The Biogeochemical Engineering, Management and Systems (BioGEMS) research group is led by Scientia Professor David Waite, a researcher of international standing who has made a significant and wide-ranging contribution to the field of environmental chemistry over his forty plus year career.
While his team of 14 highly experienced researchers is primarily concerned with preventing environmental degradation through the examination of biogeochemical processes within natural water systems and the development and application of solutions; they also use their knowledge of fundamental geochemical processes to investigate issues in a wide range of topic areas, many of which have global implications.
With regards to their focus on natural water systems, their research specifically involves the examination of natural and anthropogenic biogeochemical processes that affect the transformation and transport of contaminants and nutrients within sediments, groundwaters, lakes, rivers and coastal environments. This research is being applied to solve water problems across Australia, such as acid sulfate soils, toxic algal growth and the impact of contaminants in the coastal zone.
Their fundamental research on organic matter in water and the effect this has on the transformations of key metals, like iron and copper, has numerous global implications. From helping mitigating global climate change and understanding why the Great Barrier Reef is dying, to the development of low carbon cements and mitigating neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
What we do
BioGEMS’ research activities involve a combination of laboratory and field investigation using mathematical modelling tools where possible. Activities include:
- Monitoring the transport of radionuclides in subsurface systems
- The development of photovoltaic-powered groundwater treatment devices based on capacitive deionisation technology
- Investigating the generation of reactive oxygen species in natural and engineered systems with implications to natural systems, water and wastewater treatment and human health
- Developing advanced oxidation process (including Fenton/photo-Fenton and electroFenton processes) for treating contaminated wastewaters
- Investigating the transformation and fate of contaminants in the coastal zone
- Understanding the factors controlling growth and toxicity of marine and freshwater algae
- Understanding how biogeochemical processes are impacted by iron-reducing bacteria
- Using geochemistry to solve concrete problems
- Understanding processes which affect the transformation and transport of iron and aluminium from acid sulfate soils
BioGEMS’ past and current partners include:
- Beijing Origin Water Ltd
- Boral Ltd
- ERA Ltd
- Mincarb Pty Ltd
- Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
- Pangu Environmental Technologies Ltd
- Sydney Ports / Maritime Authority
- Sydney Water Corp, WA Water Corp and NT Power and Water
- Tsinghua University, China
- Tweed Shire Council