Developing Decision Support Tool for Optimal Biorefineries and Bioeconomy towards a Net-Zero Economy

About this project

Project description

Energy demand has been the most challenging and debatable issue in recent decades. The demand is mostly met by fossil-based systems which have given rise to many environmental issues such as global warming/climate change and resource consumptions. To address these challenges, researchers and energy officials have shifted toward renewable energies. The biorefinery method, as a low-emission technology for biofuel production, is considered an appropriate procedure around the world due to its environmental issues, energy safety, and socioeconomic index.

The overall aim of the project is to develop a novel multi-objective sustainability-led optimization-based decision support tool for exploring the potential of biomass-based refinery systems and evaluate the proposed system in both aspects of techno-economic analysis (TEA) and life cycle assessment (LCA). Consequently, using biorefinery products in diverse industries and sectors can make immediate and significant reductions in emissions.

The specific aims of the project are:
1) To extend our existing knowledge to encompass a wider range of challenges and conditions of the biorefinery method toward a Net-Zero Emission economy;
2) To bridge the gap between fundamental studies and practical application by carrying out biofuel production under simulated conditions of both Indian and Australian Industries, which would help to take our experimental approach forward for subsequent trial tests at an industrial scale in India and Australia targeting net-zero emissions in the future.

The prospective decision support tool for biomass-based integrated refinery systems can enable technology developers to understand the implications of different design choices on future performances. Moreover, it can enable systematic analysis of the relationships between technical, economic, and environmental performance and provide more information to technology developers for trade-off analysis.


The expected outcomes of the project are as follows.

Besides the Ph.D. thesis of the student, we expect that this Ph.D. project will help us to:

• Jointly propose innovative solutions and policies to reduce biomass waste and carbon emissions and address energy security while providing economic opportunities for creating value-adding biochemicals and fuels in both India and Australia.
• Tapping complementary expertise and resources between IIT-Delhi and UQ, in support of decarbonised, circular bioeconomy.
• Cutting-edge publications and relevant research outputs that address pressing global challenges in net zero emission, circular economy, and clean energy.
• Enhancing research and teaching collaborations and creating an environment conducive to the exchange of knowledge, ideas, and best practice to achieve greater research impact in low carbon, circular economy.

Information for applicants

Essential capabilities

Applicant should have an excellent capability and experience in mathematical optimisation modelling, numerical methods and expert systems open-source software, and/or process modelling, simulation, and analysis with coding experience in a programming language (e.g., Python, GAMS, MATLAB)

Desireable capabilities

Applicants with strong interests in quantitative sustainability and circular economy as well as background knowledge of life cycle assessment and techno-economic analysis

Expected qualifications (Course/Degrees etc.)

Honours and Masters by Research in Environmental Science, Chemical Engineering, Mathmatics & Computing, Master’s in Computer Applications, Industrial Ecology, Sustainable Engineering, Ecological Economics, other fields with quantitative and computational courses

Project supervisors

Principal supervisors

UQ Supervisor

Dr Anthony Halog

School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
IITD Supervisor

Professor Sreedevi Upadhyayula

Department of Chemical Engineering