It is an everyday matter that Hong Kong people hardly give a second thought to, but for those in developing parts of the world it can make a huge difference to their lives – and that is the SAR's seawater toilet-flushing system, which saves huge amounts of fresh water and energy daily. Prof Guanghao Chen, Civil and Environmental Engineering, explains: "Leveraging this unique system, we have developed a novel, energy-efficient and low-carbon sewage treatment technology."
The resulting innovative urban water-management system is part of "+AGUA PARA TODOS (More Water for All", a three-year water-saving project at the heart of a partnership between HKUST and the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, being implemented in the Caribbean island of Cuba. "The Sulphate Reduction, Autotrophic Denitrification and Nitrification Integrated (SANI) Process can eliminate 90% of sewage sludge production and reduce sewage treatment costs by 50%, space requirements by over 50% and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 35%," explains Prof Chen.
This valuable project includes the conversion of part of a tourist resort near Havana to seawater toilet flushing, reuse of wastewater for irrigation and the use of the SANI Process for wastewater treatment. It is an excellent example of the relevance of HKUST's research and development regarding global water management and environmental protection. Water shortages are a growing problem in the world today, and this innovative technology provides an energy-efficient and economical way to save water in coastal cities and islands.