Faculty of
Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology

16 September 2015

Dr Bing-Jie was awarded a UQ Foundation Research Excellence Award

Four researchers from the Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology have received commendations as part of The University of Queensland’s Research Week.

The Advanced Water Management Centre’s Dr Bing-Jie Ni has received a University of Queensland Foundation Research Excellence Award (FREA) in recognition of his ground-breaking research.

Dr Ni was awarded the FREA award for his research project which aims to develop a highly innovative platform for storing and transporting liquid bioproducts – ultimately replacing non-renewable petroleum as a fuel source.

“Worldwide energy consumption of our industry-based society is projected to grow substantially in the coming decades, including within Australia as well,” Dr Ni said.

“Currently, petroleum is the dominant fuel source; however, as fossil oil is finite, the need for alternative fuels and industrial bulk substrates is obvious.

“On the other hand, the alarming effect of increasing CO2 due to burning of fossil resources would lead to an increase of greenhouse effects and thus to global warming.

“My research is trying to derive new technologies that are economically attractive and environmentally acceptable for the sustainable production of chemicals and energy through transforming organic waste into renewable fuel.”

Dr Zhongdan Jia from UQ's Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnoloy was also awarded a FREA award for his research project which is developing a totally plastic battery to power future flexible and wearable electronic devices that are suitable and safe to dispose of in the recycling bin.

Meanwhile the School of Chemical Engineering’s Professor Victor Rudolph has won a Partners in Research Excellence Award for his research which led to an industry partnership with Synergen Met.

Having partnered with Australian-owned company Synergen Met to commercialise the cyanide production process he developed, Professor Rudolph’s technology is safer, more environmentally friendly, and significantly cheaper than what has been previously available on the market.

Lead researcher, Professor Rudolph said although cyanide had been used in gold production for more than 120 years, due to the significant risks it poses, the European Union has classified it as “very toxic.”

“Currently mining sites receive weekly deliveries of cyanide, but the on-site technology allows them to produce the chemical on demand, eliminating much of the risks posed,” Professor Rudolph said.

“This on-site production has also decreased the costs involved, allowing gold mining companies to expand their profit margins.”

Professor Penelope Sanderson from the Schools of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, Psychology and Medicine was also recognised for her commitment to her work, through a UQ award for Excellence in Research Higher Degree Supervision. 

Executive Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology, Professor Simon Biggs congratulated the researchers on their awards.

“Research is so vital to our future,” Professor Biggs said.

“The work conducted by all of these researchers will lead to a safer, cleaner, and more environmentally friendly future, and it is research like this, that should indeed be rewarded.”