Prof. Irene Lo and Research Team Receive Best Paper Award

Prof. Irene M.C. Lo and her research team, comprising Dr. Zexiao Zheng, Mr. Justin H.K. Man, and Mr. Taoran Dong, have won the Best Paper Award at the 2022–2023 Environmental Paper Award presented by the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKIE). Entitled “A Zero Emission Photoelectrochemical System with Green H2 Generation for Saline Sewage Treatment to Simultaneously Remove Organic Compounds, Ammonia, and Bacteria”, the group’s paper investigates a novel, zero-emission technology for saline wastewater treatment, potentially offering an enhanced alternative to conventional secondary treatment and disinfection processes.

The paper outlines a photoelectrochemical system which, using BiVO4-based photoanodes, not only removes multiple contaminants from saline sewage, but at the same time produces a significant amount of green, useful hydrogen gas. The system has proved to offer superior performance and has the added advantage of generating zero carbon emissions. This is particularly important for our world today where there is much urgency as well as emphasis on net-zero carbon emission and the need to reduce the use (and dosages) of chemicals in wastewater treatment. Therefore, Prof. Lo and her team’s work is doubly commendable: not only in terms of publishing a thoughtful, well-written paper, but also in developing an innovative, cost-effective approach to sustainable wastewater treatment.

Through recognizing exemplary research on environmental pollution control and sustainable development, the HKIE’s Environmental Paper Award intends to encourage and induce more such projects and efforts. The award was presented on 8 May 2023 at the HKIE headquarters, by Chairperson of the HKIE’s Environmental Division, Ir. Prof. Shelly Zhou, and members of the Environmental Paper Award’s judging panel.

Congratulations to Prof. Lo and her team!


Prof Irene Lo Team

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