17.6 SKILLS

17.6 SKILLS

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SKILLS
Past BCIA PhD scholarship recipients - where are they now?


BCIA supports a range of PhD students, through scholarships, project funding and training. Below we hear from students that have completed their scholarships and are either pursuing or looking for the next step forward in their careers.

Manabendra Saha
2013–2014 Round BCIA PhD Scholarship Recipient
Project topic: Experimental and computational study of solid fuels under MILD combustion
Manabendra Saha is a highly motivated, accomplished and diligent PhD candidate in the School of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Adelaide, who submitted his PhD thesis for examination in April this year.

His PhD project is about solving the current energy crisis and exhaust emission problems by innovative and new combustion technology called Moderate or Intense Low Oxygen Dilution (MILD) combustion.

He has gained extensive problem solving skills through designing, and built a 50kW novel reactor/ combustion furnace. In addition, he has developed sophisticated CFD models for solid fuels combustion that were validated by his experimental results.

Manab is currently looking for an opportunity to apply the skills he has learned in the advancement of energy technologies, within a team environment. To find more information on Manab's PhD work, please refer to the article in this newsletter on
page 5.

Please contact Manab at
manab04me@gmail.com if you know of any suitable job opportunities.
Mamun Mollah
2012 Round BCIA PhD Project Placements
Project topic: Blast furnace coke from lignite
  Mamun’s PhD titled “Blast furnace coke substitute from Victorian brown coal” was awarded on the 15th September 2015 and he graduated on the 20th April 2016. He is currently working as a part time research assistant on upgrading Victorian brown coal to obtain a blast furnace coke substitute, with Prof. Alan Chaffee and Prof. Roy Jackson in the School of Chemistry, Monash University. He is also working as a teaching associate in the same school.

From the results of Mamun’s PhD, he has published three journal papers in “Fuel” and a provisional patent has been filed in Australia.

Mamun is currently seeking a full time position where he can utilise his skills in a challenging new role.

Please contact Mamun at
mamun.mollah@monash.edu if you know of any suitable job opportunities.
Alicia Reynolds
2010–2011 Round BCIA PhD Scholarship Recipient
Project topic: Identification and monitoring of by-products generated from amine based solvents and adsorbents during post-combustion CO₂ capture (PCC) from brown coal flue gases
Alicia is currently employed at Federation University Australia’s Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) laboratory. She has been enjoying the challenge of commissioning a wide range of new chromatography and mass spectrometry equipment as well as a new scanning electron microscope. A new group of post graduate students are also keen to take advantage of her knowledge and advice for their own research issues.

The CCS laboratory is building a research and consulting capability to meet the needs of local industry, with projects that range from day-to-day troubleshooting in partnership with electricity generators, to working towards a long-term vision of a safe, environmentally friendly CCS industry. With such a wide variety of high quality equipment available, Alicia can be involved in determining the source of a bad smell or oil stain on one day and taking SEM images of metal, ceramic or polymer failures the next.
Karen Little
2010–2011 Round BCIA PhD Scholarship Recipient
Project topic: Sustainable soil carbon and soil health through brown coal-derived products
Karen completed her PhD at Monash University in November 2014 titled ‘Commercial lignite coal-derived amendments for improved pasture growth and soil health’, supervised by Assoc. Prof. Tony Patti (Monash University), Assoc. Prof. Tim Cavagnaro (University of Adelaide) and Prof. Roy Jackson (Monash University). Her project was to source a range of Victorian brown coal-derived agricultural products and assess the potential benefits, as claimed by manufacturers, around improvements in crop yield and soil health parameters including pH, nutrient availability and microbial communities.

Prior to her PhD study Karen had a biotechnology background but very limited agricultural experience. The BCIA scholarship gave her the opportunity to develop a range of new skills as well as extend her existing skills into new areas.

Since completing her PhD project, Karen has continued to work at Monash University as a post-doctoral researcher, working with Prof. Patti and Prof. Jackson on agricultural projects and completing industry-linked projects that have assessed the application of industrial organic waste streams to pasture and the effects on growth, nutrient cycling and the soil microbial community. Currently they are working with Greenpower Energy to assess the agricultural benefits of a biostimulant product that is in development. The product is made from Victorian brown coal and is unique to the biostimulant market in both its manufacture and composition.


“I’m very grateful for not only the learning opportunities that the scholarship provided but also the support facilitated by BCIA, in particular Dr David McManus and Dr Phil Gurney. I hope to continue to work with brown coal in agriculture and contribute to our current knowledge of soil, plant and humic interactions with the aim of increasing crop yields without detrimental effects to the soil or the environment.”
Joanne Tanner
2010–2011 Round BCIA PhD Scholarship Recipient
Project topic: Brown coal derived syngas generation for utilization in higher value product processes
Dr Joanne Tanner received a full BCIA PhD scholarship in 2011, and undertook her postdoctoral studies in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Monash University from 2012-2015.

Her project, entitled “High temperature, entrained flow gasification of Victorian brown coal and Rhenish lignites”, was conducted in close collaboration with the Thermochemistry group at the Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ) in Germany. Joanne travelled to Germany twice during her candidature to conduct experiments related to her project and to present her results to an international audience.

Following the submission of her thesis in August 2015, Joanne took up an offer from her colleagues at FZJ to return to Germany as a postdoctoral researcher. She worked in the Thermochemistry group for 5 months on the design and commissioning of a new apparatus for assessing inorganic gaseous emissions from Victorian and Rhenish coal pyrolysis, combustion and gasification.

In February 2016, Joanne returned to Monash University as a lecturer and researcher in the Department of Chemical Engineering, where she currently teaches the undergraduate and Master level courses in Reactions Engineering. Her PhD was ratified in March 2016 and the degree conferred at the University graduation ceremony held on 25 May 2016.

Joanne continues to be interested in value added applications for low rank coals, and is also looking to diversify her research to include other potential alternative fuel and chemical feedstocks such as agricultural and industrial waste. She will apply for the ARC DECRA in 2017, with the view to continuing her academic career at Monash University.
Adam Rady
2010–2011 Round BCIA PhD Scholarship Recipient
Project topic: Evaluation of Victorian brown coals as fuel for direct carbon fuel cells (DCFC)
Adam currently works at Ceramic Oxide Fabricators (Aust) Pty Ltd, or COF for short, a family owned business established over 40 years ago, with its roots in Bendigo, Victoria. The company specialises in high purity alumina and zirconia products for science and industry. This includes insulation material, furnace wear such as tubes and crucibles, as well as custom fabrication and ceramics machining capabilities. The company is a world leader with its SIRO2 C700+ solid zirconia electrolyte oxygen sensor, used around the world for furnace control, and scientific applications.

The transition between zirconia fuel cells which Adam studied during his PhD and zirconia oxygen sensors has been fitting. The PhD has enabled him to find commercial solutions to the technical challenges which their customers present them with. Adam is directly involved in oxygen sensors which will enable furnace operation in extreme environments. He is also handling customer enquiries for custom fabrication jobs, which involves making new ceramic components to tolerances defined in engineering drawings.


“I have now been working for COF for 9 months and am thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to engage in industrial R&D as well as facing new engineering challenges on a daily basis, drawing on problem solving skills developed during my PhD.”
Amandeep Oberoi
2013–2014 Round BCIA PhD Scholarship Recipient
Project topic: Reversible electrochemical storage of hydrogen in activated carbons from Victorian brown coal and other precursors
Amandeep Oberoi was awarded a 2013 PhD Top-up Scholarship from BCIA to support a postgraduate research project through RMIT University, working with Professor John Andrews. The project, which was completed in April 2016, investigated experimentally the reversible electrochemical hydrogen storage capacity of activated carbon (aC) made from different precursors, including selected activated carbons made from Victorian brown coal. See Issue 16 of BCIA’s Perspective newsletter for more information on Amandeep’s project.

Amandeep is now an Associate Professor at Chitkara University Punjab, India and besides teaching postgraduate students he is extending his services in CURIN (Chitkara University Research & Innovation Network) where he is involved in various research projects. He is also looking for research funding from the Indian government and industry to support his early career research in electrochemical storage of hydrogen in porous materials.




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