Current project

Applications now open for VIP 2022 via a wait-list!


Academics will be in touch throughout the year to arrange an interview 

VIP Snapshot

While Australia stands an excellent chance of becoming a global leader in the upcoming hydrogen energy economy, the unfortunate fact remains that most hydrogen is still sourced from fossil fuels.  

In this exciting project, you’ll design the technology and infrastructure to efficiently source hydrogen from renewable food waste streams. 

Biotic Hydrofuel

VIP ChallENG research goals

Throughout this project we will conduct research, solve engineering issues and develop design strategies to sustainably source hydrogen gas from food waste. This will be broken down into: 

Food waste stream analysis and pre-treatment 

We will provide chemical analysis on the various waste streams fuelling our electrolysers, including: 

  • Total organic content determination and chemical speciation for downstream catalysts design 
  • Sulphur and phosphorus speciation and analysis 
  • Develop pre-treatment strategies that best interface with the electrolyser

Food waste electrolysis 

We will design, synthesise, and characterise catalysts for specific molecules susceptible to electrochemical oxidation, including: 

  • Alcohols from brewery and distillery waste streams 
  • Sugars and organic acids from food waste streams 
  • Electrolyser optimisation and design 
  • Downstream analysis of hydrogen production and conversion of food waste molecules

Business Case 

We will engage with prospective partners to determine their needs, annual waste output and eventual use of hydrogen

Research, design or technical ChallENG

  • Creating catalysis that maximises hydrogen production while being stable for extended periods for specific organic reactants 
  • Understanding the chemical makeup of food waste streams and how they may enhance or reduce hydrogen production 
  • Engineering each component of the electrolyser for efficiency and stability 
  • Pre-treatment of food waste streams for optimal use in the electrolyser 
  • Obtaining optimal catalyst morphology on the electrodes 
  • Understanding the composition of each food waste stream to tailor the catalyst for a specific end user (brewery versus distillery, for example)

Desired Background

All degrees are welcome however, students specialising in the below areas are encouraged to apply.

Desired Research Areas Desired Skills


  • Catalyst synthesis and design 
  • Electrolysis design and optimisation 
  • Water quality analysis 
  • Analytical chemistry


  • Chemical engineering 
  • Chemical product engineering 
  • Renewable energy engineering 
  • Chemistry 
  • Materials science 
  • Materials engineering 
  • Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Business