Associate Professor Steven Pratt

Associate Professor

School of Chemical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology
s.pratt@uq.edu.au
+61 7 336 54943

Overview

Biography:

Steven Pratt is an Associate Professor in the School of Chemical Engineering at The University of Queensland, where he leads research on process development for sustainable waste management. His research focus is on utilising waste streams as feedstocks for the production of biomaterials and biofuels. The outcomes from these activities feed into broader biorefinery research programs, which aim for waste streams to be routinely utilised as feedstocks.

He has authored over 50 scientific papers on related topics, with his major contribution to the field of environmental biotechnology being the invention of the TOGA® Sensor for examination and control of biotech/bioprocess systems. Widespread interest in TOGA® led to an agreement between Massey University and Scion for the commercialisation of the technology.

He is also a Lecturer in Water Cycle Engineering with the International Water Centre (IWC), where he is program advisor for the IWC’s Masters of Integrated Water Management.

Research:

Dr Pratt’s main research interest is utilisation of wastewater to support bioplastic and mass algal production. He is a CI on ARC funded research on both bioplastic production (in collaboration with NorskeSkog and Anoxkaldnes, a Veolia company) and algal processes (in collaboration with Origin Energy). A driving force for the work is that feedstocks for industrial biotechnology, whether they be carbon or nutrients, can represent major economic and environmental cost. Currently, the research focus is on using waste organic carbon as a feedstock for mixed culture PHA bioplastic production and waste inorganic carbon and nutrients to support mass algae growth. An important aspect of the work is developing pre-treatment technology so to enable the conversion of complex waste streams to readily bioavailable substrates.

Teaching and Learning:

Dr Pratt has taught a variety of courses in process engineering, including Clean Technology and Environmental Biotechnology. He is currently coordinator of Process Principles, a cornerstone of the process engineering programs.

He is Program Advisor for the International Water Centre’s Masters of Integrated Water Management. In that program he contributes to the delivery of the Science of Water and Urban Metabolism courses.

Additionally, he teaches into the IWES Principles of Wastewater Treatment course, which has an intake of about 100 professionals each year.

Projects:

  1. Intracellular manufacturing – high performance biomaterials from methane. [ARC Discovery]​
  2. Novel bioderived and biodegradable wood plastic composites from wastes. [ARC Linkage]
  3. Stabilisation of algal biomass harvested from coal seam gas associated water to generate a renewable, high nutrient resource. [ARC Linkage]
  4. Adsorption on activated alumina: mitigating fouling of water treatment processes caused by deposition of silica, organics and hardness ions. [ARC Linkage]
  5. Next generation biopolymers – Production of PHA bioplastics from organic waste. [ARC Linkage

Research Impacts

Steven has authored over 50 scientific papers on related topics, with his major contribution to the field of environmental biotechnology being the invention of the TOGA® Sensor for examination and control of biotech/bioprocess systems. Widespread interest in TOGA® led to an agreement between Massey University and Scion for the commercialisation of the technology.

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Engineering with Honours, The University of Queensland
  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland

Publications

View all Publications

Grants

View all Grants

Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • Scholarships available, up to $45,000 p.a. tax free

    12-month industry placements

    There is unprecedented growth in demand for bioderived and biodegradable materials. The new ARC Training Centre in Bioplastics and Biocomposites will capitalise on Australia’s abundant natural bioresources to drive advances in technology for the development of bioplastic and biocomposite products for the new bioeconomy. We are a collaboration between industry, The University of Queensland (UQ) and Queensland University of Technology (QUT). Our vision is to perform leading edge research and to develop industry-ready specialists to underpin Australia’s transition to a globally significant bioplastics and biocomposites industry.

    Up to 3 scholarships are available for outstanding PhD candidates to work in a multidisciplinary research team, embedded in industry. PhD projects are available in each of the following themes: Bioresource transformation, Bioplastic manufacture, Bioplastics applications, Effecting change and sustainability assessment.

    We have a critical focus on providing an exceptional PhD experience. We will deliver targeted training and development opportunities including: leadership, innovation, emotional intelligence, critical thinking and project management.

    As a Centre student you will receive mentoring from academic and industry leaders, access internal funding opportunities, and gain real world experience through extensive industry placements.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Book Chapter

  • Chan, Clement Matthew, Pratt, Steven and Laycock, Bronwyn (2022). Effects of natural weathering on aesthetics, thermal and mechanical properties of completely biodegradable composites. Aging effects on natural fiber-reinforced polymer composites: durability and life prediction. (pp. 173-188) edited by Chandrasekar Muthukumar, Senthilkumar Krishnasamy, Senthil Muthu Kumar Thiagamani and Suchart Siengchin. Singapore: Springer Singapore. doi: 10.1007/978-981-16-8360-2_10

  • Pratt, Steven, Vandi, Luigi-Jules, Gapes, Daniel, Werker, Alan, Oehmen, Adrian and Laycock, Bronwyn (2019). Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) bioplastics from organic waste. Biorefinery: integrated sustainable processes for biomass conversion to biomaterials, biofuels, and fertilizers. (pp. 615-638) edited by Juan-Rodrigo Bastidas-Oyanedel and Jens Ejbye Schmidt. Springer International Publishing: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-10961-5_26

  • Dilkes-Hoffman, L.S., Pratt, S., Lant, P.A. and Laycock, B. (2019). The role of biodegradable plastic in solving plastic solid waste accumulation. Plastics to Energy. (pp. 469-505) edited by S.M. Al-Salem. Kidlington, Oxford, United Kingdom: Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/b978-0-12-813140-4.00019-4

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

Completed Supervision

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • Scholarships available, up to $45,000 p.a. tax free

    12-month industry placements

    There is unprecedented growth in demand for bioderived and biodegradable materials. The new ARC Training Centre in Bioplastics and Biocomposites will capitalise on Australia’s abundant natural bioresources to drive advances in technology for the development of bioplastic and biocomposite products for the new bioeconomy. We are a collaboration between industry, The University of Queensland (UQ) and Queensland University of Technology (QUT). Our vision is to perform leading edge research and to develop industry-ready specialists to underpin Australia’s transition to a globally significant bioplastics and biocomposites industry.

    Up to 3 scholarships are available for outstanding PhD candidates to work in a multidisciplinary research team, embedded in industry. PhD projects are available in each of the following themes: Bioresource transformation, Bioplastic manufacture, Bioplastics applications, Effecting change and sustainability assessment.

    We have a critical focus on providing an exceptional PhD experience. We will deliver targeted training and development opportunities including: leadership, innovation, emotional intelligence, critical thinking and project management.

    As a Centre student you will receive mentoring from academic and industry leaders, access internal funding opportunities, and gain real world experience through extensive industry placements.