Waste technologies and processes

The Centre for a Waste-Free World's Waste Technologies and Processes Program draws on QUT's strengths in process engineering, robotics, industrial biotechnology and polymer chemistry.

The program will research, pilot and implement advanced technical solutions to avoid waste and transform waste into valuable products that help clean up plastic pollution and tackle the challenges of waste in remote or isolated communities.

Real-world innovation

Our researchers develop technologies such as new polymers, polymer degradation and processes derived by synthetic biology to tackle the issue of waste.

Through this program, we will partner with industries and governments seeking to analyse, research, develop and implement solutions to waste challenges both in Australia and internationally.

We work across disciplines to drive technical implementation of processes and solutions, and ensure that technical solutions synergise with societal and economic needs.

As well as technical process development and advanced materials handling through robotics, the program will research critical factors such as technical and economic viability, engineering design and lifecycle to maximise overall environmental benefit.

Our projects

Our research program team oversees the following projects.

Intelligent bins to sort waste

We're using the power of science to help Australia meet its target of ensuring 100% of all packaging is recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025. Consumers will be able to auto-sort their rubbish before it goes to landfill using robotic bin technologies.

Sustainable battery technology

Turning waste to value: our scientists are investigating ways to develop batteries from carbon materials derived from cotton/textile waste. These will be used for large-scale applications and will be much cheaper than traditionally used lithium-ion batteries.

Tackling illegal plastic waste dumping

We're creating ways to track plastic products using barcoding and a regulatory framework that allows identification of manufacture or origin. This will help tackle illegal plastic waste dumping and trafficking, especially in developing countries, by improving product stewardship.

Our scientists have developed unique reverse adhesives and coatings that help unlock the complete recycling and recovery of waste materials at end-of-life.

New high-performance textiles using synthetic biology

Researchers are working to develop textile technology to repair damaged fibres, custom dye textiles and give antiviral properties to fabrics that can be made into personal protective equipment.

Advanced imaging techniques for solar cells

With photovoltaic solar cells a fast-growing renewable energy technology worldwide, this project aims to help identify faulty solar panels and enable their recycling to maintain energy yield and reduce e-waste.

Investor activism to reduce consumer waste

We're looking at how social movement organisations help mobilise investors to demand the adoption of waste reduction strategies by major retailers (eg. product stewardship, takeback schemes).

Enzyme technology breaking down plastic waste

Researchers are hoping to help address the global accumulation of plastic waste by developing an enzyme-based solution that degrades mixed plastics into intermediate products to create new materials and polymers.

Program team

Professor Leonie Barner

Macromolecular and materials chemistry

Centre Director

Dr Ajay Pandey

Robotics and autonomous systems, electrical and electronic engineering

Program Leader

Professor Robert Speight

Microbial biotechnology, industrial biotechnology, biochemistry and cell biology

Program Leader

Professor Christopher Barner-Kowollik

Macromolecular and materials chemistry

Associate Professor Junior Te'o

Industrial biotechnology, genetics, microbiology

Dr Anja Goldmann

Macromolecular and materials chemistry

Dr Tom Rainey

Chemical engineering, interdisciplinary engineering, mechanical engineering

Professor Les Dawes

Environmental engineering, environmental science and management

Dr Deepak Dubal

Physical chemistry, materials engineering, nanotechnology

Dr Alexander Gissibl

Synthetic biology and biotechnology

Dr Lalehvash Moghaddam

Analytical chemistry, crop and pasture production, agriculture, land and farm management

Dr Leigh Gebbie

Electrical and electronic engineering

Dr Jawahar Nerkar

Electrochemical engineering, chemical sciences, nanotechnology, physical chemistry

Professor Ian O'Hara

Chemical engineering, industrial biotechnology

Dr Laura Navone

Molecular biology, industrial biotechnology

Professor Ken Ostrikov

Electrical and electronic engineering

Associate Professor Prashant Sonar

Macromolecular and materials chemistry, nanotechnology, chemical sciences

Dr Frederic Maire

Artificial intelligence and image processing, interdisciplinary engineering

Professor Steven Bottle

Organic chemistry, macromolecular and materials chemistry, medicinal and biomolecular chemistry

Dr Kathleen Mullen

Analytical chemistry, macromolecular and materials chemistry, physical chemistry

Dr Hong Duc Pham

Chemical engineering, molecular design and synthesis

Dr Chaminda Gallage

Civil engineering

Contact us

Centre for a Waste-Free World

Institute for Future Environments
Level 6, P Block
Gardens Point
2 George St
Brisbane QLD 4000 Australia

Postal address

Centre for a Waste-Free World
Institute for Future Environments
GPO Box 2434
Brisbane QLD 4001

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