Keynote Speakers


Prof. Vincenzo Belgiorno

University of Salerno, Italy


Biogrpahy: Full professor of Sanitary Environmental Engineering at University of Salerno since 2005, from July 2018 for 5 years he took over the responsibility as Director of the Campania Water Authority, the largest in Italy. For a three-year period from 2015 he held the role of Advisor to the President of the Campania Region with the task of developing regulatory and administrative proposals for the protection of the environment. He was a consultant to the Italian Parliamentary Commission of inquiry into the waste cycle. He has carried out professional and consultancy activities in many different sectors relating to environmental protection and remediation and he has been responsible for dozens of applied research agreements and environmental services for public bodies and private companies. He is the author or co-author of approximately 400 publications in the sectors of environmental engineering in national and international journals and conference proceedings and associate editor of Desalination and Water Treatment and Global Nest. He is co-owner of 7 applied research patents in the environmental protection sector and over 11,000 citations in international publications with a Hirsch index of 57 (GoogleScholar).


Speech title "Future challenges for water and wastewater infrastructures"

Abstract---Climate change is exacerbating both water scarcity and water-related hazards (such as floods and droughts), as rising temperatures disrupt precipitation patterns and the entire water cycle with evident needs of specific challenges for water infrastructures:

-        water-related disasters have dominated the list of disasters over the past 50 years and account for 70 per cent of all deaths related to natural disasters (World Bank).

-        since 2000, flood-related disasters have risen by 134 per cent compared with the two previous decades. Most of the flood-related deaths and economic losses were recorded in Asia (WMO). The number and duration of droughts also increased by 29 per cent over this same period. (WMO).

-        drought and flood risks are projected to further increase as intensity and frequency with every degree of global warming (IPCC).


-        Water supplies stored in glaciers and snow cover are projected to further decline over the course of the century, thus reducing water availability during warm and dry periods in regions where more than one-sixth of the world’s population currently live (IPCC).

-        Sea-level rise is projected to extend salinization of groundwater, decreasing freshwater availability for humans and ecosystems in coastal areas (IPCC). 

-        Water quality is also affected by climate change, as higher water temperatures and more frequent floods and droughts are projected to increase many forms of water pollution (IPCC).

On the other hand, human water cycle is responsible for a significant amount of GHGs emissions and it is needed to reduce the energy footprint of the water sector.

In Europe new legislations on water and wastewater are addressing a high number of fundamentals issues.

The revised Drinking Water Directive has been adopted on 16 december 2020 by the European Parliament and entered in force on January 2021. It:

ü  updates existing safety standards in line with latest recommendations of the WHO with the Introduction of ‘risk-based approach’ (RBA) covering whole supply chain;

ü  update existing safety standards + ‘watch-list’ mechanism;

ü  disciplines Substances and materials in contact with drinking water;

ü  define temporal limits to establish official methodologies for measuring PFAS and micro-plastics;

ü  asks for more transparency for consumers on water supplier’s efficiency and effectiveness and measures for their improvement (i.e. leakages).

Discussion is currently focused on the revision of the Urban Wastewater Treatment Plants directive that has as general main objectives to:

ü  reduce pollution, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions;

ü  improve access to sanitation especially for the most vulnerable and marginalized;

ü  make industry pay to treat micropollutants;

ü  lead to a more circular sector.

Among other, the proposal focuses on water quantity and quality for:

ü  better monitoring of rain water: massive pollution because of rain, fix 1% of pollution consequent to rain respect to maximum pollution of dry weather

ü  new threesholds for agglomerations > 1.000 p.e. by 2025 to reach by 2030

Also aspects related to micropollutants and energy are faced with:

ü  Systematic treatment tertiary and quaternary for WWTPs > 100.000 p.e.

ü  Risk based approach for plants between 10.000 and 100.000 p.e.

ü  Systematic monitoring of GHG emissions with energy neutrality requested by 2040

ü  EPR scheme set up by 2025, all facilities > 100.000 p.e. equipped by 2035

Impact due to climate changes on water resources availability is very serious and could be unpredictable. The precautionary approach shall be widely applied and saving of water such as recovery and reuse of wastewater must be pushed.

Current conditions produce serious challenges to traditional planning and design of water and wastewater infrastructures with the need to find better solutions to abate new contaminants, well known in the scientific literature and not yet considered in regulations, reduce energy consumption and limit GHGs emissions from water sector.



Prof. Eric van Hullebusch

Université Paris Cité, France


Biogrpahy: Prof. Eric D. van Hullebusch received his PhD (Aquatic Chemistry and Microbiology) from Université de Limoges (France) in 2002. From November 2002 until October 2004 he was a Marie Curie Postdoctoral fellow at Wageningen University & Research (the Netherlands) where his research focused on the optimization of anaerobic granular sludge reactors by studying the speciation, bioavailability and dosing strategies of trace metals. In 2005, he was appointed as associate professor in biogeochemistry of engineered ecosystems at Université Paris-Est (France). In 2012, Eric van Hullebusch obtained his Habilitation qualification in Environmental Sciences from Université Paris-Est (France). The title of his Habilitation thesis is “Biofilms in the environment: from anaerobic wastewater treatment to material bioweathering”. From September 2016 until August 2018, he worked at IHE Delft as chair professor in Environmental Science and Technology and head of the Pollution Prevention and Resource Recovery chair group. In September 2018, he joined Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (France) as full professor in Biogeochemistry of engineered ecosystems.


Speech title "Biometallurgy for the recovery of indium and gallium from electronic waste"

Abstract---The presentation will highlight recent advancements in the recovery of technology critical elements (TCEs), specifically indium and gallium, from end-of-life (EoL) products, such as electronic waste (e-waste). Given the significance of these elements in high-tech applications like communication, renewable energy, and display technologies, ensuring their sustainable supply is crucial. The presentation will discuss innovative pre-treatment and hydrometallurgical and biohydrometallurgical methods for indium and gallium recovery from spent liquid crystal displays (LCDs) and light emitting diodes (LEDs). Notably, a novel technique employing a microbial chelating agent, desferrioxamine E (DFOE), for selective leaching of indium from spent LCD screens will be introduced. A recent study demonstrates the efficacy of this approach, achieving a 32% indium leaching yield while minimizing interference from aluminum. Additionally, the recovery of gallium and indium from spent surface mounted device (SMD) LEDs using strong acids leaching and selective leaching with DFOE will be discussed. In another recent study, the selective leaching approach shows promise in achieving substantial recovery yields while minimizing the extraction of non-targeted elements. The study elucidates the complexation mechanism between metals and DFOE and underscores the potential of DFOE-assisted leaching for selectively recovering critical metals from waste streams, thereby contributing to recycling efforts.




Prof. Eric J. Strauss

Michigan State University, USA


Biogrpahy: Dr. Eric Strauss is Professor Emeritus of Urban and Regional Planning at Michigan State University. He received his J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law and his PhD in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to joining Michigan State, he taught at the University of Kansas where he was the Chair of the Graduate Program in Urban Planning and Indiana University. While at Michigan State University, he was a former director of the URP program. In the School of Planning, Design and Construction. He also was a Visiting Professor at universities in South Korea, Ireland, and Germany. He was a Fulbright Scholar to Panama and to Romania. He was named the “Outstanding Site Visitor” by the Planning Accreditation Board for 2022. He is the current President of the Advisory Academic Council on Signage Research and Education (AACSRE). Dr. Strauss had more than 40 years of experience in planning practice in both the public and private sector. He was a planner for federal and state governments, a city and county planning director, a city attorney, and a consultant to more than 50 organizations, both public and private, on a wide variety of planning related issues. Strauss prepared many comprehensive plans and land use regulations at all levels of detail for many communities. His current research interests include measuring the impact of climate action plans adopted by local governments and universities as well as policies for sustainability. He has published articles in the fields of renewable energy, climate change and climate refugees.