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SEE Tech Talk Series on Waste Management and Treatment
Speaker Name
Dr. Alicia AN, Dr. Shauhrat CHOPRA, Dr. Yun Hau NG
Tin Ka Ping Lecture Theatre (LT-1), 4/F, Yeung Kin Man Academic Building (YEUNG), City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Language: English

Brief description

SEE has been undertaking cutting-edge research to address urgent energy- and environment-related issues in three categories: (1) sustainable technologies for energy, environment and health, (2) urban atmospheric and aquatic environment and (3) smart and healthy cities. In this SEE Tech Talk Series, three SEE faculty members will present their ongoing research on Waste Management and Treatment.

Abstracts & Speakers

Topic 1 – Energy-efficient Emerging Membrane Technologies for Wastewater Treatment and Resource Recovery
Dr. Alicia AN, Assistant Professor

The unprecedented demand for water, energy, and food, coupled with the impact of climate change, has presented serious global challenges. The inextricable linkage among the water-energy-food nexus makes a vibrant research question for many scientists to explore innovative technologies for achieving global sustainable development. Hong Kong is no exception to this challenge and to strengthen the growing city’s water security, a new desalination plant has been commissioned. At the same time, considering the excessive concentration of nutrients in Hong Kong’s wastewater, many studies now focus on the development of new technologies with the potential to recover resource from wastewater.

To meet this challenge, a paradigm shift has occurred from conventional centralized water treatment systems to the implementation of decentralized systems. At present, the solution has been mainly to implement decentralized systems for desalination or industrial wastewater treatment and reuse, predominantly using reverse osmosis (RO) technology. However, there exist sectors in wastewater treatment where the rigid operational requirements posed by RO can be limiting. For these niches, membrane-based water and wastewater treatment/reuse/desalination technologies are gaining recognition for their practical applicability where RO is found to be inefficient. In this talk, Dr. An will introduce energy-efficient emerging membrane technologies for wastewater treatment and resource recovery.

About the Speaker
Dr. An received her PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). Her dissertation on sludge minimization mechanism in Oxic-Settling-Anaerobic process in wastewater treatment system was well received and cited. Since 2009, Dr. An has extended her research and education career with Sustainability concept at the University of Tokyo, Japan.  She has conducted several research projects and field work focused on sustainable water management and urban development.

Topic 2 – Data-driven Decision Making for Waste Management and Resource Efficiency: Path to a Circular Economy
Dr. Shauhrat CHOPRA, Assistant Professor

In the 2017 Policy Address, the Hong Kong Government committed to combat climate change by reducing carbon emission up to 70% by 2030. The adoption of a circular economy over a traditional linear economy is one of the key routes to achieve a low carbon future that can mitigate Hong Kong’s waste management crisis as well. Despite the inherent benefits of the circular economy, its adoption is low due to the lack of data and tools for improving resource efficiency and waste management. In this talk, Dr Shauhrat S. Chopra will highlight the utility of tools such as Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). In addition to well-established tools like LCA for data-driven decision making, the talk will also showcase the opportunity for the development of novel Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) tools. In particular, blockchain enabled data-driven tools may have the capability to improve trust and transparency in supply-chain networks, platforms for shared and performance economy, stakeholder participation, and governance and management of organizations. For this reason, Dr Chopra will share the potential opportunities and limitations of the blockchain technology for circular economy applications. Finally, the talk will emphasize the significance of data-driven tools and systems analytics to avoid unintended negative consequences of engineering decisions on the environment.

About the Speaker
Dr. Shauhrat CHOPRA obtained his Integrated Masters of Science in Systems Biology from the University of Hyderabad, India in 2011. He received his PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the Swanson School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, USA, in 2015. His doctoral dissertation was focused on resilience of complex systems including economic systems, industrial symbiosis, and critical infrastructure systems at urban and national levels. Before joining the School of Energy and Environment, Shauhrat worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Institute for Environmental Science and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, on the U.S. EPA funded LCnano project focused on sustainable design of future transformative nano-enabled products. His data-driven research is focused on designing indicators for sustainability and resilience of the built environment in support of environmental decision-making.

Topic 3 – Extraction of Molecular Hydrogen from Wastewater
Dr. Yun Hau NG, Associate Professor

Molecular hydrogen (H2) is a clean energy carrier with high energy density. It is also a chemical reagent for petroleum refining as well as ammonia production. Currently, major production way is based on fossil fuel transformation, including the steam reformation of methane. Water splitting is another popular potential way in producing H2 with low or zero carbon footprint but water decomposition is a thermodynamically challenging reaction. Wastewater containing organic pollutants such as pharmaceutical wastewater, leachate, and industrial process water, on the other hand, can be potentially used to produce H2 with reduced energy requirement during the oxidative removal of such organic carbon inherently present in the water stream. In this presentation, we examine a few potential methods to simultaneously oxidise the organic component (pollutant) in the water and reduce the proton to liberate molecular H2. In particular, electrocatalysis, photocatalysis and photoelectrocatalysis would be discussed. Challenges encountered in this waste-to-energy conversion process will be shared in the talk.

About the Speaker
Dr. Yun Hau NG received his B. Sc. (Industrial Chemistry) from the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia in 2003 and his Ph.D from Osaka University (under supervision of Prof. Michio Matsumura) in 2009. After a brief research stay at the Radiation Laboratory, the University of Notre Dame (Prof. Prashant Kamat's group), he joined the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Functional Nanomaterials at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) with the Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship (APD) in 2011. In 2014, he took up a lecturer position at the School of Chemical Engineering, UNSW and was promoted to a tenured Senior Lecturer in 2016.

Dr. Ng’s research is focused on the development of novel photoactive semiconductors system (particles and thin films) for sunlight energy-to-chemicals conversion and storage. Focusing on these topics, he has secured more than AUD$3 million research funding in the last 7 years from various sources including the Australian Research Council. As of April 2018, he has published more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles including well-recognised journals such as Chem. Rev., Adv. Mater., Adv. Energy Mater., JACS, Energy Environ. Sci, Nano Energy, Small and Chem. Mater. Dr. Ng is currently serving as Editorial Board Member for Scientific Reports and Frontiers in Energy Research. He has also served as a Guest Editor in special issues for Catal. Today (Elsevier), ChemPlusChem (Wiley), Particle and Particle Systems Characterizations (Wiley), and Energies (MDPI).

Dr. Ng has received The Distinguished Lectureship Award from the Chemical Society of Japan in 2018. He was previously named the Honda-Fujishima Prize winner in 2013 as the first non-Japanese recipient, in recognition of his work in the area of photo-driven water splitting. He is also an Emerging Investigator in Energy Materials selected by RSC J. Mater. Chem. A in 2016.


09:15 – 9:30 Registration
09:30 – 9:35 Opening Remark
Dr. Denis YU, Associate Professor
09:35 – 0:05 Energy-efficient Emerging Membrane Technologies for Wastewater Treatment and Resource Recovery
Dr. Alicia AN, Assistant Professor
10:05 – 0:35 Data-driven Decision Making for Waste Management and Resource Efficiency: Path to a Circular Economy
Dr. Shauhrat CHOPRA, Assistant Professor
10:35 – 0:45 Tea Break
10:45 – 1:15 Extraction of Molecular Hydrogen from Wastewater
Dr. Yun Hau NG, Associate Professor
10:35 – 0:45 Q&A Session


End of Event

Note: Attendance certificates will be issued to attendees at the end of the event.