Researcher refines process to convert biogas into high-value liquid

Posted 21 July 2017

A University of Queensland (UQ) professor has received a huge grant from the Australian Research Council (ARC) to fund research into the bioconversion of methane into higher-value liquid chemicals.  

Professor Zhiguo Yuan, centre director of the Advanced Water Management Centre at UQ, received a grant of $2.9 million doled out over five years as part of an ARC Australian Laureate Fellowship. 

Yuan’s project aims to advance the science behind anaerobic microbial conversion of methane biogas.

“We will develop a suite of leading-edge platform biotechnologies for the microbial production of liquid chemicals using methane as feedstock, with low capital and operational costs,” he says.

“The project will advance the fundamental science behind anaerobic bioconversion of methane, and develop and demonstrate highly innovative engineering processes to enable efficient and economically viable methane conversion, particularly at small scales.”

Yuan said he felt honoured to receive the grant.

“I also felt that this Fellowship was not merely a recognition of my own achievements, but also a recognition of everyone’s effort and achievements in the Advanced Water Management Centre,” he said”

The grant was one of 17 given to UQ projects that totalled $22.6 million, and was a testament to the quality of researchers at the university, UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said. 

“Professor Yuan’s work on biotechnology solutions through the cost-effective production of liquid chemicals from biogas could propel Australia to the forefront of sustainable resources research,” Professor Høj said.