Sustainability-related Research

As an international research university, HKUST has clear positioning as a focused elite research and education institution with an international outlook, emphasizing interdisciplinary studies, entrepreneurial spirit and innovation. The University's achievements in research facilitate the transformation of discoveries into sustainable solutions.

In 2015-16, 33 environment-related research projects were conducted at HKUST, gaining over HK$50 million in funding. The scope of these projects covered a wide range of environmental issues including renewable energy production, wastewater treatment, food waste management, air quality, climate change, sewage treatment, green building, green transportation, green communications and others.

Highlights from the year

HKUST Develops Environmentally Friendly Organic Solar Cells with Record Performance

A record-efficient organic solar cell developed by a research team of HKUST via an environmentally-friendly method, has been put on the renowned “Best Research-Cell Efficiencies Chart” by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory of the United States, the first time a solar cell developed by a Hong Kong institution appears on this historic chart, which records all the best efficiency cells around the world over the past 40 years. The chart, which has compiled values of highest conversion efficiencies for different types of solar cells since 1976, recently posted “Hong Kong UST” – an organic solar cell which yields efficiencies of up to 11.5 per cent, as the latest world record for emerging organic solar cells.

The cell, developed by a research team led by Prof Henry He Yan from HKUST’s Department of Chemistry, does not contain any toxic substance, or use any hazardous solvent during the production process, making it the first example of truly environmentally friendly solution-processed organic solar cells. Performance of the solar cell surpasses those created by conventional technologies which use hazardous solvents. The discovery has provided important guidance for research on efficient solar cells created out of environmentally friendly processes.

HKUST Hosts the First National Challenge Cup Theme-Based Competition on Smart Green Cities

HKUST is the first local university to co-host the “National Challenge Cup”, a prestigious competition branded as the Olympiad of Science and Technology for university students.

HKUST held the Theme-based Competition of the National Challenge Cup in which students from various countries showcased their creative ideas and innovation solutions of developing Smart Green Cities. Students were required to apply their knowledge in science, technology, social-economics, urban planning, public administration etc. to propose innovative ideas and solutions to transform a city or part of a city in their home country to become a ‘Smart Green City’. More than 800 teams from Mainland China, Hong Kong and other countries including Russia, Thailand and Malaysia participated in the Competition.
A team of Southeast University clinched the Grand Prize with their proposal titled “Urban Traffic State Estimation and Distribution System based on Satellite Positioning Data of Public Transportation” while two teams from Nanjing University of Science and Technology and HKUST won the First Prizes.

CLP Holdings Professorship in Sustainability

CLP Holdings Professorship in Sustainability was established in May last year by CLP Holdings Limited (CLP). Sustainability is a strategic research area of HKUST. The CLP Holdings Professorship in Sustainability will focus on two particular disciplines, namely Climate Change and Sustainable Energy. The University is dedicated to fostering frontier research in sustainability with an aim to help conserve the environment and enhance the well-being of mankind.

CLP is a longstanding supporter of HKUST and established the CLP Power Wind/Wave Tunnel Facility, the first wind tunnel in Hong Kong, at HKUST in 2000. The University is grateful to CLP for its generosity particularly the establishment of this new named professorship, which will serve to attract the best scholar in the region and from around the globe, or retain an outstanding academic at the University.