Environment and green technology projects funded

Early-career researchers working to address global environment and climate-change issues were among the 10 University of Adelaide projects awarded as part of the Australian Research Council’s Discovery Early Career Research Award scheme.

Dr Shervin Kabiri, a Mortlock Fellow from the University’s School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, was awarded almost $400,000 to study how perfluorinated chemicals (PFAS), such as those present in some cleaning products and non-stick cookware, damage human and environmental health.

Her research will lead to new insights into PFAS chemicals’s sorbent behaviour in soils and the development of site-specific remediation strategies that can be employed by industry and government agencies.

“The University of Adelaide leads globally transformative research that overcomes complexity, drives change, and creates value for a more sustainable future,” said Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Anton Middelberg.

“We are also committed to creating opportunities at our institution for early-career researchers to make an impact on the most challenging issues facing our world, a fact which is proven by this investment from the Australian Research Council.”

The University was awarded a combined total of more than $4 million in three-year grants, with other projects including those with implications for green-fuel production, carbon reduction, improved battery technology and renewable-energy storage, resource acquisition, water asset monitoring, communication technologies, and improvements to object-tracking in video monitoring.

The full list of University of Adelaide recipients include:

Dr Xiaowan Bai was awarded $350,237 to investigate ways of converting carbon dioxide to high value-added fuels and chemicals.

Dr Daniel Headland was awarded $446,700 to study practical applications of terahertz waves, such as non-invasive standoff sensing and self-aligning wireless links.

Dr Shervin Kabiri was awarded $398,945 to examine the behaviour of PFAS chemicals in soil and waterways to inform strategies for environmental remediation.

Dr Haobo Li was awarded $439,237 to design highly active, specifically selective, satisfactorily stable catalysts based on advanced ionic compound materials for carbon dioxide electroreduction.

Dr Huan Li was awarded $432,237 to design aluminium-sulfur battery technology with efficient electrode materials and low-cost electrolytes capable of high levels of energy storage.

Dr Jacob Mulder was awarded $361,000 to test the hypothesis that low-temperature fluids can transport metals form new mineral deposits in sedimentary basins.

Dr Jack Valmadre was awarded $366,000 to investigate how object tracking in computer vision can be improved by new paradigms for algorithm design.

Dr Wei Zeng was awarded $388,673 to improve detection of cracks in water networks by exploiting unused underground optical fibre cables.

Dr Shilin Zhang was awarded $473,847 to develop room-temperature liquid metal batteries by employing liquid sodium-potassium alloy, to overcome safety issues intrinsic to the prevalent solid metal anodes in battery technology.

Dr Huayang Zhang was awarded $421,117 to develop a photoelectrochemical cell for photoelectric conversion and green hydrogen production by using solar power as the only energy input.

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