School of Civil Engineering

Projects in environmental and geotechnical engineering

Project 1. Cost-effectiveness analysis of biogas production from lingo-based agriculture residues in Australia

Supervisor:             Dr Denys Villa Gomez

Ligno-based agriculture residues such as crop residues are a cheap and abundant source of biomass produced in millions of tons that can be used for biogas production through anaerobic digestion. However, the decision of using these residues for bioenergy production is still greatly influenced by economic and environmental factors. The lack of information from these factors has hampered its application on a broader scale in many regions all over the world. This project aims to evaluate the opportunities for biogas production from lingo-based agriculture residues in Australia through a cost-effective analysis carried out with information obtained from literature review and a set of lab experiments. The most significantly produced crop residues will be selected as substrate models for biogas production on this study. Economic factors to be analysed include seasonal and annual changes in substrate amounts, costs of possible substrate pre-treatments, and biogas yield per substrate (lab experiments), while environmental factors include greenhouse gas emission reductions.

Project Duration:                  CIVL4560 (one semester)


Project 2. Metal recovery from acid mine drainage through sulphate reduction

Supervisor:             Dr Denys Villa Gomez

Acid mine drainage (AMD), characterized by low pH and high concentrations of sulphate and heavy metals, is an important and widespread environmental problem related to the mining industry. Sulphate reducing bacteria (SRB) are a unique group of prokaryotes that, under anaerobic conditions, oxidize organic compounds using sulphate as electron acceptor and thereby generate hydrogen sulphide and bicarbonate ions. SRB can be used for treating ground- and surface waters contaminated with AMD, and for recovering metal sulphides from wastewater and process streams. The aim of this project is to apply this biotechnology in a metal-containing wastewater from an Australian mining site to create a baseline for further applications at full scale. The project will be carried out in the laboratory of environmental engineering through lab experiments testing sulfate reduction and metal precipitation in continuous systems (bioreactors).

Duration:                  CIVL4560 (one semester) and CIVL4580 (two semesters)