Dr Ren was selected the region's top young science researcher of the year for "unfolding new methods to promote an integrated development of the economy, environment and society, including through bio-circular-green practice." PolyU is the only higher education institution in Hong Kong to have had two young scientists honoured with this prestigious award in a decade.
Dr PASIT Lorterapong, the Deputy Permanent Secretary of Thailand's Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, said, "Dr Ren's research, especially on the development of the circular economy, recycling, industrial systems and supply network optimization, provides us with knowledge and helps us address future environmental and economic challenge."
Prof. Christopher CHAO, Vice President (Research and Innovation) of PolyU, congratulated Dr Ren and remarked, "PolyU is dedicated to conducting cutting-edge research to achieve sustainable development. As a member of the PolyU Research Centre for Resources Engineering towards Carbon Neutrality, Dr Ren has greatly contributed to sustainability through his influential research, promoting the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. We are proud of our pioneering young scholars who are applying innovative solutions to bring societal advancement to the Asia Pacific region and the world."
The annual ASPIRE awards recognise young scientists aged below 40 who display excellence in scientific research, as evidenced by scholarly publication and cooperation with scientists from other APEC member economies.
Annually, each APEC economy is invited to nominate one young scientist to be considered for the ASPIRE Prize. Dr Ren stood out among the 13 nominees from other APEC economies in the 2022 ASPIRE exercise, themed "Innovation to achieve economic, environmental, and social goals".
Dr Ren Jingzheng considers it a great honour to have won the ASPIRE award. He said, "This good news heartens me and gives me renewed impetus to develop carbon-neutral processes for turning waste into wealth, and to achieve zero-waste systems and carbon-neutrality."
He has proposed innovative processes that can be applied for sustainable design and optimisation of complex industrial systems, energy conservation and emissions mitigation of wastewater treatment processes, valorisation of medical waste and sewage sludge, as well as converting agricultural waste into energy or value-added products.
He plans to promote his new concept of waste-to-energy processes to energy-intensive industries and waste recycling industries of APEC member economies to help their economies transition to bio-circular-green economies.
Dr Ren added, "I am also enthusiastic about organically combining 'hard technologies' with 'soft science' in order to innovatively break through the limitations of the traditional thinking in industry, and develop carbon-neutral and zero-waste oriented decision support tools and industrial processes to achieve zero carbon emission and 100% waste recycling in industrial systems."
Dr Ren has published more than 180 journal papers and authored a book, and been cited extensively. He was ranked in the World's Top 2% Scientists on the Stanford University List in 2020 and 2021.