Advance Queensland supports new technology for environmentally friendly urban wastewater management

Building supply chain resilience facilitates a better response to crises that may arise, and water treatment chemicals are crucial products for preserving public health and the economy. This is where Dr Min Zheng, University of Queensland, is using practical solutions to key industry issues through a combination of fundamental science and applied engineering.  

Dr Zheng is working to develop a suitable design for electrochemical technology to industry partners to demonstrate a new cost-effective, safe, and environmentally friendly wastewater treatment chemical with superior performance for urban wastewater management.  

Dr Zheng received $240,000 over 2 years as an Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship, which supports researchers to carry out their studies to benefit Queenslanders.  

Can you provide a short overview of your research project?  

I am working to develop and demonstrate a simple iron-oxidising electrochemical technology that removes carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) from biogas, consequently upgrading biogas to high-value biomethane, and simultaneously produces a carbonate iron chemical as a second product.  

The iron chemical produced, as micro-scale particles, will be introduced to an urban wastewater system as a substitute of the currently used iron salts, with comparable or superior performance and it is estimated that the technology will reduce current costs of iron salts by 50-75%. 

How will the funding support you on your research journey? 

This Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship program is a significant milestone in my research career development. It will enable me to use the funding to engage more technical and research support with industry partners and provide me with opportunities to address significant industry problems.  

How will your research benefit and assist Queenslanders?  

This project will provide a more sustainable approach to the supply and use of a critical wastewater treatment chemicals for Queensland.  

It will include a new and secure supply chain for cost-effective access to iron salts which is safer and a more environmentally friendly treatment chemical as well as a novel, robust and marketable technology. The product will deliver enormous economic benefits to Queensland’s water industry and local communities. 

What does it mean to you to be a recipient of the 2022 Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowships program?  

Being a recipient of the 2022 Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowships program is a wonderful honour. It provides the opportunity to express my gratitude to supervisors and mentors at the UQ water research group who have offered valuable knowledge and suggestions, and share a similar vision and passion.  

Last updated 21 Mar, 2023
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