ASCE has honored Boya Wang; Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown; Chen Zhou; Yihao Luo; Bruce E. Rittmann, Ph.D., Dist.M.ASCE, NAE, and Youneng Tang with the 2021 Rudolph Hering Medal for the paper “Modeling Trichloroethene Reduction, Methanogenesis, and Homoacetogenesis in a H2-Based Biofilm,” published in the February 2020 issue of Journal of Environmental Engineering.

In this nominated work, researchers develop a one-dimensional, multispecies H₂-based biofilm model to simulate the interactions among six solid biomass species [Dehalococcoides, Geobacter, methanogens, homoacetogens, inert biomass (IB), and extracellular polymeric substances (EPS)] and 10 dissolved chemical species [TCE, dichloroethene (DCE), vinyl chloride (VC), ethene, hydrogen (H2), methane, acetate, bicarbonate, utilization associated products (UAP), and biomass associated products (BAP)]. To evaluate and parameterize the model, parameter values from the literature were put into the model to simulate conditions reported for an experiment. The biomass species distribution in the biofilm and the chemical species concentrations in the reactor effluent at a steady state were generally consistent between the experiments and the model. The predicted 15-μm biofilm consisted of three layers, each dominated by a different active biomass type: homoacetogens in the layer next to the membrane, Geobacter in the biofilm surface layer (next to the water), and Dehalococcoides in-between.

The Rudolph Hering Medal recognizes outstanding papers that contribute to the advancement of the environmental branch of the engineering profession.