CRES Team Members
Kok Siew Ng
Dr Kok Siew is a UKRI/NERC Industrial Innovation (Rutherford) Research Fellow and Lecturer at the Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford. He is also the Principal Investigator of the NERC fellowship project “A Systems Approach to Synergistic Utilisation of Secondary Organic Streams” (SYNERGORS). Kok Siew is a chemical engineer by training with extensive research and industrial consultancy experience in systems engineering, techno-economic analysis and sustainability assessment.
His research interests in resource recovery from waste and wastewater, integrated biorefinery systems, decarbonised energy systems and polygeneration systems are highly relevant in addressing complex global challenges. His ambition in international development together with the objectives of SYNERGORS and CRES are well aligned with the UK Industrial Strategy in enhancing resource efficiency and mitigating pollution and waste materials, while achieving a sustainable industrial growth and a more resilient economy at global level. His work in low carbon energy system design was recognised by the IChemE Junior Moulton Medal award in 2011.
Dr Eleni Iacovidou (Brunel) is a lecturer in Environmental Management at Brunel University London, leading teaching and research on environmental governance, management and sustainable development. She specialises on resource and waste management, developing new methods for performing holistic and integrated sustainability assessments of resource recovery systems based on a systems thinking approach. Some of the key areas of her work include food and food waste, plastic waste, construction and demolition waste and waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). Previously she worked at the University of Leeds, leading research on the valuation of resource recovery from waste and the promotion of ‘recovery’ interventions and digitalisation in the construction sector. Before that role, she led the strategic partnership between Imperial College London and Veolia Environmental Services (VES), fostering collaborations between industry, academia, local authorities and policy-makers.
She is a chemist on the background, with expertise on environmental engineering and environmental management research following studies at the Department of Chemistry, University of Crete (BSc, MSc) and the Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London (PhD).
Norman Ebner is an economist whose research interests encompass the following areas: the Circular Economy, Infrastructure Economics, Institutional Economics, Financial Markets, Behavioural Economics, Behavioural Finance and Economic Methodology. His current research focuses on the formulation of the necessary theoretical and methodological framework to transform the currently largely linear production and consumption system into a more circular and sustainable one.
He has been working as a Postdoctoral Researcher in Circular Plastics-Techno-Economics on the Oxford Martin School’s ‘The Future of Plastics’ project since January 2020. Before this, he worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher on a DEFRA project on plastic packaging waste management and the ‘Self-repairing Cities’ project that investigated the future role of A.I. and robotics in infrastructure provision, both conjointly led by the Leeds University Business School and the School of Civil Engineering.
Norman Ebner holds a DPhil in Economics from the Leeds University Business School. His doctoral work focused on the cognitive processes that underlie the operation of financial markets. The research was carried out under the aegis of the EU-funded FESSUD project on Financialization, Economy, Society and Sustainable Development.
Sajni Vekaria is a holder of BSc (Hons) Environmental Science degree at Brunel University London. Currently, she is an Environmental and Sustainability graduate at Balfour Beatty, specifically within the Highways and Major Projects business unit. She has research experience in the reduction of embodied and construction carbon, incorporating PAS0280 across the Highways Business unit, and assessing the sustainability in the UK Construction Industry. ‘Additionally, she is a strong advocate for promoting and encouraging more young women to join the construction industry!
Chief Strategic Officer
Dr Loula (Spyridoula) Gerasimidou is an Environmental Engineer with expertise in methods of solid waste management and analytical techniques of waste characterisation. Currently, she is a research fellow at Brunel University London with a focus on systematic evidence mapping, qualitative and/or quantitative sustainability assessments of resources and waste management systems across their lifecycle. She has research experience on plastic packaging systems including challenges and trade-offs related to the transition towards circular economy, such as bioplastics applications, safety implications from chemical perspective and stakeholder analysis.
Dr Loula Gerasimidou holds a PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of Leeds. His doctoral work focused on the quality assurance of solid recovered fuel destined to waste-to-energy processes including machine learning modelling, thermal analysis of solid waste, and advanced statistical techniques.
Head of Research
Dr Anh Phan
Regional Director – Mexico
Dr. Jorge Aburto is Researcher at the Mexican Petroleum Institute (IMP) since 2000 and he is actually Project Leader and Head of Biomass Conversion Division and in charge of the Division of Energy Efficiency and Sustainability. Dr. Aburto’s main research areas are bio-based chemicals and materials for applications in the petroleum industry, biomass deconstruction and conversion, production of lignocellulosic ethanol, road and aviation fuels, enzyme kinetics and applications to the oil industry, petroleum biorefining, precipitation inhibitors of asphaltenes, and petroleum pipelining through O/W emulsions. He is author of several international articles, book chapters, and patent applications and patents. He participated in the awarded biorefinery project by the 2016 silver prize PRODETES category recognized by Mexico´s Energy Secretariat (SENER), the World Bank and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF). Likewise, Dr Aburto has graduated 32 Bachelor, 3 Master and 2 Doctorate students.
Currently, Dr Aburto is part of the Academic Technical Council of the Bioenergy Thematic Network sponsored by CONACyT, is technical responsible in the IMP of the Mexican Center for Bioenergy Innovation (CEMIE BIO), and is currently a Level II National Researcher. Dr Aburto was designated Mission innovation Champion of Mexico by the Mission Innovation Initiative in 2019 by his contribution and vision on Bioenergy deployment in Mexico.
Regional Director – Brazil
Francisco Gaudêncio M. Freires
Prof Francisco Gaudêncio M. Freires was born in Fortaleza (state of Ceará – Brazil) in 1974. He holds a degree in Civil Engineering from the Federal University of Ceará (1996), a Master’s degree in Production Engineering from the Federal University of Santa Catarina (2000) and a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering and Management from the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (2007). He has experience in Production Engineering with emphasis on Business Logistics and Operations Management, working mainly on the following topics: Supply Chain Management, reverse logistics, sustainable SCM and cost management. He was a professor at the Federal University of the São Francisco Valley (UNIVASF) until 2011. He researched the issue of logistics and supply chain management of biofuels and fruit growing in the northeastern semi-arid region of Brazil. He has also developed research in the advance of the intermodal logistics of the São Francisco River.
He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA) Polytechnic School. He also works in the Graduate Program in Industrial Engineering (PEI) at UFBA, currently researching the renewable energy alternatives from the perspective of supply chain management.
Regional Director – Malaysia
Ir. Dr Wan Azlina is currently an Associate Professor at the Department of Chemical & Environmental Engineering, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM). She’s graduated in a Chemical Engineering Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) (2000) and PhD in Combustion Engineering from University of Sheffield, United Kingdom (UK) (2005). She is currently Head of Research Centre (Sustainable Process and Engineering Research Centre (SPERC)(2019 -2022) in Faculty of Engineering, Universiti Putra Malaysia.
Her appointment as technical advisory panels by various governmental organizations namely ministry of housing and local government (MHLG), department of environment (DOE) and department of standard (DSM) in evaluating the proposed engineering projects is a great recognition of her experiences and capability in the respective field. She has also served the Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) as referral person and author in the review and formulation of the National Policy in Science, Technology & Innovation (NPSTI) 2015-2030 and Science and Technology & Innovation Active Council (STIPAC) as advisory panel.
Ir. Dr. Wan Azlina is an outstanding researcher. She leads many researches and engineering related consultancy projects related to her field. Her achievement received research grants worth more than MYR 2Million as principal investigator and winning a prestigious international grant under NEWTON FUND and Malaysia’s L’oreal Fellowship for Women in Science (FWIS), vast publications in reputable journals, conference papers, book chapters (>100 publications) and award recipients of several national and international awards obviously acknowledged her as talented researchers. Her research work focus on the unlocking the potential of Biomass and waste as RENEWABLE ENERGY and ENVIRONMENTALLY resources through various valorization techniques namely THERMAL (gasification, pyrolyses and combustion technologies) and BIOLOGICAL (anaerobic digestion, composting) pathways. Other aspects include theoretical works on the fundamental phenomenon and designing related technology in utilizing these materials from various funding resources. Recently, under NEWTON fund ( international grant) an multi-optimization study on the Biomass with other parameters Energy-Environmental- Water (EFEW) Nexus through Biomass Value Chain modelling as holistic understanding for integrated system of all possible valorization and potential product development from these resources. These outcomes have been contributed by the supervised students includes PhD (18 students ; 8 graduated) , Master (18 students ; 11 graduated) and Master without thesis and Undergraduate Final Year projects.
In conclusion, well balanced contributions would be a tremendous experience for her to grow exponentially in knowledge and create a greater positive impact for UPM and the world.
Regional Director – Thailand
Prof Anongnat (Annie) Somwangthanaroj is a professor at the department of Chemical Engineering, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand. She also serves as Associate Dean in Research Affairs, Faculty of Engineering, Chulalongkorn University. She specializes in plastic engineering. Her research interest is in the area of plastic packaging, electronic packaging and batteries.