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We are focused on transforming energy and materials into more usable and value-added forms, including renewable energy.

Our researchers apply a combination of experimental and theoretical approaches to the best technological solutions for improved efficiency, maximum output and financial viability.

Graduates from our discipline progress into a wide spectrum of industries, turning raw materials into products that are used every day.

Biofuel Engine Research Facility

We host Australia's largest biofuel production testing facility, specialising in engine performance testing and biofuels emissions testing.

Researchers at the Biofuel Engine Research Facility are committed to fuelling a greener Australia by continually refining biofuel composition for best performance and lowest emissions.

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QUT Science and Engineering student

Real students

"I think the practical experience that I gained here while I'm at uni has been very helpful with a lot of projects that I'm doing. Even down to writing reports at uni, I know exactly how I would format a report and what the industry standard is like."

Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Chemical Process)


We develop efficient and sustainable processes, with low energy footprints, that provide key improvements to business operations and profitability.

Our research works to refine, renew and modify raw materials to produce useful products and by-products. Some examples are:

  • animals
  • commodity chemicals
  • plants such as sugar cane
  • ore-bearing rocks
  • waste.

Our specialties include:

  • biofuels and biocommodities
  • fluid dynamics modelling
  • industrial and building energy management and design
  • renewable energy technologies
  • techno-economic analysis
  • waste and water management.

We are recognised for our research in:

  • bio-process industries such as biofuels and waste products processing
  • chemicals manufacturing
  • food manufacturing
  • gas production
  • minerals processing.


Secondary aerosol formation from engine exhaust emissions

ARC Discovery Project
Project leaders


Project summary

This project aims to investigate the role of reactive volatile organic compounds from vehicles using alternative fuels in the formation and evolution of secondary organic aerosols (SOA). Expected outcomes include a greatly improved understanding of the mechanisms and precursors of SOA formation. The benefits should provide the knowledge needed to set vehicle emission regulations that can properly control urban air pollution episodes because the mechanisms and precursors of its formation will be better understood.

The project will also provide an experimental framework that will guide policy formulation and provide the science needed for development of strategies to improve air quality and health.

Find out more about this project.

An integrated scholarship program in process engineering

Project leader

Associate Professor Robert Speight



Project summary

This integrated scholarship scheme is bringing together undergraduate process engineers, masters and PhD research students, researchers and academic staff with the meat processing industry to engage the future workforce and develop co-product transformation technologies to reduce waste and increase revenues.

Reducing boiler maintenance costs and deferring capital expenditure through improved technology

Sugar Research Australia (SRA) Research and Development Project
Project leader


Project summary

Boiler tube erosion and corrosion costs the Australian sugar industry approximately $5 million a year in repairs, stops and inefficient operation. We are working with CSIRO Process Science & Engineering in Melbourne on a project to  quantify and improve the performance of tube materials and coatings in two boiler components: convection banks and air heaters. Laboratory testing has recently been completed, with the next step being onsite installation and testing.

Find out more about this project. (PDF file, 813.64 KB)

Novel moving drifter system for monitoring waterways

Project leader

Professor Richard Brown



Project summary

This project plans to improve the monitoring of our waterways by developing a novel moving drifter system that takes flow and water quality measurements along the pathlines of the drifters. One of the key challenges for Australian water management lies in monitoring and managing rivers and estuaries effectively over large geographical areas. Traditionally, instrumentation at stationary points has been used for such monitoring, under the simplifying assumption that a single point adequately represents a very large region of water.

By contrast, the Real-Time Flow Logging of Water (RT-FLOW) system expects to provide information from large regions of our waterways, providing stakeholders with more information to enable them to better manage issues including storm surge and erosion. The project also aims to provide improved validation of hydrodynamic models.

Advances in real-time satellite monitoring of flow in rivers and estuaries

ARC Linkage Project
Project leader


Project summary

The aim of this project is to develop a novel Lagrangian drifter system capable of monitoring river and estuarine water velocity and turbulence, dispersion coefficients and water parameters. This will enable improved hydrodynamic models to be developed through better calibration and improved representation of their governing processes.

Our research will provide more accurate predictions of flood and tidal surge levels, pollutant transport, changes in water parameters due to spills or weather events, erosion and other environmentally important phenomena.

From tailings to soil: In situ remediation in mine site rehabilitation

ARC Linkage Project
Project leader

Dr Sara Couperthwaite and collaborators.



Project summary

By enhancing and guiding abiotic and biotic processes of soil development, this project aims to accelerate the in situ remediation of bauxite residue (alumina refining tailings). This project will build detailed knowledge on the chemical, physical, and biological properties of bauxite residue and apply this to develop field-scale in situ remediation strategies.

This research will also advance understanding of soil development and primary succession of microbial communities in extreme, anthropogenic environments such as those presented by tailings.

From innovators to mainstream market: a toolkit for transforming Australian housing and maximising sustainability outcomes for stakeholders

ARC Linkage Project
Project leader

Dr Wendy Miller



Project summary

As a significant national asset, Australia's housing needs to provide economic, social and environmental value to occupants, owners and the broader society. Learning from innovation, this project will deliver strategies to improve the productivity of the housing sector and enhance the value proposition of sustainable homes for all stakeholders.

Find out more about this project.

Australian Solar Thermal Research Initiative

Project leader

Professor Ted Steinberg



Project summary

The Australian solar thermal research initiative (ASTRI) is an $87 million, eight year international collaboration with leading research institutions, industry bodies and universities that will position Australia in concentrating solar thermal (CST) power technologies.

QUT has specific interest in materials selection for high temperature thermal storage, maintenance and planning of plant, solar field related maintenance and cleaning and modelling/ design of advanced turbines.

This project is working with the United States-Australia Solar Energy Collaboration (USASEC) and funded by Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

View our student topics

Our topics

Are you looking to study at a higher or more detailed level? We are currently looking for students to research topics at a variety of study levels, including PhD, Masters, Honours or the Vacation Research Experience Scheme (VRES).
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Our experts

We host an expert team of researchers and teaching staff, including Head of School and discipline leaders. Our discipline brings together a diverse team of experts who deliver world-class education and achieve breakthroughs in research.
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