., Kumar, J.
  • Mulch Films from Soy Waste (2019), Grant - United Soybean Board, Chen, W., Mead, J.
  • Identification of Critical Performance Properties for Barrier Materials in Hot Sauce Packaging for Meals, Ready-to-Eat (MRE) Rations-Phase I (2019), Grant - Defense Logistics Agency, Chen, W., Peterson, A., Mead, J.
  • Safer Coating Strippers: Substitution of Methylene Chloride (2019), Contract - Toxics Use Reduction Institute, Chen, W.

Research Currently in Progress

  • Biodegradable Mulch Film from Agricultural Waste (2021), Grant - Independent University Alumni Association at Lowell, Inc., Chen, W.
  • Chemical Recycling of ABS from Toy Waste Using a Solvent-based Process (2020), Grant - Hasbro Inc., Chen, W.
  • Microplastic Pollution in Freshwater Systems: Impacts of Biofilm Formation on Microplastic Surfaces (2020), Grant - Massachusetts Water Resources Research Center, Chen, W., Pagsuyoin, S.
  • Identification of Critical Performance Properties for Barrier Materials in Hot Sauce Packaging for Meals, Ready-to-Eat (MRE) Rations-Phase II (2020), Grant - Defense Logistics Agency, Chen, W., Peterson, A.
  • Flame Retardant Textile Finishes (2019), Grant - HEROES US Army Natick Soldier RD&E Center SLIMMER Project, Chen, W., Nagarajan, R., Kumar, J.