Sustainability: Supporting Resource Circularity

Date: 5 October, Thursday
Time: 11.30am – 1.30pm


This breakout session will see speakers present key projects on circular economy including ongoing/completed projects from different sectors.  


About the Speakers


Dr Chan Wei Ping resized

Dr Chan Wei Ping
Senior Research Fellow for Residues and Resource Reclamation Centre (R3C)
Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI)
Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

Dr Chan Wei Ping is currently a Senior Research Fellow at Residues and Resource Reclamation Centre (R3C), Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI), Nanyang Technological University (NTU). He holds a PhD and Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering from NTU. His research interests include circular economy, waste management, carbon capture, storage and utilisation with wastes. 


Topic: Producing Slag from Sludge and Exploring its use in Structural Applications

A recent development at Waste-to-Energy Research Facility (WTERF) – a demonstration-scale research facility that uses high-temperature slagging gasification process to convert diverse waste streams into high quality and highly stable slag while recovering the energy in the wastes – provides an attractive alternative thermal treatment approach for sludge and ash. This presentation will share insights on the long-term technical evaluation for the use of sludge-derived slag as alternative construction aggregate for structural applications as well as enhanced resource recovery from sludge through high temperature slagging gasification process.



Mr Alec Liu
Project Manager
Zerowaste Asia (ZA)

Alec Liu is currently a Project Manager at Zerowaste Asia. He possesses over 10 years of R&D experience in solid waste treatment and utilization. Past research project domains include incineration fly ash treatment, coal ash utilization, treatment of wastewater containing heavy metals, and recovery of precious metals in industrial wastewater. His special expertise areas include environmental standard setting, industrial waste utilization practices in different countries, and conversion of industrial solid waste into construction materials.


Topic: Converting Waterworks Sludge to Lightweight Aggregates

Freshwater sludge is a byproduct from drinking water treatment plants. The high water content and heavy metals in the sludge limit the suitability for its direct use in construction. The current disposal practice of freshwater sludge is landfilling. Thus, there is a need to divert freshwater sludge from landfill and upcycle it as alternative construction materials. Using freshwater sludge to make lightweight aggregates (LWAs) is a promising solution, because it transforms sludge into high-value materials and avoids secondary pollutions. LWA is an essential component of lightweight concrete with thermal insulation and soundproof properties. It is also a gardening medium for green roof and soilless gardening. In this study, LWAs produced have engineering performance similar to commercial LWAs, and their heavy metal leaching is similar to or even lower than other construction materials. Lightweight concrete and gardening soil made with the LWAs show superior performance which can meet relevant specifications.


Mr Lan Weiguang resized

Dr Lan Weiguang
Suntar Environmental Technology Co Ltd
*Note: The presenter was replaced by Mr Lan Yihong

Professor Lan Weiguang is the founder of Suntar International Group, a renowned process and engineering solutions provider. Suntar specializes in advanced membrane technology development and application. Since its establishment in 1996, Suntar has expanded its capabilities across the entire membrane industry value chain to include materials production, process development, equipment fabrication, system integration, on-site installation, and after-sales service. Professor Lan built Suntar around a unique RDPA (Research-Development-Pilot Testing-Application) business model. Additionally, under Dr Lan’s leadership, Suntar Research has published over 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals, developed over 500 proprietary applied membrane processes, and currently owns over 150 authorized patents.


Topic: Inspirations from Seawater Lithium Extraction Research

Presently, lithium is mainly extracted from challenging-to-mine lithium mines and limited salt lakes. Surveys indicate approximately 23 billion tons of lithium reserves in seawater. However, seawater's lithium concentration is only about 0.21 ppm, rendering traditional extraction processes ineffective.

This project aims to develop an on-site prototype for an ion-selective membrane extraction process for lithium mining from the brines of seawater reverse osmosis to produce pure lithium salts at PUB seawater desalination plants. We will design a high-flow-through electrochemical prototype integrating with lithiophilic ceramic membranes to allow selective lithium extraction among other competing ions.

We are enthusiastic about the potential of extracting lithium from seawater, but we believe we can fully unlock the ocean's inherent value only through comprehensive seawater utilization. This would create new avenues for marine industries and foster opportunities for the sustainable growth of our oceans.


Dr Goh Chee Keong resized

Dr Goh Chee Keong
Senior Manager
Environmental Technology Centre
Republic Polytechnic (RP)

Dr Goh Chee Keong is a Senior Manager at Republic Polytechnic’s Environmental Technology Centre (ENV TC). Dr Goh spearheads R&D efforts at the Centre and he has a proven track record in leading research groups with extensive works in waste management solutions. He leads academic staff to propose, execute and facilitate the participation in multi-disciplinary technology development projects across the schools within Republic Polytechnic. He also focuses on building close collaborative relationships with enterprises, research institutes and institutes of higher learnings (IHLs) for joint development projects. His research supports Singapore’s zero waste goal and is supported by major government funds. He is actively contributing to scientific and industrial research to develop technologies and solutions to tackle challenges posed by increasing waste generation, scarcity of resources and land constraints for waste management.  


Topic: Giving Incineration Ash a Value

Municipal Solid Waste Incineration (MSWI) ash, which are solid residues produced during incineration, consists of a mixture of crystalline and amorphous phases. They are potentially used as secondary resources, such as aggregates, fillers, etc. However, they contain leachable toxic metals and are classified as hazardous waste. Dr Goh will speak on his project which aims to develop a cost-effective, scalable, and eco-friendly technology to treat MSWI ash for potential use as aggregates or fillers. In this technology, the MSWI ash is encapsulated in a way that binds and immobilises toxic heavy metals present in MSWI ash and prevents their leaching out to the environment. This R&D project with industry-academia collaboration will benefit the local industry players per se and has worldwide benefits through the valorisation of MSWI ash into green aggregate, fillers, etc.


Dr Wong Sook Fun resized

Dr Wong Sook Fun
Lead Scientist (Built Environment)
Temasek Polytechnic (TP)

Dr Wong Sook Fun is Lead Scientist (Built Environment) and former Head of Centre for Urban Sustainability and Senior Lecturer at Temasek Polytechnic (TP). She is the Immediate Past President and Current Director of American Concrete Institute-Singapore Chapter (ACI-SC).

Dr Wong represents TP in the Centre Of Innovation Built Environment-Advanced Materials (COIBE-AM) as Deputy Chair to achieve innovative project deliverables and industry engagements under the Enterprise Singapore (ESG}’s Innovation Infrastructure Funding. She is also the Co-Chairperson of TP Environment Sustainability Technology Cluster Committee as well as a Member in the Technical Committee for Singapore Green Building Council (SGBC).


Topic: An Integrated System to Produce Recycled Mixed Plastic Ingredients and Composites for Infrastructural Applications

Funded by NEA’s Closing the Waste Loop Funding Initiative, Temasek Polytechnic (TP) has developed formulations to process mixed waste plastics (i.e., LDPE, HDPE, PP, PS, PET) as secondary raw materials in building and infrastructural materials. Near Infra-Red (NIR) technology has been configured with a database of different plastic signatures and established a model to control the consistency of mixed plastic composition at the standardisation tank is intended for the specific applications, e.g., polymer modified asphaltic wearing course and concrete footpath. Currently, mixed plastics polymer modified asphalt which was developed jointly with TP’s industry collaborator is used in the asphalt road pavement trial, whereas the mixed plastics aggregates is used in the concrete footpath trial. TP is currently monitoring the environmental impacts of the road wearing course and concrete footpath.Learn more about TP's efforts in this session.


Dr Li Xiaodong resized

Dr Li Xiaodong
Advanced Materials Technology Centre (AMTC)
Singapore Polytechnic

Dr. Li Xiaodong is an accomplished professional and expert in solar cell manufacturing and recycling technologies. As the manager at Singapore Polytechnic's Advanced Materials Technology Centre (AMTC), he leads the PV module recycling project and is the inventor of innovative processes and a pilot plant for PV module recycling. With 15 years of experience, Dr. Li's research focuses on clean technology and materials recycling, including wafer cleaning, precious metal recycling (Ag and Au), PV recycling, and incineration ash recycling. He has published over 20 papers, filed 11 patents, and established a successful research group at Singapore Polytechnic dedicated to developing sustainable recycling methods and converting waste into resources. Dr. Li's expertise and passion for sustainability make him a sought-after collaborator, driving environmentally conscious solutions in solar panel recycling and beyond.


Topic: Reclaiming the Sun: Sustainable Solutions for Solar Panel Recycling

Global green initiatives have spurred a surge in solar panel installations, but improper disposal of end-of-life panels poses environmental risks. Our innovative one-stop solution achieves a over 90% reclaim rate for recycling crystalline silicon PV. Efficiently recycling modules and breaking down panels using eco-friendly chemicals, our process has been proven effective in tests using a continuous semi-automated pilot plant. Recycling around 80 commercial panels daily (1.7m x 1m), we demonstrate scalability and efficiency. With readiness for industry-wide scaling, we lead the adoption of sustainable practices in solar panel recycling, reclaiming and repurposing a significant portion of panels while mitigating landfill risks. Join us to revolutionize solar panel waste management, reduce footprints, and build a greener, sustainable future through partnerships and industry-wide adoption.


Dr Ge Liya resized

Dr Ge Liya
Senior Research Fellow
Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

Dr. Ge Liya is a Senior Research Fellow at NTU, where she specializes in sensing technologies, portable devices for on-site applications, and the development of analytical methods for environmental contaminants. With her extensive experience in these fields, Dr. Ge has made significant contributions to various projects related to sensor development, waste characterization and treatment, resource recovery, and on-site testing of heavy metals and other environmental pollutants in waste-derived products. Her expertise lies in the intersection of scientific research and practical applications. Her work focuses on designing and implementing innovative solutions that address critical challenges in the environmental field. Dr. Ge's dedication to her field is evident in her commitment to advancing scientific knowledge and finding practical solutions to real-world problems. Her research and contributions have the potential to revolutionize how we approach environmental monitoring and waste management, leading to more sustainable and environmentally friendly practices.


Topic: Portable Micro Total Analysis System for Rapid On-Site Determination of Heavy Metals and Phenolic Compounds 

The presence of heavy metal ions and phenolic compounds in waste materials poses significant public health risks due to their high toxicity. Detecting these analytes in a timely, cost-effective, and accurate manner is crucial for preventing outbreaks. Dr Ge and her team have designed a portable micro total analysis system that enables rapid on-site determination of heavy metals and other pollutants, especially in trace amounts found in waste materials. Unlike the existing approach, which requires a large quantity of samples for 18-24 hours leaching process followed by several hours of measurements, this portable system combined with other innovative solutions requires far less sample quantity and enables a layman to accomplish the tests on-site within an hour. By employing these innovative solutions, the team aims to revolutionise the detection of heavy metal ions and phenolic compounds in waste materials. Learn more about their system in this session.


Prof Yu Liu resized

Dr Liu Yu

Assoc Prof Xiaoyuan Zhang resized

Dr Zhang Xiaoyuan

Dr Liu Yu
Professor of Environmental Engineering
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Nanyang Technological University (NTU)


Dr Zhang Xiaoyuan
Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering
College of Environmental Science and Engineering
Nankai University of China

Dr Liu Yu is a professor of Environmental Engineering in School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Nanyang Technological University of Singapore. His research primarily focuses on innovative technologies of laboratory scale to pilot demonstration for wastewater and biosolids management with specific interests in energy/resource recovery, energy and carbon neutrality towards the urban and water sustainability.

Dr Zhang Xiaoyuan is an associate professor of environmental engineering in College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Nankai University of China. Dr Zhang has been working on low-carbon integrated processes for energy and resource recovery from wastewater and biosolids, while she also has strong experience in the development of functional materials and related engineering processes for decontamination of radioactive water, with more than 30 journal articles published. Currently she is in charge of setting up the Engineering Laboratory of Low-Carbon Unconventional Water Resources Utilization and Water Quality Assurance at Nankai University.


Topic: Circular Economy-Driven Food Waste Valorisation for Zero Solid Discharge: From laboratory to field trial

According to Food and Agriculture Organization, approximately one-third of food intended for human consumption was wasted in 2020. In many countries, incineration of food waste after simple recycling has been commonly practiced, resulting in high energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, ashes generation etc. In this instance, the zero solid discharge-driven resource recovery under circular economy framework will game-change future food waste management towards environmental and economic sustainability