Jan Baeyens | KU Leuven, Belgium/Beijing University of Chemical Technology, China  


Jan Baeyens studied Nuclear Engineering (Brussels) and Chemical Engineering (Leuven). He obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Bradford-U.K. After 13 years of employment in engineering divisions of various Belgian companies, he became a part-time professor at the University of Leuven (B) and worked as a process and project consultant in Europe and overseas. In 2003. He started the Faculty of Bio-engineering at the University of Antwerp. In 2005, he moved to the University of Birmingham (U.K.) and the University of Warwick (U.K.), where he lectured on process design, sustainable development, renewable energy and powder technology, while also co-ordinating research in these fields. He has contributed to over 200 publications in international journals, is author/editor of 12 books, and is a regular speaker at international congresses. His h-factor is 55, and citations exceed 15000. Since 2010, he is Visiting Professor at the Beijing University of Chemical Technology, where he is actively involved in Life Science and Technology research. Since 1989, he is managing director of European Powder and Process Technology (EPPT). Within EPPT, he continues to co-ordinate design and consultancies for Belgian and overseas companies, mostly in the field of powder technology and renewable energy. EPPT is a partner in European research projects (FP7, and H2020).





Valentina Busini | Politecnico di Milano, Italy 


Prof. Valentina Busini has expertise in safety engineering and chemical engineering. In particular, with regard to industrial safety, she usually works on the analysis of the consequences of industrial accidental events, such as the CFD modelling of: heavy gas dispersion in complex environments, dispersion of hydrogen and carbon dioxide, design of vapour curtains; and the definition of methodologies for the evaluation of industrial accidents triggered by natural events (the so-called NaTech events). As far as chemical engineering is concerned, she focuses on process intensification finding methodologies for the transformation of batch processes into continuous ones.





Po-Heng (Henry) Lee | Imperial College London, UK 


Po-Heng (Henry) Lee's team specializes in resource recovery, greenhouse gas reduction, and enhancing human health through anaerobic biotechnologies. His research and teaching aim to transcend classical energetic constraints by exploring discrete pathways, including quantum and quantum-like mechanisms, within microbial metabolism and gene regulation. Henry has pioneered state-of-the-art research techniques, utilizing quantum computing (such as Quantum Information Theory and Variational Quantum Eigensolver) and hybrid meta-omics approaches to manipulate microbiomes for environmental health enhancement. Henry's academic journey includes earning his PhD, MS, BS, and AAS degrees in Environmental Engineering from Iowa State University (2010), National Chiao Tung University (2003), National Ilan University (2001), and Hungkuang University (1999), Taiwan, respectively. He joined Imperial College London in 2019 after holding positions at Hong Kong Polytechnic University (2012-2018) and Inha University, South Korea (2010-2012).


Speech title / Quantum Computing Solutions for Transforming Efficient Waste-to-Energy Bio-Methanation

Abstract: The pressing global challenges in energy, climate change, and environmental sustainability, there arises a critical need for a new era in waste-to-energy biorefinery transformation, particularly in the conversion of waste into methane, an energy source. However, the inherent limitation of energy (electrons) availability within bio-methanation processes poses significant hurdles to achieving optimal kinetic and thermodynamic efficiency and optimal microbial gene regulation. To surmount these challenges, it becomes imperative to harness the wave-particle duality of electrons and gain a deeper understanding of the complex gene regulation mechanisms governing microbial metabolism. In this talk address, the transformative potential of quantum computing applications within waste-to-energy bio-methanation systems is introduced. Quantum computing, with its unique capabilities including superposition and entanglement, offers a paradigm shift from classical computing methodologies. Through two compelling case studies within bio-methanation systems: the first focuses on understanding gene regulation in micro-aeration anaerobic digestion using quantum information techniques, while the second investigates interspecies electron transfer (DIET) in methanogenesis systems, revealing quantum tunnelling and hopping potential in efficient methane generation. Our endeavours in leveraging quantum computing aim not only to revolutionise current practices but also to contribute significantly to mitigating climate change. We will engage in a thought-provoking discussion on future research directions and implementation strategies, addressing 21st-century challenges from both scientific and engineering perspectives. Join us as we embark on a journey towards a sustainable and resilient future.