School of Chemical Engineering

The UQ Dow Centre currently leads a number of projects which aim to make an original and significant contribution to global sustainability through the production and utilisation of energy and materials. In screening potential research opportunities, we consider the potential impact on global sustainability and our regional economy, as well as the potential for the Centre to make a significant contribution through original research and knowledge leadership.

Energy Transitions

Rapid SwitchRapid Switch is an international network originated at the UQ Dow Centre which seeks to identify, anticipate and communicate industrial, regulatory and social bottlenecks and constraints that might impact the pace of decarbonisation of the global economy. The intended impact is better-informed public policy and private investment decision-making.

Key people:

UQ: Chris Greig, Stephen Wilson (Mechanical Engineering), Karen Hussey (Centre for Policy Futures), Simon Smart, Joe Lane, Jake Whitehead, Mark Hodgson, Sara Zeinal Zadeh, Gabriel Rioseco, Eve McDonald-Madden (School of Earth and Environmental sciences), Belinda Wade (UQ Business School) and Jacquelyn Humphrey (UQ Business School).

Princeton: Marc Fleurbaey, Robert Keohane (Emeritus), Atul Kohli, Eric Larson, Simon Levin, Denise Mauzerall, Michael Oppenheimer, Stephen Pacala, Robert Socolow (Emeritus), Elke Weber, Ali Daerarpour, Chai Molina, Andrew Pascale, Alicia Cooperman, Vitor Vasconcelos, and Chuan Zhang.

Carnegie Melon: Mitchell Small, Turner Cotterman

Stanford University: Gabrielle Wong Parodi

Tsinghua University: Li Zheng, Chongqing Kang, Ma Linwei, IIT-Bombay: Rangan Banerjee, IIT Delhi: Ambuj Sagar

For more information, please contact: Professor Chris Greig

Electro-MobilityThe inaugural Tritium Fellow in E-Mobility will combine analysis of the charging and mobility behaviours of existing electric vehicle (EV) owners, with an examination of the broader consumer preferences towards EVs, to investigate the challenges and opportunities for using these “batteries-on-wheels” to support the development of sustainable, affordable and resilient energy systems. Future Fellowship awards are open to researchers in the fields of science and engineering, economics, behavioural science, public policy, and business which support the transition to sustainable, low-emission, electric-powered transportation.

Key People: Chris Greig, Jake Whitehead

For more information about the research of the inaugural Tritium Fellow in E-Mobility, please contact: Dr Jake Whitehead

For more information about future Tritium Fellowships, please view the Position Description, or contact: The UQ Dow Centre

Energy and Poverty Research Group (EPRG)The EPRG is a collaborative program with a range of schools across UQ (and abroad) to address the challenge of providing affordable, reliable and sustainable energy services to the energy impoverished in developing nations. Focused on India, the program is also active in Nepal, Papua New Guinea and Southern Africa.

Key People: Chris Greig, Paul Lant, Simon Smart, Elske van de Fliert, Vigya Sharma, Jannie Grové, Franziska Curran, Matthew Herington, Tony Heynan, Romy Listo, Yuwan Malakar, Andrew Pascale, Thomas Reddell, Nicole Penman, Craig Jacobson.

For more information, please contact: Professor Paul Lant

Low Carbon Energy and Materials

Methane pyrolysis for hydrogen productionDevelopment of an innovative and sustainable technology to utilise methane for hydrogen production as both a chemical feedstock and a clean source of energy, is a priority research area for the UQ Dow Centre. Our researchers are advancing new processes that produce hydrogen and/or syngas by pyrolysing methane in molten salts and metals. The intended impact is a suite of future fuels, chemicals and solid carbons which can be produced without contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.

Key people: Simon Smart, Chris Greig, Rijia Lin, Mojgan Tabatabaei, Taiwo Odedairo

For more information, please contact: Associate Professor Simon Smart

Dry reforming of natural gas in molten metal and salt systemsThis project complements the typical UQ Dow Centre perspective on CO2 emissions of using innovative chemistry and process routes to avoid the production of CO2, and instead focuses on how to use innovative chemistry to utilise CO2 with natural gas to produce syngas.

Key people: Simon Smart, Chris Greig, Mojgan Tabatabaei, Taiwo Odedairo, Rijia Lin,

For more information, please contact: Associate Professor Simon Smart

Low-CO2 Production of IronIron and steel production is the largest energy consuming industry in the world and one of the largest CO2 emitting industries, producing around 5% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. The UQ Dow Centre is developing a new process for iron ore reduction utilising innovative chemistry, natural gas and molten salts. The process yields solid iron, solid carbon and no CO2. The intended impact is a next generation steel making process which does not generate greenhouse gas emissions.

Key people: Simon Smart, Chris Greig, Mojgan Tabatabaei, Taiwo Odedairo, Rijia Lin,

For more information, please contact: Associate Professor Simon Smart

Low-CO2 Production of CementThe global cement industry accounts for approximately 7% of overall Greenhouse Gas emissions. This research examines process options designed to avoid a significant portion of CO2 emissions. This project will provide an understanding of how different regions compare on an energy and CO2 emission intensity basis, highlighting the gap between worldwide best practice and the CO2 targets for the cement industry.

Key people: Simon Smart, Chris Greig, Mojgan Tabatabaei, Mark Hodgson

For more information, please contact: Associate Professor Simon Smart

Flexible Printed Batteries CRC-PA collaboration with UQ’s AIBN, UNSW and Printed Energy Pty Ltd under the CRC-P, this project aims to develop and commercialise thin flexible printed batteries. These batteries will have the ability to revolutionize the powering of products such as disposable healthcare devices, sensors and wearable electronic devices. The batteries will ultimately be printed in a roll-to-roll process like a newspaper, providing significant flexibility in the way they can be incorporated into every day products.

Key people: Lianzhou Wang, Chris Greig, Jannie Grové, Miaoqiang Lyu, Songcan Wang, Yuxiang Hu, Benoit Clement

For more information, please contact: Professor Lianzhou Wang

Next-Generation FertilisersA collaborative project with UQ’s School of Agriculture and Food Sciences along with the Queensland Government and industry to improve the efficiency of fertiliser use in agriculture. The project is using materials science and microbiology in an effort to reduce land degradation and nutrient run-off from fertilisers. These issues are significant for agricultural productivity and ocean health worldwide including in Queensland where the health of the Great Barrier Reef is at stake.

Key people: Bronwyn Laycock, Steven Pratt, Susanne Schmidt, Damien Batstone, Paul Luckman, Luigi Vandi, Torsten Witt, Nicole Robinson

For more information, please contact: Associate Professor Bronwyn

Circular Economy

Transforming Food WasteThe Fight Food Waste CRC aims to reduce food waste throughout the supply chain, transform unavoidable waste into innovative high-value coproducts and engage with industry and consumers to deliver behavioural change. The 'Transforming Waste Resources' program will comprise projects which are focussed on mapping resource flows, waste and root cause analysis; reviewing functions and consumer perceptions of packaging and processing; investigating product specific supply chains and identifying opportunities, and; investigating methods to increase food donation and measure its social impact.

Key people: Bronwyn Laycock, Paul Luckman, Peter Halley, Joe Lane, Noni Creasey

For more information, please contact: Dr Paul Luckman

Techno-economic Analysis

Assessing Techno-economic viabilityUnderpinning the UQ Dow Centre’s approach to research is a commitment to only pursue projects which have the potential to have significant impact on global sustainability. Techno-economic Analysis (TEA) plays an important role in determining which processes and projects are economically competitive and scalable as well as environmentally and socially acceptable. The UQ Dow Centre undertakes research and consulting projects for internal projects, UQ projects, and on behalf of industry or other clients to assess the economic viability of a technical process and provide direction to further research, development, investment, and policy making.

Key people: Mojgan Tabatabaei, Simon Smart

For more information, please contact: Associate Professor Simon Smart

More information about the UQ Dow Centre's research can be found via our publications.