2023 A&WMA Fellow Membership
The Fellow Grade of Membership was inaugurated in 1986 to recognize professional attainment and accomplishments related to the mission and objectives of A&WMA. A candidate for fellowship has a minimum of 15 years of experience in an area served by the Association and has been a member of the Association for at least 10 continuous years. Fellows are recognized for their professional accomplishments and service to the Association based on a process, product, or regulatory development; project leadership; managerial achievement; the education of specialists; peer-reviewed technical publications; patents; and research or theoretical developments.
A&WMA presents the Fellow Grade of Membership to Chih Chao in 2023.
Chih C. Chao received his BS degree in chemical engineering from Tunghai University, Taiwan, in 1967. He then obtained an MS in chemical engineering, with option of biochemical engineering, from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, in 1971. To pursue his interest in environmental engineering, he did his doctoral study at the University of Montreal and completed his dissertation on optimization of river basin water quality management in 1979 while working with Bechtel Canada.
As a chemical engineer, Dr. Chao’s main focus has always been on front-end management, focusing on material and energy efficiency enhancement and thus adding value to environmental practices. This has been done through waste minimization, cleaner production, material/energy synergy, eco-industrial networking, sustainable materials management, and most recently, circular economy.
Subsequent to his EPCM days where he devoted himself to supporting mega pipeline, mining, and petrochemical projects in areas of environmental restoration, wastewater treatment, air pollution control, radiation protection, and tailings management, Dr. Chao has turned into governmental, research, and academic jobs in which he has helped to shape up risk-based waste management strategies and waste-to-resources management policies, develop and commercialize value-added environmental technologies, and embark on liberal arts with sustainability education programs in an endeavor of cultivating green talents.
For many years, Dr. Chao has been a strong advocate for value-added recycling of waste to marketable materials and energy. He has provided policy advice and technical assistance to environmental agencies in various regions, such as those in Taiwan and China. In the case of Taiwan, Dr. Chao has assisted the Environmental Protection Administration to develop and implement Environmental Science & Technology Parks (ESTP, i.e., Eco-Industrial Parks), recycling of e-waste, discarded vehicles, spent solvents, furnace slags, pulp and paper sludge, ash residues, and metal-containing sludges. The successful experiences have led to Taiwan EPA’s enactment of the Resource Recycling and Reuse Act in 2013, paving a solid foundation for its progressive regulatory framework of shifting the waste management approach to resource management. As of now, Taiwan enjoys an 80% industrial waste recycling rate and a 60% municipal waste recycling rate, one of the top performers in the world.
While working with Ontario Waste Management Corporation (OWMC) during 1984-1993, Dr. Chao led several pioneering R&D projects with an aim of minimizing the risk and impact associated with hazardous waste management, including risk assessment and management, hazard analysis, treatability of difficult-to-treat wastewater, and stabilization and solidification of treatment. The research results were disseminated to interested professionals and organizations via conference presentations and project reports. The shared knowledge serves as a sound reference for other regions to follow and advance in hazardous waste management. Examples are California and Ohio, which were granted approval from OWMC to use its R&D results for planning their own facilities.
Later Dr. Chao led a multi-year, USD 7 million per year technology development program with the Industrial Technology Research Institute, emphasizing cost-effective, advanced treatment technologies targeting resource recovery and cleaner production solutions. The results of this program were successfully used by industries in Taiwan, which provided a sound technical base for Taiwan EPA to shift its waste management approach to resource management.
Further, during the period of 2006-2012, Dr. Chao led the Sustainable Environmental Research Center of National Cheng Kung University (SERC/NCKU) in Tainan, Taiwan. Taking an integrated, multi-disciplinary and result-oriented approach, Dr. Chao spearheaded numerous R&D and industrial application projects, including implementation of eco-industrial networking systems in steelmaking, heavy industries, and petrochemical industrial parks; operation and maintenance of a Taiwan-wide laboratory waste treatment facility; and remediation and redevelopment of a decommissioned CPDC site in An-Nan, Tainan, which was heavily contaminated with mercury, pentachlorophenol and dioxin.
From 2013-2016, Dr. Chao was invited to serve as an executive vice president of Tunghai University in Taichung, Taiwan. Dr. Chao led a pioneering 3-year cross-college GREEnS (Global Research and Education on Environment and Society) Program, aiming to help develop a regional low-carbon circular economy system. The outcomes of this program have resulted in TIMES’ recent ranking of Tunghai University as one of the world’s top performers in the USR (University Social Responsibility) category.
Since 2007, Dr. Chao has been active in serving A&WMA’s Technical Council, chairing Technical Coordinating Committees, Division, and Group levels. He is currently the Technical Council’s vice chair. He has made numerous presentations, chairing platform and panel sessions every year at A&WMA’s annual conferences. In 2013, he organized A&WMA’s Sustainable Resources and Air Quality Management Conference in I-Lan, Taiwan. It was attended by 150 professionals from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, the United States, and Germany. Sara Head, then A&WMA President, also participated in this conference.
Dr. Chao continues to provide advisory and lecturing services internationally, in the fields of sustainability, circular economy, and climate change mitigation.
Chih C. Chao