Visiting Fellow in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering's UNSW Water Research Centre
Associate Professor at the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden
My work is about trying to make products and engineered systems more sustainable. This involves making sustainability assessment methods more comprehensive, improving the science on which they are based, and enabling more organisations to use them. I am engaged in methodological enhancement of life cycle assessment processes, management of laboratory and field research into the transport and fate of contaminants, and I work with companies to tailor multicriteria analytical approaches to use this data in practice.
Interest in engineering
Why did you get into engineering?
I got into engineering because I liked chemistry at highschool and after an exchange trip to Germany I was concerned about problems like acid rain. Engineering seemed to be the way to do something practical about environmental problems with a chemical basis.
What are your research goals?
My research is about deepening and broadening the application of sustainability assessment.
What do people not understand about what you do?
Some people think academics laze about dreaming up nice ideas. I worked in industry previously and my impression is that academic engineers work at least as hard as ones outside academia - firstly to win research funding and then to cope with competing research and teaching deadlines. But we have more fun!
Advice for prospective environmental engineers
You are going to have the exciting job of dealing with the most important challenges to our species. Travel extensively while you’re studying. Go to see places you’d never dare visit if you were responsible for children. See how the world really is. Then set about improving it.
Industrial training in carbon and water footprinting
Currently supervising 2 PhD students at UNSW and 7 elsewhere
Supervised one PhD to completion (Dr Hazel Rowley, 2011)
Professional Organisations and Consulting positions
Institution of Chemical Engineers
Advisor for ISO14046 water footprinting standard
Active member: Water Use in Life Cycle Assessment (www.wulca-waterlca.org)
MISTRA Future Fashion – clarifying the basis of sustainability assessment for textile products
SUPFES Substitution in Practice – finding environmentally preferable alternatives to harmful fluorinated compounds for waterproofing
LyCRA – improving hybridised life cycle assessment and quantitative risk assessment
Routes – novel approaches to biosolids management
Cleanwaste – environmentally friendly alternatives for pig waste management