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CQU researchers awarded prestigious fellowships

Published:16 November 2021

Dr Diogo Costa (top) and Dr Jahirul Islam (bottom) have each been awarded an Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowships 2021

Two CQUniversity researchers have been awarded prestigious Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowships 2021.

Dr Diogo Costa has been awarded $240,000 to evaluate dietary supplements that reduce methane emissions by using cutting edge technology to efficiently add these compounds into livestock water supply; and Dr Jahirul Islam has been awarded $360,000 to produce transport-grade liquid fuel from landfill mixed-waste and establish an optimal commercial mixed waste-to-fuel value chain.

Both Rockhampton-based researchers aim to make a difference for Queensland through their innovative and game-changing ideas.

Dr Costa thanked Advance Queensland for the fellowship and said he was overjoyed to receive it.

“This is a huge opportunity, not just for my research career, but for the livestock industry to use agtech from Direct Injection Technologies (DIT) to find a practical solution to the challenge of reducing methane emissions,” Dr Costa said.

Methane emissions from livestock account for about 70 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in Australia’s agricultural sector and 11 per cent of total national greenhouse gas emissions.

“That makes livestock the third largest source of greenhouse gas emissions after the transport and energy sectors,” Dr Costa said.

“Using technology to deliver practical solutions for producers and industry to major challenges like emissions reduction is the primary focus CQUniversity’s Precision Livestock Management team.

“The intention is to look at a range of supplements that can be added to livestock water supplies –similar to the way fluoride is added to public water supply for humans – that have potential to reduce enteric methane production, or as some might say, ‘the burping’, which is the primary way by which livestock emit methane.”

Dr Costa said with much of our livestock grazing on vast properties, one of the big challenges was finding a cost-effective ways to deliver supplements.

“So we’ll use on-farm sensor technologies to safely add supplements in the water supply to reduce methane emissions from livestock,” he said.

“If we can get those emissions down, that will go a long way to helping Australia meet its 2050 net zero emissions target.”

Dr Islam was also thrilled to be named an Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellow.

“This fellowship is a very important milestone in my research and professional career,” Dr Islam said.

“It will provide me a fantastic opportunity to learn about cutting-edge waste-to-energy technology, contribute to the growth of Queensland's local business and economy, and put my research and manufacturing skills to a good use.”

Dr Islam said mixed waste fills our dumps and empties industry and government coffers without offering much value in return.

“Individual waste processing technologies have been developed to tackle the challenges of processing mixed waste but usually are unable to produce high-quality products,” Dr Islam explained.

“This project will benchmark, integrate and optimise technologies developed to establish an optimal commercial mixed waste-to-fuel value chain.”

Dr Islam said the target outcome of his project was an optimised and integrated technology to produce transport-grade liquid fuel from landfill mixed-waste which is environmentally, economically, and socially acceptable. 

“The project will have direct benefits to the industry partners involved as the research outcomes will give them the ability to deploy new refineries around Queensland.”