Professor Sankar Bhattacharya

Professor Bhattacharya came to academia in 2009 after having worked for twenty-one years in the industry – at the International Energy Agency in France, Anglo Coal Australia and CRC for Lignite in Australia, and Development Consultants in India. He commissioned the first CFBC in Australia, led the first Oxygen-blown HTW and Transport Reactor trials of Victorian brown coal, and worked on the commissioning of coal-fired plants in India. Since 2010, he has supervised six post-doctoral researchers and 27 students to Ph.D. completion. they are based in industry and academia in Australia, Bangladesh, China, Germany, India, Malaysia, Sweden, Thailand, UK, and the USA. He currently leads a group of 16 Ph.D. students and researchers working on gasification of solid fuels, processing of wastes, Chemical Looping for CO2 capture and chemicals, biofuels production, and platform chemicals from biomass.

Professor Bhattacharya believes in the near to intermediate-term application of engineering research. Most of his research projects are, therefore, affiliated with industries in Australia and overseas. Professor Bhattacharya has presented extensively at academic and industry conferences in Australia and overseas and advises research bodies and governments nationally and internationally.

Major Accomplishments

  • Leader – commissioning, operation and testing (Australia’s first) of Victorian and South Australian lignites in first Circulating Fluidized bed Combustion (CFBC) pilot plant in Australia, 1998-2000
  • Leader – first oxygen-blown gasification of Victorian, South Australian and North Dakota lignites in pressurised High temperature Winkler (HTW) gasification pilot plant in Australia, 2002-2005
  • Joint Leader – first air and oxygen-blown gasification of Victorian and South Australian lignites in transport reactor gasification pilot plant in Grand Forks, USA, 2003
  • Develop IEA’s policy recommendations for global coal-fired plant efficiency improvements for the G8 Heads of State delivered by the IEA in Hokkaido in 2008
  • Lead OECD-Heiligendamm Dialogue Unit’s work on coal-fired power generation for G8+5 countries, leading to final reporting in Moscow in 2009
  • Present IEA’s work in Cleaner Fossil Fuels in IEA member and non-member countries
  • Contribute to fossil fuel-fired power sections in IEA’s publications including the World Energy Outlook, Energy Technology Perspectives, Carbon Capture and Storage, and IEA’s country reviews – Indonesia, Netherlands, USA
  • Assist in developing technical criteria for World Bank’s financing for modernization of older coal-fired plants, 2008

Professional Appointments

  • Interim Head, Department of Chemical Engineering, Monash University, 2017-Feb 2018
  • Professor and Deputy Head, Department of Chemical Engineering, Monash University, 2014-2016
  • Associate Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, Monash University, 2009-2013
  • Leader-G8 Cleaner Fossil Fuels program, International Energy Agency (IEA), Paris, 2006-2009
  • Principal Process Engineer, Anglo Coal Australia, 2006
  • Principal Research Engineer and Key Researcher, CRC Clean Power from Lignite, Australia, 1995-2006
  • Research Associate, Energy Technology, Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, 1988-1990
  • Senior Design Engineer- Coal-fired power station design and commissioning services, Development Consultants, India, 1981-1987

Professional Affiliations

  • Fellow – Australian Institute of Energy
  • Member – Society of Petroleum Engineers


  • Graduate Certificate in Higher Education, Monash University, 2010
  • Diploma in Management, Melbourne Business School, 2002
  • PhD, University of Newcastle, Australia, 1995 – Chemical Engineering
  • M. Eng, Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, 1988 – Energy Technology


Processing of wastes - plastics, tyres, paints, optical fibres, eWastes inclduing batteries,agro-residues
Chemicals and hydrogen from solid fuels including biomass


Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, ANLEC R&D, CSIRO, Worley Parsons, JPower, JCoal

Community service/ Major Professional Involvement

  • Expert Reviewer – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 2012
  • Reviewer – World Energy Outlook, International Energy Agency
  • Reviewer – Australian Research Council- Discovery, Linkage, Laureate and Future Fellowship schemes,
  • Assessor
    • Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Commission
    • National Research Foundation – South Africa
    • Ministério da Educação e Ciência, Portugal
    • Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment, Government of New Zealand
    • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
    • Research Council – King Fahd University, Saudi Arabia
    • National Research Council – Kazakhstan
  • Member – Clean Coal Technology ASEAN and East Asian region working Group, METI, Japan, 2010
  • Member – UN Economic Commission for Europe-Cleaner electricity production
  • Member – Advisory Committee, Clean Coal Victoria, 2011
  • Member – Science and Engineering Advisory Board, Government of Victoria
  • Member – Research and Investment Advisory Committee, Centre for Low Emissions Technology, Queensland; 2004-2006
  • Member – Management Committee, Australian Institute of Energy Victorian branch, 2005-2006; fronted Victorian Government’s Senate Committee into their inquiry on Energy Services Industry
  • Advisory Committee member and/or invited Session Chair in national and international conferences – Freiberg Conference on IGCC and XTL- 2005 – 2017, Western Fuels Symposium-2004, USA, AIE Conference-2006, International Coal Science &Technology Conference-2009, International Low-rank Coal Symposium – 2010, 2012, Clearwater Conference 2012-2017
  • Presenter – Course on Lignite utilization and Advanced Power Generation Processes to industry employees and postgraduates, 2001, 2003, Melbourne.
  • Industry supervisor of PhD students in Australia, Japan and Thailand
  • Examiner of PhD theses and university academic promotion applications in Australia, India, China, Thailand
  • Guest editor – Fuel Processing Technology and Fuel special issues
  • Reviewers of international journals and book publishersFuel, Energy & Fuels, Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, Fuel Processing Technology, Int J of Hydrogen Energy, J Physical Chemistry Letters, Biomass and Bioenergy, Bioresource Technology, Zeitschrift fr Physikalische Chemie, Chemical Engineering Technology, Chemical Engineering Research and Design, Chemical Engineering Science, ASME journals, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, The Electrochemical Society Journals, ASTM International

Postgraduate supervision

  • PhD completed – 27; MS completed – 2
  • Current supervision – 16 students

Selected Recent Keynote and Invited Presentations

  • Invited – Coal/biomass gasification and Chemical Looping Combustion, Penn State University, the University of Washington at St Louis, University of Maryland, September 2016
  • Plenary Speaker – Chemical Looping Combustion, 7th International Symposium on Combustion, Tsinghua University, 2015
  • Panel member – technical discussion on Chemical Looping Combustion, Clearwater conference, Florida, 2015
  • Keynote speaker – Chemical Looping for power and chemicals, CHEMECA 2017
  • Keynote speaker – Coal gasification, CHEMECA 2014, CHEMECA 2010
  • Panel member, technical discussion on high-value products from low-rank coals, Clearwater conference, Florida, 2013
  • Keynote and course presenter on gasification – 3rd Annual Coal Upgrading and Conversion, Singapore, 2013
  • Keynote address, International Conference on Coal Science and Technology, 2011 and 2009
  • Invited presentation on gasification, ATSE/INAE/Energy Ministry Australia India Energy Efficiency Workshop, New Delhi, 2011
  • Course presenter, Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Climate Oxy-fuel combustion, 2011
  • Invited presentation, ASEAN Energy Conference, Kualalumpur, August 2010
  • Invited presentation, Low-rank coal in ASEAN and East Asian region, Jakarta, March 2010
  • Invited presentation, Victorian Energy and Power conference, March 2010
  • Keynote address, 3rd International Novel Carbon Resource Sciences Symposium, November 2009, Kyushu, Japan
  • Clean Coal Technology – Parliamentary briefing on behalf of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering at the Victorian Parliament house, July 2009 and 2012
  • Panel speaker, Power Industry’s response to the challenge of climate change, Panelist, Powergen Europe, Milan June 4, 2008 ; other panelists included CEO- Siemens Energy Division, President-Alstom Power Systems
  • Speaker, Clean Coal Technology and Retrofitting opportunities in the ASEAN region, IEA-IAEA-Thai Energy Ministry Workshop, Bangkok, September 22-23, 2008
  • Speaker, Coal Gasification, International Seminar, Brazilian Coal Association, Brasilia, June 27, 2007
  • Panel Speaker, Realistic technology options for the power generation sector from now to 2030, Powering ASEAN: technology and Policy Options, Bangkok , 6-7 September 2007

Research Interests

Gasification and pyrolysis – coal, biomass and wastes for fuel and chemicals
production; Advanced combustion for easier CO 2 capture – Chemical looping, Oxy-pf and Oxy-CFB combustion; Biofuels from biomass and algae; Coal and biomass drying; Life Cycle Analysis; Platform chemicals from biomass

Recent Research Projects

  • Gasification of brown coal and biomass – catalytic and mineral matter effects, and assessment of slagging, slag rheology
  • Pyrolysis and gasification and pyrolysis of wastes for fuels and energy production
  • Catalytic conversion of liquids from waste plastics, MSW, and Tyres to chemicals and fuels
  • DME and DMC production from lignites and biomass
  • Fine chemicals from biomass and algae through catalytic conversion
  • Catalytic conversion of algae for chemicals and fuels production
  • Oxyfuel combustion of Victorian Brown coal and overseas lignites, and mineral matter effects
  • Economics of Oxyfuel retrofitting of lignite
  • Chemical looping combustion and gasification of lignites and biomass, catalytic and mineral matter effects
  • Biomass and lignite application in Direct carbon fuel cell
  • Use of lignitic ash for building products and CO2 storage
  • Steam and flue gas drying of coal and related drying kinetics
  • LCA study mineral processing – Copper and Nickel minerals
  • Energy Economics

Patent, Book Chapters and Presentations


Advanced power generation process for use with high moisture lignites, with Malcolm McIntosh, – Australian patent no 740099 (86175/98), US patent no. 6148599 (09/114432)

Levoglucosenone production (patent application: AU2018900474) and

Power from waste biomass production Provisional patents 2018904255 and PCT/AU2019/051238

Book Chapters

  • Three chapters: Carbonization of Sawdust Briquettes, Batch Carbonization of Selected Agro-forestry Residues, Characterization of Selected Agro-forestry Residues, in BioCoal : Technology and Economics, S. C. Bhattacharya and R. M. Shrestha (eds.), Regional Energy Resources Information Centre, Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand, 1990. ISBN 974-8201-414
  • An Overview of Advanced Power Generation Technologies Using Brown Coal, in Advances in the Science of Victorian Brown Coal (edited by C Z Li), Elsevier, October 2004, ISBN 0-08-044269-2
  • Fermentable Sugars from Ligno-cellulosic Biomass: Technical Challenges, in (Biofuel Technologies – Recent Technologies (edited Vijay Gupta and Maria Tuohy), Springer, February 2013, ISBN 978-3-642-34518-0
  • Chapter 10: DICE, Direct Carbon Fuel Cells, and other advanced methods for power and chemicals production from low rank coals, in Low-rank coals for power generation and fuel production, to be published by Elsevier

Books Edited and authored

  • Fossil Fuel Fired Power Generation – Case Studies of Recently Constructed Plants, International Energy Agency, ISBN 978-9264-03908-7, 2008
  • Power Generation from Coal: Ongoing Developments and Outlook, International Energy Agency, 2011
  • Drying of Biomass, Biosolids and Coal, CRC Press, 2019

Journal Publications
See Sankar Bhattacharya’s Journal contributions through published book chapters, articles, journal papers and in the media.

Research Reports

Project Sponsors and Partners
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, JPower, Australian Research Council, State Government of Victoria, Department of Resource, Energy and Tourism-Canberra, AusAID, Loy Yang Power, International Power, Energy Australia, Ozmotech Pty Ltd, CSIRO, HRL Ltd, Kyushu Electric, ANLEC R&D, Brown Coal Innovation Australia, Australia China Strategic Research Fund, Go8-DAAD, CSIRO, ATSE, Alstom. Korea Institute of Energy Research.

Teaching Commitments

  • CHE3164 - Reaction Engineering
  • CHE4170 - Design Project
  • CHE4180 - Chemical Engineering Project
  • ENE3048 - Energy and the environment
  • CHE5299 - Biorefinery Processes – MS level
  • CHE5881 and CHE6881 - Advanced Reaction Engineering – MS level
Last modified: 10/06/2021