Increasing the speed of chemical reactions has many industrial applications, but one of the most important or relevant right now is the impact we can make in the petroleum industry.
From synthesising petrochemicals to the production of biofuels and even the purification of gas from car exhaust, a faster reaction time will have many implications on purity, efficiency and waste. Our researchers are tackling this problem head on, using ‘in-situ’ tools to probe reaction mechanisms, mathematical models to optimise reaction mechanisms, and large-scale chemical reactors.
One area of research is inspired by the photosynthetic processes in which light is converted into chemical energy by green plants. We are using photocatalysts to mimic this natural process to produce hydrogen.
Our vision is to move towards 100% efficiency and zero by-products in the production of chemical feedstocks and the synthesis of fuels directly from sunlight.
The use of biological and ecological processes offers solutions to many of the challenges faced by the world’s growing population. These include new opportunities to remedy pollution and eutrophication, protect coastlines, provide clean water, support sustainable food systems, provide alternative sources of biomass and many other activities. These innovations help us address problems in low and middle-income countries and play a key role in working towards meeting targets of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Our current activities based on advanced characterisation and risk management provide a platform for the development of decision-making tools and validation guidelines for a range of technologies. These include membrane processes for water and wastewater treatment and recycling across Australia. We aim to facilitate the deployment and implementation of appropriate technology across a range of industries to supply safe water to the community.