Energy, Fuels, Biorefining and Sustainable Processing

The provision of plentiful energy in an efficient, sustainable way is one of the major challenges facing civilisation today. In the past, fuels such as coal, oil, wood were burned in air to produce heat and power with little regard to environmental effects. In the future, this unsustainable method will simply not be acceptable.

Research within the Department of Chemical Engineering at Monash University is focused on many aspects of clean and sustainable energy production. A major aspect of this research work is production of energy from Victorian Brown Coal. Brown coal contains a high fraction of water, making combustion inefficient and difficult.

Significant research activities are under way to investigate improved methods for power and chemicals production from coal and biomass including: advanced dewatering technologies, gasification processes, carbon capture technologies (both pre- and post- combustion), and chemical looping processes. In addition, the production of biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel from renewable feedstocks such as algae is also being studied.

An alternative method for production of electricity is the hydrogen fuel cell. Work is under way in the Department to investigate improved methods for hydrogen storage for automotive applications and to produce improved membranes for fuel cell applications.

Academic staff members