PLENARY SPEAKERS

Ahmad Fauzi ISMAIL

Prof. Dr. Ahmad Fauzi ISMAIL, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Malaysia

Our planet is rapidly running out of clean fresh water as the consequences of natural and human factors in the context of the unequal level of economic development, technological capacity and excessive water pollution. Membrane-based water treatment processes have emerged as engineering solutions to provide immediate solutions to this growing crisis. Over years, membrane technology has been widely accepted as a means of producing high quality treated water from various sources including surface water, well water, brackish water and seawater. Membrane technology has also been used in industrial wastewater treatment for recycling and reclamation purposes. In the last decade, a steep rise in the level of nanotechnology research efforts has been observed worldwide. Science-based technology, particularly nanotechnology, has offered a great extent in material improvements. The integration of nanomaterials in membrane-based water treatment processes in terms of materials and systems enhancement has been acknowledged as the unprecedented key to overwhelm the barriers and limitations that are facing current membrane technology. The innovative research progresses prompt a wide range of engineered nanomaterials to hold vast potential in advancing membrane-based separation to improve the overall efficiency as well as to reduce environmental footprint. This presentation provides the insights into the advances driven by membrane technology to resolve the global water issues. Emphasis is placed on the fabrication of nano-enabled membranes where the membrane structures can be carefully tailored and controlled through the incorporation of engineered nanomaterials. The innovations and challenges faced in the lab scale and commercial scale development of membrane technology for desalination and wastewater treatment will be presented.

Ahmad Fauzi Ismail is Professor at School of Chemical and Energy Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, UTM. Currently Ahmad Fauzi is the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Research and Innovation, UTM. He is the founder of Advanced Membrane Technology Research Center which is recognized as Higher Education Centre of Excellence at the national level.

He is the author of over 700 papers in refereed journals and 50 book chapters. He has authored or co-authored 6 books and edited or co-edited 8 books. He has been granted 9 patents and filed 21 patents. His current h-index and total citations is 68 and 20,742. He received more than 120 awards at both National and International level.

Ahmad Fauzi served as the Chief Editor (Water Treatment and Desalination), Emergent Materials journal; Engineering Editor for The Arabian Journal for Science and Engineering journal, and Editor-in Chief for Journal of Applied Membrane Science & Technology.

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Jules van LIER

Prof. Dr. Jules van LIER, Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands

Since the early 2000, anaerobic membrane bioreactors (AnMBRs) have been increasingly researched for their feasibility and practical applications. In AnMBRs, biomass and particulate organic matter are physically retained inside the reactor, providing optimal conditions for organic matter degradation. AnMBRs represent an attractive treatment option for industrial wastewaters and/or slurries at extreme conditions, such as high salinity, high temperature, high concentrations of suspended solids (SS), high lipid concentrations and/or the presence of refractory compounds. The solids-free effluent facilitates physicochemical downstream processing of the permeate e.g. with reverse osmosis (RO) for cost-effective water recovery.

Thus far, all full-scale AnMBR applications concern industrial wastewater. However, there exist a growing interest for the treatment of domestic and municipal sewage, concomitantly opting for water reclamation. Since macronutrients such as ammonium and orthophosphates are not removed by anaerobic bioprocesses and pathogens largely can be retained by the membrane unit, permeates of AnMBRs are certainly of interest for agricultural use. However, with the increased hydraulic flows, achievable membrane fluxes and thus membrane fouling phenomena, will determine the economics of the plant. At present our research focuses on the online measurement of sludge filterability, opting for automated control of the membrane flux.

The presentation will summarize recent developments on AnMBR and will discuss future potentials.

Jules van Lier is full professor “Wastewater Treatment / Environmental Engineering” at the Section Sanitary Engineering of Delft University of Technology, with a 0.2 fte seconded position at UN-IHE, Delft. He received both his MSc and PhD from Wageningen University, The Netherlands, and is specialized in Anaerobic Treatment technology, currently having a strong research focus on anaerobic membrane bioreactors (AnMBR). He (co-)authored over 250 scientific papers and book chapters and has an H-index of 50. Jules van Lier chaired the IWA Anaerobic Digestion Specialist group between 2001 and 2009 and became nominated member of the IWA Fellow programme in 2011.

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How Yong Ng

Prof. Dr. How Yong Ng , National University of Singapore , Singapore

Severity of countries facing water stress has been found to be increasing, particularly in Asia and Africa, because of climate change. And water has always been a precious and strategic commodity that plays a crucial role in our survival and societal development. For regions facing the shortage of water, water reuse is a viable solution that is being widely adopted. And membrane technologies have been and will continue to play a key role in water reuse to combat water scarcity issues.

One of the membrane technologies that are widely used for water reuse is the membrane bioreactor. Membrane bioreactor (MBR) combines conventional activated sludge process to biologically treat wastewater and filtration process to separate treated water from biomass. Advances in MBRs were so rapid and successful in the last couple of decades that the number of full-scale installations increased exponentially, in part because of the increasing confidence in this technology and the decreasing start-up costs. However, membrane fouling, whereby membrane pores are being clogged by foulants has always been a challenging issue that can impeded its widespread adoption. In this presentation, the performance of MBR, factors affecting membrane fouling and research & development on MBR technology for water reuse and fouling mitigation shall be discussed. In addition, latest development in anaerobic MBR for water reuse shall also be discussed.

Professor How Yong Ng is a Provost Chair’s Professor of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the National University of Singapore (NUS). He also currently serves as the Director of the NUS Environmental Research Institute and the Director of the Sembcorp-NUS Corporate Laboratory. His research focuses on biological treatment processes including modelling, membrane processes, membrane bioreactor for water reuse and microbial electrochemical sensor for heavy metal detection.

He had contributed to more than 350 publications in referred international journals and conference papers. Professor Ng is an Associate Editor of Water Research and an Editor of the Journal of Water Reuse and Desalination. He is a Fellow of the International Water Association (IWA) and is currently the Vice-Chair of the IWA Membrane Technology Specialist Group (MTSG) and the President of the Environmental Engineering Society of Singapore (EESS).

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Noreddine GHAFFOUR

Prof. Dr. Noreddine GHAFFOUR, KAUST, Saudi Arabia

The current desalination technologies are very energy-intensive compared to the thermodynamic limits, despite recent technical improvements. Furthermore, membrane technology development is hampered by relatively low flux performances and membrane (bio) fouling. Several countries have realized that they are not going to be protected from the future global energy crisis and have started to set up plans to diversify their energy resources, e.g. renewable energy, and development of innovative low-energy desalination technologies. There is therefore a need to develop more suitable integrated technologies. In previous work we have shown that these new technologies can significantly lower the specific energy consumption. In this talk, emerging desalination technologies developed by our group, mainly membrane distillation, forward osmosis, and adsorption desalination and hybrid systems will be presented, with a focus on one specific case study, and supported by experimental and simulation results.

Noreddine Ghaffour is a Professor at the WDRC at KAUST. He has over 27 years of experience in the field of drinking water treatment technologies, and has specialized in the area of membrane and thermal desalination processes. Over the years, he has made major contributions becoming an internationally recognized expert in desalination technologies and its related fields. He obtained his PhD from Montpellier University, France, in 1995. He is the author of over 300 journal and conference publications, several patents and chapters in textbooks. He is a frequent keynote speaker in international conferences, seminars and workshops. He also has experience in scaling-up innovative desalination processes and start-ups.

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WANG

Prof. Dr. Rong WANG , Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Water scarcity is receiving increasing attention worldwide and becoming more challenging in view of expanding population, climate change and socio-economic activities. Membrane filtration and separation technologies have been widely used for water reuse and seawater desalination, but most of these processes are energy-intensive. Thus it is important to further develop highly-effective and energy-efficient membrane-based water treatment technologies to address the challenge imposed by the water-energy nexus.

As a nation with limited natural resources, Singapore has been actively involved in the membrane related activities in various levels. This presentation will highlight our efforts in developing novel membranes at the Singapore Membrane Technology Centre (SMTC). In particular, the developments of biomimetic membranes, low-pressure nanofiltration (NF) membranes and membrane distillation will be introduced in terms of membrane formation, modification and scale-up production for effective water reuse and desalination.

Prof. Wang is a Full Professor and Chair in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. She also holds the position of Director, Singapore Membrane Technology Centre (SMTC). Prof. Wang is an expert in Membrane Science and Technology, with over 250 SCI journal publications (citation: >12,000; h-index: 63 @ Web of Science). She is an Editor of Journal of Membrane Science and sits in the Editorial Board of Desalination.

Prof. Wang was featured among the top 25 leading water researchers globally by Lux Research in 2013, and was the winner of Singapore Minister for National Development R&D Award in 2013. She received a prestigious “Alternative Water Prize” from Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW) of Saudi Arabia in 2016, and Nanyang Research Award in 2018. She was appointed to President’s Chair in Civil and Environmental Engineering at NTU in 2019.

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