Monash Infrastructure wins another research hub

Monash Infrastructure wins another ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub, in water treatment and separation processes

Associate Professor Xiwang Zhang, co-theme coordinator of Monash Infrastructure’s water theme, will be the director of a new research hub that will transform industrial processes such as such as water, food, mining, chemicals, oil and gas that use separation processes, to be more energy-efficient, cost-competitive, and environmentally sustainable .

The ARC Research Hub for Energy-efficient Separation will develop advanced separation materials, innovative products and smart processes to reduce the energy consumption of separation processes and enhance Australia’s capability as a world-leading technology provider.

Federal Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham announced the awarding of $4 million to Monash for the ARC Research Hub for Energy-efficient Separation on 5 June 2017.

The hub will draw on the expertise of 33 leading scientists, researchers and industrial experts from Monash and 25 partner institutions including Australian and international universities and companies.  

Hub Director Associate Professor Zhang said the new hub will deliver multiple benefits to Australia. “It will advance Australia’s capability in the manufacture of advanced separation materials and equipment to be world-leading technology providers in separation technologies and link Australian manufacturing companies to global markets."

Director of Monash Infrastructure Professor Graham Currie says the ARC funding will create a world of opportunity for the water and associated industries that use separation.

“In addition to delivering tangible solutions to some of the technical challenges faced by separation industries, the collaborative hub will also create a cutting-edge knowledge platform for training researchers and practitioners in engineering and materials science.”

Professor Currie said the ARC Research Hub for Energy-efficient Separation was the second ARC hub that Monash Infrastructure had helped to build through strategic advice, bid support and partner engagement. “The first ARC hub that MI facilitated was the NanoComm hub, which is developing novel construction materials to help Australia’s infrastructure sector”.

The ARC Research Hub for Energy-efficient Separation was one of two new Industrial Transformation Research Hubs awarded to Monash’s Faculty of Engineering in the 2017 grant selection round. The second hub to be headquartered at Monash from 2018 is the ARC Research Hub for High Value Processing of Lignocellulosics, directed by Professor Gil Garnier, which will covert biomass waste streams from the Australian pulp, paper and forest industries into new high-value products.  

Monash’s Interim Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Professor Jeff Walker said, “Our collaborative approach and our ability to put together multi-disciplinary teams with incredible depth and breadth of knowledge and experience has made Monash Engineering a magnet for industry and government.  Thanks to a massive team effort and the continued support from industry and the ARC, we will carry on with our world-leading direction as we transform traditional manufacturing research and innovation”.

The two new research hubs add to Monash Engineering’s existing four hubs in the area of advanced manufacturing: Transforming Australia’s Manufacturing Industry through High Value Additive Manufacturing, BioProcessing Advanced Manufacturing, Computational Particle Technology and Nanoscience-based Construction Material Manufacturing, demonstrating Monash’s leadership role in transformational manufacturing research and innovation.

Monash Vice-Provost (Research), Professor Pauline Nestor said the funding announcement underlines Monash’s high impact in addressing critical challenges for Australia and the world.  

“The two new research hubs, led by outstanding researchers in our Engineering Faculty, will create tremendous opportunities for Australia across multiple sectors in our economy. These hubs focus world-leading researchers and research infrastructure at Monash to address significant challenges facing industrial economies today and into the future,” said Professor Nestor.

The Australian Research Council’s Industrial Transformation Research Hubs supports collaborative research activity, between the Australian higher education sector and industry, designed to focus on strategic outcomes that are not independently realisable. Hubs provide funding to universities to engage in cutting-edge research on new technologies and economic, commercial and social transformation that benefit industry partners.