Waste is one of the top three sources of carbon emissions in Hong Kong. To help the city achieve its carbon neutrality goal by 2050 and contribute to the Nation’s efforts to tackle climate change, PolyU has set up a new Research Centre for Resources Engineering towards Carbon Neutrality (RCRE).


The centre will focus its efforts on four research directions, namely policy and society, environmental and economic impact, waste-to-resource technology, as well as recycling and sustainable construction.


“Waste reduction and resources circulation are key to driving carbon reduction, and often require complementary policies to facilitate wide and efficient application of these cutting-edge decarbonisation technologies,” said Ir Professor Poon Chi-sun, Director of RCRE, Chair Professor of Sustainable Construction Materials and Head of Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.


“RCRE aspires to become a leading global research centre in solid waste recycling issues, promoting Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area as models of resources engineering towards a circular economy,” he added.


RCRE pools top researchers from various disciplines, covering most of the solid waste spectrum, including construction waste, waste asphalt, tyres, glasses, incineration residuals, food waste, textiles, waste management policy, and life cycle environmental cost analysis. They will combine their efforts to support the Government’s carbon neutrality strategy, including minimising the waste required to be disposed of at landfills.


Speaking at RCRE’s inauguration ceremony on 14 January, Mr Wong Kam-sing, Secretary for the Environment, said technological development plays a pivotal role in achieving carbon neutrality.


“PolyU has been a leading force in the research of solid waste management and many of its innovations in recycled construction materials and waste valorisation technology have been widely applied. I am pleased to see that PolyU has pooled its interdisciplinary talents and facilities to advance the development of decarbonisation technologies and related policy study,” Mr Wong said.


At the RCRE inauguration symposium, Prof. Julia Stegemann of University College London, Prof. Chris Cheeseman of Imperial College London, together with RCRE’s Professor Daniel Tsang and Dr Zhen Leng, discussed the latest developments in various fields of waste-to-resource technology and recycling.


Professor Jin-Guang Teng, President of PolyU, said PolyU has the largest research team and facilities among all the universities in Hong Kong focusing on resources engineering towards carbon neutrality.


“As a university with a strong emphasis on societal impact, RCRE, which is part of the PolyU Academy for Interdisciplinary Research, will fulfil the University’s motto of ‘To learn and to apply, for the benefit of mankind’,” he said.