Our Research

Our research typically occurs at the interface between established scientific disciplines, i.e. chemistry, physics, biology, engineering and materials science. Because of this we adopt a multi-scale, multi-disciplinary approach that enables us to bring a wide range of skills to bear on pressing environmental and sustainable development problems. We work with experts from the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and across the University of Sydney, as well as with institutions in Asia, Europe, Africa and the USA.

Our research is divided into three streams, although there is often crossover between streams:

1. Zero emission product and process design
2. Renewable energy and the ‘hydrogen economy’
3. Nanotechnology and nanomaterials

We are currently undertaking the following projects:

Zero emission product and process design

  1. 'Waste to energy' and 'waste to product' technologies.
  2. Zero emission design for the pulp and paper industry.
  3. Sustainable biological processes.
  4. Biomimicry in chemical engineering
  5. Phytoextraction, phytomining and bioremediation to generate value added by-products.

Figure 1. Rendered image of a zero emission reactor to treat pulp and paper waste, developed in collaboration with the BioRegional Development Group, UK.

 


Renewable energy and the Hydrogen Economy

  1. Hydrogen production from waste materials.
  2. Solar thermal gasification of biomass and wastes.
  3. Biomass combustion, gasification and pyrolysis.
  4. Process intensification of fluidisation reactors.
  5. Development of advanced porous burner technologies. Link for porous burner research

Figure 2. Porous burner combustion system developed in collaboration with Biomass Energy Services Australia

 


Nanotechnology and synthesis of nanomaterials

  1. Carbon nanotube synthesis using fluidised beds.
  2. Phytosynthesis of metallic nanoparticles.
  3. Advanced membrane development for hydrogen gas separation.
  4. Development of nanoparticle fluidisation reactors.

Figure 3. Spiral carbon nanotube synthesised using the Sydney Nanotube Fluidisation Reactor.

 


There are Masters and PhD research projects available in most of these areas. Refer to the future students page for more details.