NTU HIGHLIGHTS December 2017  

Membrane Filtration Specialist Elected Vice-Chair of International Water Association Group

Prof. Kuo-Lun Tung of the Department of Chemical Engineering was elected the next vice-chair of the International Water Association's (IWA) Membrane Technology Specialist Group during the 8th IWA Membrane Technology Conference and Exhibition for Water and Wastewater Treatment and Reuse in Singapore in September.

The IWA is the world's largest organization for water professionals. With a membership spanning 165 countries and regions, the IWA has nearly 10,000 individual members and 530 organizational members. Taiwan is a member nation of the IWA.

The IWA has established 49 specialist groups to promote discussion and research across a comprehensive range of water issues. The Membrane Technology Specialist Group has nearly 2,500 members, making it one of the three largest specialist groups in the IWA.

Prof. Tung's term as vice-chair will run from 2018 to 2021. This position will be the highest held by any Taiwanese in the Membrane Technology Specialist Group, and is seen as an indication of growing international recognition of the membrane water treatment research in Taiwan.

Prof. Tung has pursued membrane filtration research for more than two decades. He served previously as Director of the Research and Development Center for Membrane Technology at Chung Yuan University, and established the WINNER Club: Water INNovation Education and Research Club at the NTU Department of Chemical Engineering. The WINNER Club focuses on a variety of research topics, including process development, module design, fouling monitoring, and material discovery.

The Discovery Channel once aired a special report on Prof. Tung's materials development research in the area of geomimetic inorganic composite membranes. This technological research also earned Tung the top Lite-On Innovation Award as well as an invitation to speak at TEDxTaipei, where he discussed the source of his creative inspiration.

Prof. Tung's geomimetic inorganic composite membranes technology is considered a disruptive innovation. He and his research team used the technology to develop a startup plan called “IMPRESS: Inorganic Membranes and Processes Revolution for Enabling a Sustainable Society.” The plan won the favor of venture capital firms as well as the approval of the review committee of the Ministry of Science and Technology's (MOST) Industrial Value Creation Program for Academia, making it the first NTU plan to be approved by the committee. The MOST program will enable the team to set up a startup company for inorganic composite membranes.

NTU was ranked 26th in the latest global water research survey released by Lux Research, making it one of just 10 universities in Asia to be ranked among the survey's top50 universities. Among these Asian universities, two are in Singapore, one in South Korea, three in Japan, three in China, and one, NTU, in Taiwan.

NTU's high international ranking in water research is a result of the innovative research that has been conducted by Prof. Tung and others over the last few decades.