Distinguished Guest

Mr. Kam-sing Wong, GBS, JP

Secretary for the Environment
The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

Mr KS Wong
Mr. Kam-sing Wong

Keynote Speech-1

Genomic and Proteomic Insights into Syntrophy and Its Role in Biomethanation in Engineered Habitats

Prof. Michael J. McInerney
University of Oklahoma, USA

Controlled biological production of methane, or biomethanation, is expected to offset demand for natural gas, a fossilized fuel source. However, our basic understanding of the biochemical processes involved in syntrophy is currently limited, and this impacts our ability to model and control the conversion of renewable resources to methane in engineering habitats such as landfills. Syntrophy is an essential, rate-limiting, step in biomethanation where metabolically distinct microorganisms form tightly linked consortia in order to maintain very low concentrations their exchanged metabolites. Syntrophic metabolism involves the thermodynamically unfavorable production of hydrogen and/or formate from the high potential electron donors such as coenzyme A derivatives of fatty and aromatic acids. Such redox reactions can occur only with energy input by a process called reverse electron transfer. Genomic and proteomic analyses have identified membrane ion-translocating systems involved in reverse electron transfer and hydrogen and formate production. In addition, a new enzymatic approach for energy conservation during acetate production has been identified. These findings provide greater insight into the bioenergetics of syntrophic metabolism and the mechanisms by which environmental perturbations such as pH and volatile fatty acid concentrations inhibit biomethanation.

Prof. McInerney
Prof. Michael J. McInerney

Prof. Michael J. McInerney is a George Lynn Cross Research Professor and George Lynn Cross Endowed Professor in Microbiology at the University of Oklahoma. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. He received a B. S. degree in Biology from Northern Illinois University, and M. S. and Ph. D. degrees in Microbiology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He did postdoctoral studies in biochemistry at the University of Georgia, Athens. He research interests include the microbiology of methanogenic ecosystems with emphasis on syntrophic metabolism; biohydrogen production; subsurface microbiology; and petroleum microbiology with emphasis on the development of microbial processes to enhance oil recovery. He currently serves on the editorial boards for Environmental Microbiology, Microbial Biotechnology and Applied and Environmental Microbiology. He serves as reviewer for many journals and granting agencies. He was a Division Chair and is currently a council member for the American Society for Microbiology.

Keynote Speech-2

Appropriate Waste Management in Monsoon Asia

Dr. Masato Yamada
National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan

Since monsoon Asia is a rainy region, the waste from there is wet. The moist waste is perishable, so hygiene issues such as the generation of odor and leachate and the occurrence of vermin which can mediate epidemics, should be considered in their management. A sticky nature of the moist waste should also be considered in its treatment using machinery. More than three hundred years of the waste management history in Japan is a history to seek how to treat these wet waste safely for human and environment. The source segregation and collection system, the incineration and the semi-aerobic landfill system are the core technologies in Japanese waste management and has been established under conditions in the monsoon Asia. However, these technologies are not easy to introduce into every country in Asia. There are several barriers such as economy, existing industries and social issues for introducing Japanese technologies directly. I will look back the history of the waste management in Japan and discuss feasible ways to manage moist waste in monsoon Asia.

Dr. Yamada
Dr. Masato Yamada

Dr. Masato Yamada works in the National Institute for Environmental Studies since 2000, and now he is a Head of Radiological Contaminated Off-Site Waste Management Section of Fukushima Branch, which is established at Miharu, Fukushima in this year. His main fields of interest are landfill engineering and logistics of industrial waste. Also he studies about appropriate waste management in developing countries. Recently, he is in charge of several researches on disaster and radioactive contaminated waste management in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Accident from 2011.

Keynote Speech-3

Waste to Energy Facilities for a Low Carbon Society

Prof. Masaru Tanaka
Institute of Solid Waste Management Engineering (RISWME), Japan

Nowadays, landfill sites; the last bastion of solid waste disposal is difficult to secure. The incineration technology is very effective to reduce waste volume for landfill disposal. So you may say the incineration technology is landfill avoidance technology. To deal with global environmental problem such as global warming, renewable energy has to be developed. So combustible wastes should be used for generation of electricity to contribute to creation of a low-carbon society. FIT system is introduced in Japan in 2012 in order to boost the development of renewable energy. The added value to the "waste to energy" facilities due to the FIT system is so surged, energy recovery type recycling should be promoted rather than material recovery type recycling for plastics or biomass waste. Benefits of "waste to energy" facilities are not only the preservation of global environment but also conservation of fossil resources. Furthermore, the "waste to energy" facilities are expected to have a various functions and benefits as follows: (1) disaster prevention base by strengthening facilities, (2) improvement of revenues by electricity sales, and (3) a place for environmental education, etc... These new functions may mitigate the NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard) syndrome, and alter the NIMBY facility to PIMBY (Please in My Back Yard) facility.

Prof. Masaru Tanaka
Prof. Masaru Tanaka

Prof. Masaru Tanaka is currently a Visiting Professor at Tottori University of Environmental Studies in Japan and the Director of Research Institute of Solid Waste Management Engineering (RISWME), Japan. He obtained his Ph.D. in Environmental Health Engineering from Northwestern University (USA) in 1970 and B.S. in Sanitary Engineering from Kyoto University (Japan) in 1964. Professor Tanaka was the Director of Research Institute of Sustainability at Tottori University of Environmental Studies (2008-2015), the Chairperson of the Solid Waste Management and Recycling Experts Committee, Central Environment Council, Ministry of the Environment, Japan (2005-2013), and a Professor in the Graduate School of Environmental Engineering at Okayama University (2000-2008). During 1976-2001, he was the Director in the Department of Solid Waste Management Engineering at The National Institute of Public Health, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Japan. During 2000-2002, Professor Tanaka was the President of the Japan Society of Solid Waste Management Experts.