CEE Seminar: Environmental Anaerobic Technology – Applications and Recent Developments in China and Japan

McDonnell Douglas Engineering Auditorium
Herbert Fang, Ph.D.

Emeritus Professor
Environmental Engineering
The University of Hong Kong

Abstract: Asia has been the world leader in the past few years in applying environmental anaerobic technology for various aspects of pollution control, particularly for the treatment of industrial wastewaters with recalcitrant pollutants and co-digestion of various semi-solid wastes. Anaerobic technology, also known as fermentation, has been applied by humans for millenia, initially for food preservation, which has developed into a number of products for the satisfaction of human’s spiritual and culinary appetites such as wine, beer and various kinds of food. More recently, the pharmaceutical industry has applied fermentation for the production of valuable medicines. In the past few decades, environmental engineers have made tremendous advancements in the applications of such technology. Although Americans are credited for its initial success in the late 1960s, this technology has, however, been mostly overlooked in North America in the past decades. This presentation will navigate through the technology's development and the gradual shift of its center of gravity from the U.S. to Europe and more recently to Asia, especially China and Japan. Dozens of recent slides will be presented on its wide range of applications in Asia for the treatment of wastewaters and semi-solid wastes. Special emphasis will be put on its applications for domestic wastewater and wastewater from petro-chemical/pharmaceutical industries, co-digestion of various wastes, and resource recovery. A number of case studies and recent developments will be discussed in more detail.

Bio: Herbert H.P. Fang is a fellow of ASCE and an emeritus professor (and former chair) of environmental engineering at the University of Hong Kong. He received a bachelor's degree from National Taiwan University (1965) and a doctorate from the University of Rochester (1972), followed by three years of postdocal research at University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign (1972-75). After 12 years of industrial experience in New York, he joined the University of Hong Kong in 1987 and taught there for 27 years until his retirement in 2014. Fang is an expert in environmental biotechnology and is the recipient of several prestigious research awards, including China’s State Scientific and Technological Advancement Award in 2008. He served on the editorial board of seven international journals and was an honorary/visiting professor of 11 universities in China and Taiwan. Since his 2014 retirement, Fang has continued to receive citations by over 4,000 SCI journal papers.