ARC Training Centre – Novel Approaches to Improve Techno-Commercial Viability of Hydrothermal Liquefaction of Biosolids

This project will assist in developing technology assessment tools for benchmarking various thermal/hydrothermal technologies for biosolids management.

ARC Training Centre for the Transformation of Australia’s Biosolids Resource ICHDR (PhD) Novel approaches to improve techno-commercial viability of hydrothermal liquefaction of biosolids

Water industries are constantly looking for alternative biosolids management processes that can treat biosolids onsite/offsite, reduce their volume, partially/completely eliminate contaminants of concern and produce energy and/or value-added materials. Hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) is one such alternative method to manage biosolids as it can simultaneously convert biosolids into useful products while also reducing the environmental and health risks. The project will mainly focus on identifying optimum process conditions and effective process integration with wastewater treatment plants. The recipient of this grant will also study novel approaches such as co-HTL of biosolids with alum sludge (by-product from drinking water plant) and lime for increasing solids concentration in the biosolids, reducing heavy metal content in the resultant hydrochar, improving bio-crude oil quality, mineralising contaminants such as PFAS and improving the overall cost-economics of the process.

Scholarship is valued at up to AUD $31,000 per annum for 3 years full-time, with possibility for 6 month extension.

To be accepted into the Doctor of Philosophy Program at RMIT University’s School of Engineering, an applicant must demonstrate they have a sufficiently strong background in independent supervised research (typically strong marks in an honours degree with a significant research component) and provide evidence of English language proficiency and writing ability. Please see the Phd Chemical Engineering program webpage for more information.

Requirements specific to this project:

  • Applicants need to have a background in chemical engineering or another relevant engineering field.

Desirable criteria:

  • Knowledge of wastewater management, agriculture and/or other land use and environmental challenges in Australia
  • Interest in and ability to work in an interdisciplinary setting, including with scientists and/or engineers
  • Demonstrated capacity to write for publications.

Email A/Prof. Shah at with your:

  • Statement of interest
  • Cover letter addressing the desirable criteria
  • CV
  • Academic qualifications

Also see the HDR How to Apply website.

Applications are open now.

1 July 2021.

This scholarship will be governed by RMIT University's Research Scholarship Terms and Conditions.

A/Prof. Kalpit Shah via

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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.