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Current Bioenergy Research in Australia

Australia has a strong and varied research sector focussed on several elements of biomass, bioenergy and biomaterials.  This webpage presents the activities of the leading Australian Universities and enables the research students at the respective Universities to present a snap-shot of their PhD research.

If you would like your research profiled on this page please send a brief summary of the research area, identify three key words, include a high resolution photo and a contact email to

Each year, several University students make presentations and present posters at our Annual Conference.  Bioenergy Australia 2015 will be held in Tasmania.  See the Bioenergy Australia 2015 Conference webpage for more details.

See the research and students in the sections following below.

Queensland University of Technology (QUT)

University of Southern Queensland (USQ)

University of New South Wales

University of the Sunshine Coast

James Cook University

Griffith University

Monash University

Murdoch University

University of Queensland

University of Sydney

University of Melbourne

Curtin University 


Further details on the areas of Research at QUT can be found in  'Our Members' section of the BA website.

QUT Research Students:



Further details on the areas of Research at University of Melbourne can be found in 'Our  Members' section of the BA website.

University of Melbourne Research Students: David Coote

University of Melbourne logo

David Coote, University of Melbourne;

Key words: Distributed woody biomass

PhD Research: Woody biomass comprises the largest renewable component of global primary energy supply.  Australia has seen comparatively limited adoption of this low-carbon energy source. Woody biomass energy systems have a number of appealing characteristics  but sustainable feedstocks are limited.  My research is aimed at identifying how woody biomass energy systems can be deployed to best advantage with respect to relevant criteria. Of particular interest is how woody biomass can be used with other renewables. 

Supervisors: Christopher Weston; Mark Brown; Roger Dargaville; Phil Polglase.




Further details on the areas of Research at the National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture [NCEA] at USQ can be found in our  'Our Members' section of the BA website.

USQ Research Students:  Peter Harris; Jenny Spence

Peter Harris

Peter Harris, University of Southern Queensland;

Key words: Biogas; abattoir waste; fats, oils and greases

PhD Research: To pre-treat wastewater high in fat, oil and grease content in an attempt to increase bioavailability of lipid content and subsequently increase methane production through anaerobic digestion. Methods will include ultrasonication, thermal treatment in an autoclave, thermochemical treatment with sodium hydroxide and autoclaving, and novel bio-surfactant emulsification at various concentrations. Analyses will focus on bio-methane production, soluble chemical oxygen demand, fat, oil and grease content, volatile and total solids, and volatile fatty acids. The results from these investigations will be reported in a comparable manner, as comparison is difficult between studies due to a lack of standardization in the field.

Supervisor - A/Prof Bernadette McCabe (

Publication s- Review of pre-treatments used in anaerobic digestion and their potential application in high-fat cattle slaughterhouse wastewater. Applied Energy. June 2015. Available unitl August 16, 2015.

Jenny Spence

Jenny Spence, University of Southern Queensland;

Key words: Paunch waste; red meat industry; characteristics

PhD Research: Paunch waste is currently of no value to the red meat processing industry yet it shows potential as an energy bioresource. The challenge lies with the need to reduce the high initial moisture content of the paunch waste.  Paunch waste characteristics (drying rates, equilibrium moisture content, calorific value) will be determined to aid in the selection of a suitable method for paunch initial moisture reduction and end uses.

Supervisor - A/Prof Bernadette McCabe (