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.

Students at the University of Adelaide's North Terrace campus

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.

Tagged in featured story, ARC, Discovery Early Career Research Award