Study level

  • PhD
  • Master of Philosophy
  • Honours
  • Vacation research experience scheme


Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.

Research centre


Professor Graeme Millar
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Engineering
Dr John Outram
Advanced QLD Research Fellow
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Engineering


Nutrients such as ammonium and phosphate species are essential in agriculture. However, release of excessive amounts of nutrients to waterways may result in eutrophication which can lead to toxic algae blooms, killing of fish and destruction of the environment.

Compounding this issue is the fact that phosphate rock sources are gradually being exhausted. Hence, finding a means to capture and reuse phosphate species from sources such as wastewater treatment plants is potentially attractive.

Consequently, this project involves the development of new phosphate sorbents and associated testing, scale-up and techno-economics.

Research activities

You may work with larger teams which include people with skills such as:

  • chemistry
  • water treatment
  • environmental engineering
  • process engineering
  • chemical engineering.

Industry sponsors are also involved, therefore great opportunities for real world training are evident.


Project outcomes include:

  • synthesis of a range of phosphate sorbents
  • performance comparison to currently available phosphate technologies
  • extrusion and beading of sorbents
  • mechanical testing of sorbents
  • scale-up of material synthesis
  • creation of a technoeconomic model
  • field demonstration of phosphate technology.

Skills and experience

You should have an interest in environmental science.


You may be eligible to apply for a research scholarship.

Explore our research scholarships



Contact the supervisor for more information.