Centre for
Solid Waste Bioprocessing

Our People


Professor Bill Clarke
BEng (Civil) UniSA 1981; MSc Notre Dame (USA) 1986; PhD UQ 1993

Bill has 20 years of experience as researcher in bioengineering processes for solid organic waste. He has been one of the pioneers in intensive landfill based treatment processes, publishing extensively on leach-bed technology and the solubilisation of solid organic waste. More recently, his research has broadened to more intensive and higher value adding processes including H2 production and on-site utilisation of organic waste for energy production and biological nutrient removal. Bill has over 100 journal and conference publications, has been the chief investigator on 5 ARC projects and is on the Editorial Board for Waste Management and ongoing 6 member organising committee for the IWWG Energy from Biomass and Waste Conference. He teaches in the Schools of Civil Engineering and Chemical Engineering programs, in Environmental Risk Assessment; Solid Waste Management; Environmental Systems Modelling; and Sustainable Use of Bio-resources.

James Strong

Dr James Strong
BSc (Hon) Port Elizabeth (Sth Africa) 2000; MSc (Micro) Pt Eliz 2002; PhD (Biotech) Rhodes (Sth Africa) 2008.
Research Fellow

James arrived at the centre after 6 years in the waste resource and biotechnology industry in New Zealand He worked as a Bioengineering scientist on a range of thermal and biological technologies for converting waste activated sludge and lignocellulosic material to carbon sources for biological processes, operated pilot plants to optimise a bacterial ethanol production, and performed industrial fermentation and enzyme catalysis. James has 38 international journal publications. His primary focus at the centre has been assessing the capabilities of methanotrophs for biologically upgrading methane into higher-value products. He is targeting specialised methanotrophs that can produce ectoine, and combining ectoine production with enzyme catalysis.

Sihuang Xie

Dr Ilje Pikaar
BSc (Hon) (2004) Wageningen University (Netherlands); MSc (2006); WU (Netherlands); PhD (2012) The University of Queensland.
Lecturer in Environmental Engineering

Ilje joins the CSWB as a permanent staff in the role of a lecturer in environmental engineering. He is an environmental scientist specialising in wastewater treatment and resource recovery. He has worked as a consultant engineer for Witteveen+Bos (Netherlands) and as a Research Fellow at the Advanced Water Management Centre. His research focus has been on sulfide abatement in sewers, the development of innovative electrochemical methods for wastewater remediation, integrated urban water management and resource recovery. Recently, he managed to publish his research on integrated urban water management in Science, together with a team from the AWMC. He is currently the secretary of the International Water Association (IWA) cluster for resource recovery from water. Within CSWB, his focus will be on value recovery from solid waste including phosphate, nutrients, metals, energy and other products.

Sihuang Xie

Dr Denys Villa-Gomez
PhD PhD (UNESCO-IHE-The Netherlands

Denys joined UQ in October 2015 as a Lecturer of Civil Engineering. She received her PhD at the Institute for Water Education (UNESCO-IHE-The Netherlands) and had previously worked at The National Polytechnic Institute (Mexico) as Lecturer in Environmental Engineering. Dr Villa-Gomez expertise focuses on: i) resource recovery from waste/wastewaters (energy, metals and nutrients); (ii) anaerobic wastewater treatment systems; (iii) process control and optimization of bioreactors; (iv) microbial population dynamics in bioreactors; and (v) speciation of metals in anaerobic systems. Her research areas include anaerobic sulphate reduction for metal recovery and bioenergy production from agricultural residues.


Reza Rafiee

Mr Reza Rafiee
BSc (Env Sci) Gorgan (Iran) 2005; MSc (Tehran) 2007
PhD Student

Reza completed a Bachelor in Environmental Science (Gorgan University) in 2005 and then a Master of Environmental Sciences (University of Tehran) in 2007. Since then he lectured in the Faculty of Science at Chabahar University where taught courses covering environmental sciences and pollution. He was also a principal researcher and co-researcher of two projects funded by the university and government. Reza joined to the CSWB to pursue his PhD. The aim of his project is to develop and test a model to quantify the rate of aerobic processes in fresh landfill waste. The model will improve the predictions of current landfill gas models.

Miriam Peces

Ms Miriam Peces
BE (Chem Eng) Barcelona, 2012; MSc (Barcelona) 2013
PhD Student

Miriam obtained her Bachelor in Chemical Engineering and MSc degree in Environmental Engineering at the University of Barcelona. In 2010, as undergraduate student, Miriam joined Prof. Joan Mata-Alvarez research group. She was initially involved in two consultancy projects devoted to the start-up and monitoring of mechanical-biological treatment plants for treating municipal solid waste. During her bachelors she studied the impact of the mesophilic and thermophilic anaerobic digestion of mixed sewage sludge, focusing on process performance and sludge pathogenicity, which generated two A* journal publications. Her MSc focussed on improving the break down/hydrolysis of agro-industrial wastes during anaerobic digestion. At the Centre Miriam is assessing how operational parameters influence anaerobic digestion process linked to microbial communities, with the intention of generating energy-rich compounds such as volatile fatty acids and/or alcohols.

Miheka Patel

Miss Miheka Patel
BE Hons (Env Eng), UQ 2012
PhD Student

Miheka completed her Bachelor of Environmental Engineering at the University of Queensland in 2012 with a 1st class Honours. After graduation, she worked for the Centre as a research assistant where she characterised the hydraulic properties of solid waste so as to improve the design of landfill based cell capable of accelerated anaerobic degradation. She has recently commenced her PhD with the Centre, where she will investigate the enhanced production of H2S from degraded solid organic waste, with the intention of using the H2S gas as a precipitant for metals recovery in zinc and copper refineries.


Ms Lizanne Obersky
BE Hons (Chem Eng), UQ 2012
PhD Student

Lizanne completed her Bachelor of Chemical Engineering with Second Class Honours at The University of Queensland in 2012. For her engineering vacation placement she undertook a research project with Professor William Clarke in 2010. The focus of the project was to investigate the potential for the bioremediation of acid mine drainage (AMD) and biological production of hydrogen sulphide (H2S) using solid organic wastes. At the Centre she is currently working on the aerobic processes in landfill project, focusing on implementing a mass balance model in field trials at Swanbank.