Our People

Meet Emma Shen

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Emma Shen

An expert in wastewater treatment plant performance assessments and process upgrades evaluation, process modeling and energy optimization, Dr. Ruqiao (Emma) Shen leads a Jacobs team at the forefront of the global conversation about the paradigm shift toward a low-carbon, low-energy and climate-resilient water sector.

As Global Principal for wastewater energy optimization and sector decarbonization, Emma regularly presents at industry conferences, and she’s also the youngest and newest member of Jacobs’ global wastewater team.

Emma partners with clients to help identify projects that contribute to energy and carbon neutrality goals, and she’s been working with our global water resilience team to develop and implement climate change resilience assessments for water resource recovery facilities.

“I’ve spent my career working to advance the paradigm shift toward a low-carbon, low-energy and climate-resilient water sector. With the world placing an increased emphasis on climate change adaptation, the multi-dimensional aspects of and uses for wastewater are garnering attention as municipal utilities seek to become more sustainable.”

Emma Shen

Emma Shen

Global Principal for Wastewater Energy Optimization & Sector Decarbonization, Jacobs

Emma holds a Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of Toronto and a bachelor of environmental engineering from Tsinghua University. She’s the current vice chair for the Water Environment Foundation’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Focus Group under the Residual and Biosolids Community. Prior to her tenure at Jacobs, she was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Toronto’s drinking water research group.

Emma exemplifies the future of Jacobs and our mission, designing innovative water and wastewater solutions that will truly change our world.

  • 2

    languages spoken: Chinese and English

  • 15 +

    energy optimization projects

  • 12

    countries traveled to solo

  • 4

    1,000 piece Lego sets built during the COVID-19 pandemic

Selected awards

American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists 40 Under 40 Award, 2022

Poster Session 2nd-Place Award; Nov 2014 AWWA Water Quality Technology Conference, New Orleans, LA

AWWA Academic Achievement Award - Doctoral Dissertation 1st Place; Feb 2014

Michael R. Provart Environmental Award, OWWA conference, Windsor, ON, Canada

Selected conference presentations

Global Lessons for Benchmarking and Reducing Fugitive Methane Emissions from Sludge Treatment and Biogas Handling. WEF/IWA Residuals and Biosolids Conference, Charlotte, NC, May 16-19, 2023

Role of Water Sector in the Global Decarbonization Effort. WEFTEC, New Orleans, LA, October 9-12, 2022

Water-Energy Nexus: Exploring Opportunities to Link Water Projects to Energy Independence and Sector Decarbonization. Singapore International Water Week, Singapore, April 17-21, 2022

Development of an Integrated Resource Recovery Strategy for the 630 ML/d Duffin Creek Water Pollution Control Plant. WEFTEC, Chicago, IL, October 16-20, 2021

Balancing Carbon for Energy Recovery and Nutrient Removal for the World’s Largest MBR Facility. WEFTEC Connect, October 5-9, 2020

Balancing Carbon for Energy Recovery and Biological Nutrient Removal – Design Considerations at the Tuas Water Reclamation Plant (TWRP). International Water Association (IWA) Young Water Professional Conference, Toronto, ON, June 24-26, 2019

Focus on Energy Recovery in Developing Capital Upgrades Recommendations Offers Many Benefits for Solids Management at Peel Region Wastewater Treatment Plants (co-author). WEF/IWA Residuals and Biosolids Conference, Fort Lauderdale, FL, May 7-10, 2019

Driving Initiatives – Toronto Water’s Twenty-Year Energy Optimization Plan. WEFTEC, New Orleans, LA, September 29–October 3, 2018

Development of a Twenty-Year Energy Optimization Plan for Toronto Water. WEAO Technical Conference, Ottawa, ON, April 2-4, 2017*

Moving Towards Net-Zero Energy at Wastewater Treatment Plants – Technology Review and Outlook for Toronto Water Facilities. WEAO Technical Conference, Niagara Fall, ON, April 10-12, 2016