Environmental Sustainability

Rapid urbanization has brought a series of challenges for the sustainability of our environment, and currently the main environmental problems that we are facing include environmental pollution, ecosystem destruction, alternative energy and waste disposal. At HKBU SCIENCE, we are committed to innovative research on environment and energy, including the invention of new materials for efficient use of renewable energy; and the development of innovative technology for valorization of food waste to promote efficient management and energy recovery of food waste.

New Materials for Energy Efficiency

Worldwide power consumption is estimated to be doubled by 2050, making clean renewable energy sources critical for sustainable development. Harvesting of solar energy using solar cells becomes a promising venture to solve the global energy crisis and environmental pollution problem. Lighting also accounts for approximately 20% of total power used and the general adoption of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) could potentially lead to 10% reduction in overall consumption. The team investigates the materials, device structures, and processes for developing new, highly stable and efficient organic LEDs and solar cells based on conjugated polymers and molecular materials, and explores their applications in our daily life.

Professor Cheah Kok Wai
Department of Physics

The team is seeking to contribute not only to industrial applications, but also to the fundamental understanding of underlying principles and basic sciences of the material being investigated.  

New Technology for Food Waste Management

About 3,600 tonnes of food waste is generated daily in Hong Kong, representing some 40% of the municipal solid waste (MSW). The ever-increasing quantity of food waste is not only threatening the lifespan of the territory’s landfills, but also the cause of global warming through greenhouse emission.

Traditionally, anaerobic digestion is a viable treatment option as it produces energy and simultaneously diverts the waste from landfilling. However, it is not efficient in energy production due to the rapid production of acid that upsets the digester function, which results in decreasing fermentation efficiency and inefficient methane recovery.

Professor Jonathan Wong
Department of Biology

A breakthrough two-phase AD reactor design has been developed which successfully separates the acid production and acid consumption phase with the advantages of optimizing the reactors individually, and in the same time diverting off-gas from the first-phase acidogenic reactor to the second-phase methanogenic reactor. This technology has the potential to increase the rate of digestion, stability of the reactors, overall energy recovery from food waste, and reduces the environmental impact.