Study level


Master of Philosophy


Science and Engineering Faculty

School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Associate Professor Yunfei Xi
Advance Queensland Fellow
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty


The shortage of freshwater supply in many areas in Australia makes reusing wastewater highly necessary, and proper treatment of wastewater at reasonable costs is critical for the industrial sustainability.

For example, the food and beverage processing industry is Australia’s largest manufacturing industry in terms of both financial contribution and employment. This industry consumes massive amounts of freshwater and produces a large quantity of wastewater containing various organic contaminants.

Currently, a range of pre-treatment techniques including dissolved air flotation, bioreactor and conventional Fenton technique have been employed prior to final ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis. However, quick fouling and costly premature of membranes are inevitable issues, thus the treatment and reuse of wastewater on-site remains a significant challenge.

In order to solve these challenges, this project aims to develop novel low-cost and high-efficient heterogeneous Fenton catalysts by combining functionalised carbon materials with natural iron containing minerals to accelerate the low Fe(II) regeneration efficiency in a conventional heterogeneous Fenton process and lower the cost.

The resulting materials will not only advance fundamental knowledge but also find wide practical applications for industrial wastewater treatment and reuse, soil and subsurface water remediation, and even for hospital wastewater treatment particularly during a pandemic.

Research activities

In this project, you'll evaluate existing and undeveloped sources of industrial iron-containing minerals abundant in Australia for the fabrication of different composite materials. These minerals may include magnetite and hematite etc.

A combination of the two products/techniques via laboratory synthesis will further lead to high value-added environmental remediation products with high performance and improved cost efficiency for wastewater treatment.

You'll gain valuable and practical experience in the development and characterisation of these novel materials under the supervision of Associate Professor Yunfei Xi, who is an expert on natural minerals, analytical chemistry, chemical engineering and environmental remediation at QUT.


Masters and PhD students will ersearch and develop:

  • innovative new heterogeneous Fenton materials that are highly efficient and cost effective
  • a fundamental understanding – at a microstructural level – of novel heterogenous Fenton materials.

PhD students will take the project further and investigate theoretical construction of the relevant reactions and mechanisms under the framework of mineralogy, crystallography and materials science.

Skills and experience

You should have background in one or more of these areas:

  • chemistry
  • environmental science
  • materials science
  • minerals.


You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.

Annual scholarship round



Contact the supervisor - A/Prof. Yunfei Xi at for more information.