Eric Hoek (’96, ’14)

Eric is co-founder and CEO of Water Planet, a company that is extending the range of membrane filtration to enable effective, reliable and affordable treatment of the world’s most challenging waters for use, recycle or reuse.

For over two decades, Dr. Eric Hoek has dedicated his life’s work to education, research, engineering, innovation, entrepreneurial and philanthropic activities related to his passion – clean water. He currently serves as the CEO of Water Planet, Inc., which offers the world’s first smart membrane filtration technology. Water Planet's products include PolyCera membranes and IntelliFlux controls, which offer a new level of productivity, reliability and affordability in water filtration. Their key markets are industrial wastewater (treatment, recycling and reuse) and drinking water purification.

In the 1990’s, Eric earned B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in engineering from Penn State University, UCLA and Yale University, respectively. Since the late 1990’s, he has focused his teaching, research, consulting and entrepreneurial efforts on understanding and improving membrane materials, modules, processes and systems applied to drinking water treatment, wastewater treatment, desalination, oil & gas produced water, municipal and industrial water reuse and environmental remediation.

Prior to Water Planet, Eric was an engineering professor at UCLA and UC Riverside from 2002 to 2014 raising over $4.5M in external research funding as a principal investigator. In 10 years at UCLA, he helped create the Water Technology Research Center, the UC Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology and the KAUST-Cornell Center for Energy & Sustainability with a combined $52M in external research funding.

“I have had the pleasure of being a graduate student and a professor at UCLA," said Dr. Hoek. "Both experiences helped shape my professional career and preparation for being an entrepreneur."

Several of his patented inventions serve as the basis for 4 separate water technology startup companies including NanoH2O (acquired by LG Chem in 2014), Water Planet, PolyCera Technologies (acquired by Water Planet in 2013), and Hydrophilix.

Currently, he is the Editor-in-Chief of the Nature Publishing Group journal npj Clean Water, and he is under contract by J. Wiley & Sons to author a textbook on Membrane Science & Technology. Previously, he was associate editor of the international journal Desalination and he coedited the Encyclopedia of Membrane Science & Technology. Google Scholar recognizes 189 scientific publications with over 13,800 citations and an H-Index of 51.

He has served as a technical advisor on numerous municipal and industrial water and wastewater treatment, recycling, reuse and desalination projects as well as a consultant to water technology startups, hedge funds, venture capital funds, law firms, private research foundations, non-profit foundations, US federal, state and local agencies and foreign national research agencies. In the summer of 2010, he served as the chief technical advisor to Ocean Therapy Solutions during the cleanup of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In 2012, he embarked on a 5-year collaboration with Global Classrooms for Peace to improve sanitation and drinking water for villages and settlements on remote islands of Fiji.