School of Chemical Engineering

Professor Bill Clarke

Office: 49-424:1
Phone: +61 7 3365 6464

Bill Clarke is a Professor in the Schools of Civil and Chemical Engineering at the University of Queensland and Director of the Centre for Solid Waste Bioprocessing. 

  • BEng (Civil), UniSA, 1981
  • MSc (Env Sci), University of Notre Dame (USA) , 1986
  • PhD (Chemical Engineering), UQ, 1992. 


In between these degrees and before joining UQ as a Lecturer in 1994, Bill Clarke worked as a water supply and sewerage operations engineer (1981-84, E&WS, Sth Aust) and as a consulting Environmental Engineer (1992-94, Woodward Clyde, Brisbane).   


The Centre for Solid Waste Bioprocessing focuses on the re-use and recycling of solid organic waste from both municipalities and the agricultural sector, concentrating on bio-conversion processes.  The Centre is particularly interested in the utilization of solid organic waste to produce renewable fuels.  As an example, the Centre has developed a low cost packed bed digestion system for solid organic waste, now being commercialised as the BiocellTM technology.  The Centre staff currently consists of Professor Clarke, 2 Post-doctoral fellows (Dr Sihuang Xie and Dr James Strong) and a rapidly growing postgraduate cohort.

Professor Clarke is active in consulting, particularly in advising municipalities on alternative waste treatment technologies (e.g., Gold Coast, Bendigo, Fraser Coast), has over 100 journal and conference publications, has been the chief investigator on 5 ARC projects and is an Editor on the Journal of Waste Management.  He is one of the ongoing 6 member organising committee for the IWWG Energy from Biomass and Waste Conferences (Venice 2008, 2010 and 2012).

Teaching and Learning: 

Program Leader, BE (Civil and Environmental Engineering)

CIVL3150 – Modelling of Environmental Systems

CHEE4002 – Environmental Risk Assessment

CHEE4012 – Industrial Wastewater and Solid Waste Management

  1. Large scale digestion of packed beds of shredded MSW by a flooding and draining cycle
  2. Landfill emissions, examining waste from the point that it is placed in a landfill, till the completion of degradation processes
  3. The utilisation of biogas as a feedstock to microbial fuel cells
  4. The utilization of organic wastes in the mining and mineral processing industries, as a reagent in the treatment of acid mine drainage and in the refining processes. 

Recent completed PhD students with Bill Clarke as principal supervisor:

  1. Simon Tannock, Anaerobic digestion of blackwater from an office building with concomitant solid organic waste addition to improve methane production and biological nutrient removal, 2013.
  2. Hang Zheng, Use of Membranes to Control Dissolved Hydrogen Concentrations for Enhancing the Biological Hydrogen Yield from Glucose Fermentation, 2012.
  3. Beth Rounsefell, Laboratory-scale investigation of the decentralised anaerobic co-digestion of blackwater and food waste for a tourism facility, 2010.
Key Publications: 
  1. Rounsefell, B.D., O’Sullivan, C.A., Chinivasagam, N., Batstone, D. and Clarke W.P., Fate of pathogen indicators in a domestic blend of food waste and wastewater through a two-stage anaerobic digestion system, Wat. Sci. Tech., 67, 2, 366-373, 2013.
  1. Zheng, H., O’Sullivan, C., Merredy, K.R., Zeng, R.J. , Duke, M. and Clarke, W.P.,  Production of Bio-hydrogen using a Membrane Anaerobic Reactor: Limitations due to Diffusion, Int. J. H2 Energy, 35, 5301-5311, 2010.
  1. Jensen, P.D., Hardin, M.T. and Clarke, W.P., Effect of biomass concentration and inoculum source on the rate of anaerobic cellulose solubilization, Bioresour Technol, 100, 5219-5225, 2009.  
  1. Nopharatana, A., Pullammanappallil, P., and W.P. Clarke, Kinetics and Dynamic Modelling of Batch Anaerobic Digestion of Municipal Solid Waste in a Stirred Reactor, Waste Management, 27, 595-603, 2007.
  1. O’Sullivan, C.A., Burrell, P.C., Clarke, W.P. and Blackall, L.L., Structure of a cellulose degrading bacterial community during anaerobic digestion, Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 92, 871-878, 2005.