Field of expertise: Bioprocessing
Position: Senior Research Engineer
What are you working on at the moment?
Two main projects. One examining adverse reaction chemistry that occurs in sugar mill evaporators leading to sugar degradation and acidic condensates that impact on maintenance and factory revenue.
The second project is examining the scale up of technology to commercialise the production of fuels, biochemicals and other bioproducts from agricultural residues and wastes by novel chemical processes. To further support this research, I was awarded the Advance Queensland Mid-Career Fellowship in November 2018 which was funded by Mercurius Biorefining and Mercurius Australia. The project also involves the design and construction of a pilot plant facility to translate the research from the laboratory. Phase 2 of the Rural R&D for Profit project will utilise the pilot plant facility and this funding is helping to progress and fast-track the technology development.
Why is your work important?
Reducing dependence on fossil fuels in an economic and environmentally friendly manner will help the sustainability of our country. This can be through increasing energy efficiency of existing processes like sugar production or developing new technologies that can utilize wastes.
What excites or inspires you about your field?
There is always a scientific challenge to overcome or idea to examine that can add value (economic or environmental) or lead to process improvements.
What are your hopes for the future?
To see the development of a sustainable biorefining industry in Queensland and improved viability of existing rural industries. This would see job creation and upskilling of workforce in regional communities and increased prosperity.