Building a strong and viable biofuels industry to support jobs for the future was the focus of a week-long challenge for some of Queensland’s top science students last week.
Sixteen students were selected to join QUT’s Process Engineering Challenge at the QUT’s Mackay Renewable Biocommodities Plant from June 23-26.
The budding student engineers were tasked with investigating biochemical processes at the plant before designing and carrying out laboratory experiments to create biofuels.
They presented their research and experimental results to senior management and industry representatives at the end of the week.
QUT’s Institute of Future Environment director Jim Reeves, biofuels expert Dr Tom Rainey and associate professor in microbial biotechnology Robert Speight were on hand to discuss the future of the industry and mentor the students.
QUT STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) teacher-in-residence Anne Brant said the camp was an invaluable learning experience for students who want to pursue chemical and process engineering careers.
“It’s something very special for these students to say they have conducted research in an industrial laboratory on real plant projects before beginning a university course,” Mrs Brant said.
“It also exposes regional and Brisbane students to a growing industry that uses their local resources in light of the diminishing jobs market in the coal industry.”