Dr Kit Wayne CHEW (Malaysia)

The cultivation and biorefinery of microalgae to produce bioproducts and bioenergy is the subject of Kit Wayne’s research. He is working on the cultivation of microalgae in wastewater. For the subsequent extraction and purification of the valuable compounds he uses multiphase extraction techniques.

PhD in Chemical and Environmental Engineering

Current position: Assistant Professor at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Research focus: sustainable resources, bioseparation and bioprocesses, and renewable energy

Major compounds that can be extracted from microalgae are lipids, carbohydrates, proteins, and pigments. These substances can be used for the production of biofuel, bioenergy, and food supplements. Kit Wayne is working on the cultivation of microalgae in wastewater and multiphase extraction techniques for the above substances. He is constantly optimising the multiphase system to enhance the efficiency of the biorefinery process for producing multiple products. In addition, he is looking for more efficient cultivation systems to obtain the highest possible biomass productivity using waste sources. He is also exploring the potential use of waste biomass to complete a circular bio economy of microalgae.

Kit Wayne’s research is in line with several UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). First, SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being), Cultivating microalgae biomass will result in cost-effective production of bioproducts that can be converted into food ingredients, fish meal, or animal feed. He also extracts pigments that may be beneficial as health supplements. Secondly, SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), part of his research focuses on using a microalgae-bacteria consortium to bioremediate wastewater and simultaneously produce biomass for other applications. He selects microalgae strains that can grow well with bacteria present in wastewater. The result should be cleaner wastewater for subsequent treatment and higher quality biomass for processing.

Thirdly, SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), Microalgae contain high levels of lipids that can subsequently be converted into biofuels. Kit Wayne is working on the biorefinery technology developed by his research group to extract multiple compounds and convert them into biofuels or bioethanol. Last but not least, SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), large-scale cultivation of microalgae can be optimised by using flue gases containing CO2 from the industries. In this way, CO2 can be used as a feed source for microalgae to thrive, resulting in less air pollution.

Kit Wayne was awarded by the jury for his studies on the cultivation and processing of microalgae simultaneously targeting several SDGs. The jury was impressed by the clearly application-oriented approach of this young but very experienced engineer.

The research of Kit Wayne mainly contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals 3, 6, 7, 11:

Take a look at this video that briefly introduces Kit Wayne and his research: