School of Chemical Engineering

The Water-Energy-Carbon Group conducts research on water, energy and carbon (greenhouse gases) flows through our society at various scales – technology, household, suburb, utility, industry, city, region, production systems and economy. We contribute to the design of more efficient cities and systems through metabolic analysis and benchmarking to inform policy.

We measure and model how settlements and systems consume water and energy, the inter-connections (nexus) between them, and the influence on costs, greenhouse gases (GHG) and environmental footprints. This helps us understand system efficiency and susceptibility to resource depletion in light of future pressures such as population growth and climate change. Some of our research also extends into the resource efficiency and environmental impacts of production systems, such as food supply chains and bio-production.

The group is particularly interested how water use influences energy use (and GHG) and vis versa. By studying water and energy together we can guide water and energy efficiency planning, strategy, and policy to avoid unintended burden-shifting.

The tools the group uses and builds include material flow analysis (MFA), water balance analysis, urban metabolism, environmental life cycle assessment (LCA), environmentally-extended input-output (IO) analysis, and spatially-linked data analysis (GIS).

Contact  |  Director

Bio of Group Leader

Dr Steven Kenway is an Australian Research Fellow and Research Group Leader, Water-Energy-Carbon at The University of Queensland, Brisbane. He has 24 years’ experience focussing on the urban water cycle and urban metabolism. He specialises in energy and greenhouse gas emissions of urban water, and environmental analysis, management and reporting of urban water.

Steven was awarded the 2010-11 Australian Fulbright Scholarship to study water-related energy at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (UC Berkeley), and Eawag (ETH Zurich) in 2010. Steven has led diverse national and international projects in his past roles at CSIRO (Future Cities), Brisbane Water (Environment Manager), Sydney Water, and Kellogg Brown and Root (Senior Consultant). He contributed to the formation and leadership of the SEQ Urban Water Security Research Alliance.

Steven is the International Water Association (IWA) task-force leader for water-energy frameworks, a Steering Committee member for IWA Cities of the Future, and a Management Board member of the IWA Specialist Group for Sustainable Water management. Steven has authored over 105 research articles.


Current research themes are:

  • Urban water balance / metabolism modelling
  • Water-energy (GHG) nexus
  • Integrated water and energy planning
  • LCA and Input-Output to complement metabolism analysis

Examples of current research projects are:

Research Collaborations

The research of the Water-Energy-Carbon Group involves international and national collaborations with the following organisations:

  • Smart Water Fund / Clearwater
  • Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Water Sensitive Cities
  • Industrial Ecology Lab (IeLab)
  • Eawag (Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology), Switzerland
  • Simon Fraser University, US
  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of California Berkeley, US

The research also involves collaborations with many faculties, schools and centers across UQ.

  1. Lenzen, M., A. Geschke, T. Wiedmann, J. Lane, A. Neal, T. Baynes, J. Boland, P. Daniels, C. Dey, J. Fry, M. Hadjikakoub, S. Kenway, A. Malika, D. Morang, J. Murray, S. Nettleton, L. Poruschii, C. Reynolds, H. Rowley, J. Ugonj, D. Webb, and J. West, 2014 (In press, accepted March 2014). Compiling and using input-output frameworks through collaborative virtual laboratories. Science of the Total Environment.
  2. Kenway, S., J. McMahon, V. Elmer, S. Conrad and J. Rosenblum (2013). "Managing water-related energy in future cities - a research and policy roadmap." Journal of Water and Climate Change 4(3): 161-175.
  3. Kenway, S. J., R. Scheidegger, T. A. Larsen, P. Lant and H. P. Bader (2013). "Water-related energy in households: A model designed to understand the current state and simulate possible measures." Energy and Buildings 58: 378-389
  4. Renouf, M. A., Pagan, R.J. and Wegener, M.K. (2013). "Bioproduction from Australian sugarcane: an environmental investigation of product diversification in an agro-industry." Journal of Cleaner Production 39: 87-96.
  5. Kenway, S. J. (2012). The Water-Energy Nexus and Urban Metabolism: Identification, Quantification and Interpretation of the Connections in Cities. PhD Thesis, University of Queensland.
  6. Renouf, M. A. (2011). Environmental evaluation of product diversification in sugarcane systems using life cycle assessment: An Australian case study. PhD Thesis, University of Queensland.
  7. Kenway, S., A. Gregory and J. McMahon (2011). "Urban Water Mass Balance Analysis." Journal of Industrial Ecology 15(5): 693-706.
  8. Kenway, S. J., P. Lant and T. Priestley (2011). "Quantifying water-energy links and related carbon emissions in cities." Journal of Water and Climate Change 2(4): 247-259.
  9. Kenway, S. J., P. A. Lant, A. Priestley and P. Daniels (2011). "The connection between water and energy in cities: a review." Water Science and Technology 63(9): 1983-1990.
  10. Renouf, M. A., Wegener, M.K., and Nielsen, L.K. (2008). "An environmental life cycle assessment comparing Australian sugarcane with US corn and UK sugar beet as producers of sugars for fermentation." Biomass and Bioenergy 32(12): 1144-1155.
Staff and Students


PhD Students

Masters Students

  • Mr Ineej Manandhar (visiting from Thailand September-November 2014)
  • Mr. Tauheed Ahmad Farooqui Sheikh (MIWM studentfrom India Feb 2015-June 2015)
  • Ms Vanh Mixap (MIWM student from Laos Feb 2015 - June 2015)
  • Ms Suzanne King (MIWM student from the US Feb 2015 - June 2015)
Teaching and Learning

Available Student Projects

Please contact us if you are interested in student projects under any of our research themes listed below.

Urban water balance / metabolism modelling:

  • City-region water and energy balance analysis for Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth
  • How best to communicate ‘urban metabolism’ at a city-region scale
  • Water-nutrient nexus in Australian cities
  • Water-energy-GHG nexus in Australian cities

Water-energy (GHG) nexus:

  • Characterise water-related energy in households.
  • Understand critical conditions around heat loss from household hot water systems.
  • Future technologies review

Integrated water and energy planning:

  • Use of systems dynamic models to support integrated strategic planning

LCA and Input-Output to complement metabolism modelling:

  • Characterisation of water-related impacts in LCA for Australia
  • Interrogation of IeLab Input-Output tables for data to support urban metabolism modelling


Steven Kenway teaches into and co-ordinates the Masters of Integrated Water Management (MIWM) course WATR7700 (Urban Metabolism).


Rooms S318 and S320, Hawken Engineering Building (50)
School of Chemical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology
University of Queensland
St Lucia, QLD 4072

Group Leader: Dr Steven Kenway



+61 7 3365 4170 (Group Leader)

+61 7 3346 1228 (Post-docs and PhD students)

Fax: +61 7 3365 4199