Dr Ngoc Lieu LE (Vietnam)

Ngoc Lieu’s research has covered a wide range of interdisciplinary research fields focusing on the areas of energy generation from renewable sources such as biofuels and ocean energy, wastewater treatment to be recycled and/or to reduce environmental impacts, utilisation of food waste or by-products as a resource to produce value-added products, and utilisation of under-valued agricultural plants to produce biodegradable materials to replace plastics.

PhD in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Current position: Lecturer at the School of Biotechnology at International University, Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Research focus: membrane materials and technologies for water and energy sustainability

Her honours include the IES Prestigious Engineering Achievement Award from The Institution of Engineering in Singapore in 2010 in recognition of an outstanding engineering project which has made  significant contributions to Singapore’s development, along with other national awards. She was also selected to present her findings on breaking the wall of green energy at the final Falling Walls Lab Competition in Germany in 2014. She was recently invited as a speaker for speeches in Germany, United Kingdom and Singapore.

2019 National Finalist of 2019 ASE AN-US Science Prize  for Women


CV as submitted for the Green Talents award (2013):

National University of Singapore

Research focus: membranes for biofuel purification and separation

Biofuels are regarded as a way to reduce the environmental impact of the world’s growing energy demands. Now, Ngoc Lieu Le wants to make this green alternative even greener.

Ngoc Lieu Le does not want waste to go to waste. That’s why her current PhD project is focused on the purification of biofuels produced from crop residues and waste materials.

Le believes that energy is among the most critical issues related to the swelling global population, and that renewable energy is the best way to remedy this problem.

“The current purification technique, distillation, requires a large amount of energy to purify biofuels due to the azeotropic formation of biofuels with other components in fermentation broths,” she says. “That results in the increasing criticism of the sustainability of biofuels.”

Le’s work, therefore, offers a truly renewable solution to the world’s energy demand. “The most important benefit of renewable energy sources is the decrease of environmental pollution,” Le says. “Liquid fuels, or biofuels, which are produced from renewable biomass, are becoming our future transportation fuels used from cars, trucks, buses, airplanes, and trains.”

The jury emphasised the importance of biofuels as an alternative to fossil fuels and Le's focus on energy-saving techniques for the separation and purification of biomass materials.