Contact Information

General Enquiry

Fax: +(852)-3442-0688
Address: G5703, 5/F, Yeung Kin Man Academic Building (YEUNG),
City University of Hong Kong,
Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR
Speaker Name
Dr. Amy Tan
Speaker Detail

Research Fellow
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

B5-307, 5/F, Yeung Kin Man Academic Building (YEUNG), City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong

School of Energy and Environment
City University of Hong Kong


Global challenges related to water, energy, resources, and environment pollution have become unrelenting with increasing global population and people moving from simple subsistence living to advanced industrial economies. Biotechnology is one of the key technologies for the management and up-cycling of organic wastes including wastewater and some industrial effluents. When biotechnology is coupled to other forms of technology, the types of treatable waste stream and resources/energy recovered become manifold, presenting holistic solutions to address current environmental issues.

At the core of biotechnology is the tiny microbe, which represents the simplest functional unit of life on Earth. Yet, the underlying microbiome, metabolism, including microbial synergy and competition of many widely-applied biotechnologies, are largely considered a black box. Through unravelling this intricate web of intra- and intercellular mechanisms, we could better exploit microbes' specialized functions for the development of sustainable and green technologies.

This presentation will describe how a multi-pronged and cross-disciplinary approach, comprising of thermodynamics, meta-omics, and engineering design, can be employed to study, prototype and advance waste-to-energy and waste-to-resource technologies. Specifically, new research directions and findings pertaining to anaerobic digestion for energy formation and microbial biopolymer polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) production will be presented. The translation of these scientific findings into practical applications and how these biotechnologies can be interfaced with other non-biological technologies to create waste management solutions would also be discussed and demonstrated.

About the Speaker

Amy Tan is a Research Fellow at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU). She also serves as a guest lecturer for undergraduate and postgraduate modules related to water and wastewater treatment. She received her PhD degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore.

Her research focuses on waste-to-energy and waste-to-resource (bio)technologies aimed at sustainable organic waste management and waste up-cycling (bio-energy and high-value bio-products). She is particularly interested in the underlying microbiome, metabolic mechanisms, and the exploitation of this knowledge to address existing environmental and industrial problems. She is also experienced in interfacing biotechnologies with non-biological technologies to create holistic waste-to-energy and waste-to-resource solutions. Currently, she is the Project Manager of one such project, spearheading PolyU’s first Wastewater-to-Energy research pilot plant at Stonecutters Island Sewage Treatment Works.

To date, she has published 15 research papers in peer-reviewed journals including Water Research, Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Waste Management. One of her papers, “Start a research on biopolymer polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA): a review”, ranks among the top 15 most cited articles in the journal Polymers. For her excellence in research and teaching, she has received The Hong Kong Institution of Engineers Outstanding Paper Award for Young Engineers/Researchers and The Singapore Ministry of Education Youth Science Conference Outstanding Mentor Award.