2024 Inductees

Daniel Yeh

Daniel H. Yeh, Ph.D.

Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering
University of South Florida

9 U.S. Patents

Daniel H. Yeh, Ph.D. is Professor of Environmental Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of South Florida, where he leads the Membrane Biotechnology Lab. Dr. Yeh also serves as a Visiting Professor at NASA Kennedy Space Center.

Dr. Yeh is an international leader in the areas of wastewater engineering and recycling; sustainable and resilient infrastructure; renewable bioenergy; global WaSH (water, sanitation, and hygiene); and life support systems for space travel. Dr. Yeh’s research efforts over the past two decades have focused on decentralized small systems for challenging environments at the water/energy/food nexus where sewers are not possible and safely managed drinking water is not readily available. His groundbreaking research led to the development of the NEWgenerator—a portable and self-contained, solar-powered toilet system that converts collected waste into fertilizer nutrients, renewable energy, and clean water to be used for crop irrigation and toilet flushing. The NEWgenerator operates completely off-grid, making it especially effective in areas where clean water and access to consistent power are scarce or unavailable.

Dr. Yeh’s work on the NEWgenerator began in 2011 with a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges Explorations grant and has since been deployed and tested extensively in India and South Africa—not only in informal settlements, where there is no functioning sewer system, but also in schools and housing projects. The Gates Foundation also selected the NEWgenerator to be showcased at the 2018 Reinvented Toilet Expo in Beijing, China.

Additionally, Dr. Yeh and his team launched the start-up company, BioReNEW, Inc., and have collaborated with industry partners worldwide to commercially produce and deploy the NEWgenerator. His inventions also include ICARUS, a floating membrane bioreactor for growing microalgae for biofuel using wastewater as a feedstock. Dr. Yeh is also working with collaborators at NASA to develop innovative wastewater treatment systems for the Artemis Program to establish permanent human presence on the Moon and eventually Mars.

A pioneer in his field, Dr. Yeh has secured over $13M in research funding and has received accolades across industry and academia for his breakthrough technologies, including the 2024 prestigious Association of University Technology Managers Better World Project Award. His work was also recognized by the US Patent and Trademark Office with the Patents for Humanity Award in 2020 and was highlighted in MIT Technology Review’s 10 Breakthrough Technologies of 2019. Additionally, in 2014, the NEWgenerator came in first place for the Cade Museum Prize for Innovation competition. Dr. Yeh is a Senior Member of the National Academy of Inventors and was selected by the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists as the 2023 Stanley E. Kappe Distinguished Lecturer to tour U.S. universities and share his invention journey of the NEWgenerator with other faculty and students. Dr. Yeh received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Michigan; earned his Ph.D. from Georgia Institute of Technology; and conducted postdoctoral research at Stanford University. He is a professional engineer, board certified environmental engineer, and a LEED accredited green building professional.