Circular economy is a key item for the government to promote industrial innovation. Based on the development of circular economy, it promotes the development of related industries and develops green manufacturing processes for high-value products. Under this premise, the Ministry of Science and Technology provides research funding, and the Distinguished Professor Ming-Chun Lu from the Department of Environmental Engineering of National Chung Hsing University develops the fluidized-bed homogeneous crystallization technology that is unique in the world. This technology is mainly applied in the recovery of heavy metals in wastewater, and can also be extended to the recovery of nitrogen and phosphorus in the water. It can also absorb the carbon dioxide emitted by the stacks and convert it into calcium carbonate by the crystallization technology, helping to slow down global warming. This technology can convert the waste that was originally produced after treatment into reusable resources is a practitioner of circular economy.
The traditional crystallization technology for treating heavy metal-containing wastewater has a low purity of crystal grains. This fluidized-bed homogeneous crystallization technology is the advanced one, which can solve the problem of processing a large amount of heavy metal-containing wastewater and waste sludge with high water content; it can realize waste recycling and reuse. Professor Lu developed this fluidized-bed homogeneous crystallization technology to recover heavy metals that were originally harmful to the environment and therefore effectively protect the safety of the environment to achieve the goal of circular economy.
This advanced crystallization technology is a collaborative research and development result of Professor Ming-Chun Lu and Professor Yao-Hui Huang of National Cheng Kung University. The two professors have cooperated for many years and have owned many patents. This advanced crystallization technology has a wide range of applications. For example, it can be used in the recovery of nitrogen and phosphorus from pig-raising wastewater, which can be reused as fertilizer additives in the form of magnesium ammonium phosphate. By this technology, the carbon dioxide emitted by the stacks is absorbed and recovered in the form of calcium carbonate, which can improve energy efficiency and relatively reduce the impact of environmental pollution, thereby greatly reducing the burden of industrial costs. Additionally, the processed products will no longer be useless waste, and can be recycled and sold for profit. At present, Professor Lu is actively promoting and cooperating with industries to move the technology to the direction of full-scale plant. It is expected that this technology can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 20% for manufacturers and help slow global warming. This technology does not require additional heating and pressurization, and can effectively reduce equipment installation costs and operating costs. The products generated by this technology are easy to recycle and reuse without secondary pollution. It won’t induce subsequent environmental problems, and then can strengthen the competitiveness of related industries, which is beneficial for the improvement of green production technology.
In line with the government’s policy, the research team also invited the University of the Philippines, Mapua University of Philippines, Adamson University of Philippines, and King Mongkout’s University of Technology Thonburi of Thailand to jointly publish academic journal papers. In recent three years, Prof. Lu and Huang obtained three invention patents and won 6 awards from the "Taiwan Innovation Technology Expo" invention competition, the Green Idea International Invention and Design Competition and the International Innovation Invention Competition. In addition, the research team has also successfully cultivated many students, especially those from Thailand and the Philippines, who have good jobs after returning to their country and many of them have served as faculty members. By keep joining the research topic and co-published many papers, they still have outstanding performance at their present positions. For Taiwanese students, they were well trained by joining this project and won many awards in the competition. They have successfully progressed to higher education and employment, and achieved their life goals.
Prof. Ming-Chun Lu
Department of Environmental Engineering, National Chung Hsing University, Taiwan
Prof. Yao-Hui Huang
Department of Chemical Engineering, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan
Program Manager, Department of Engineering and Technologies, MOST