Honorary Professor Zhiguo Yuan

Honorary Professor

Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology


Prof Yuan received his PhD degree in aeronautical engineering in 1992 from Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, China. He changed research direction to wastewater management in 1994, when he took up a postdoctoral research fellow position at Ghent University, Belgium. He joined the Advanced Water Management Centre (AWMC), renamed as the Australian Centre for Water and Environmental Biotechnology in July 2021, at The University of Queensland in 1998. He served as the AWMC Deputy Director 2001-2014, and then the AWMC/ACWEB Director in 2015 to July 2022. His research focuses on development of innovative solutions for urban water management and environmental biotechnology through effective integration of fundamental science and applied engineering. He won over $50M in government, industry and university research funding including many ARC Discovery, Linkage and Fellowship grants, mostly as the lead Chief Investigator. Prof Yuan was one of the founding members of the $117m Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities. He has published intensively both in specialised journals such as Water Research and Environmental Science and Technology, and multidisciplinary journals including Nature and Science. He is the founder of three biotechnology businesses namely SeweX, Cloevis and Lodomat, and his research has delivered documented savings of hundreds of millions of dollars to the Australian water industry. His research achievements and leadership have been recognized through major national and international awards including the 2015 ATSE Clunies Ross Award and the International Water Association (IWA) 2014 Global Project Innovation Award (Applied Research Category). Prof Yuan was named as one of Engineers Australia’s Top 100 Most Influential Engineers for 2015. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE), an IWA Distinguished Fellow, and was awarded the highly prestigious ARC Australian Laureate Fellowship in 2017. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in January 2019.

Research Interests

  • Integrated Urban Water Management
    A whole-of-system approach to managing multiple water resources in an urban water cycle and multiple elements in an urban water system.
  • Digital water
    Descriptive, diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive data analytics for proactive urban water management
  • Sustainable carbon bioeconomy
    Gas fermentation to convert organic wastes to carbon commodities
  • Corrosion and odour management in sewers systems
    Effective control of H2S production in sewer systems and minimise its effect on sewer corrosion and odour generation
  • Sludge management in wastewater treatment systems
    Innovative technologies for enhancing bioenergy recovery from wastewater and reducing sludge production
  • Greenhouse gas emissions from water and wastewater systems
    Fugitive greenhouse gas emissions from wastewater systems including CH4 emission in sewers, N2O emission from wastewater treatment processes and CH4 and N2O emissions from estuaries, dams and bays
  • Biological nutrient removal and recovery
    Innovative technologies and fundamental science for biological nitrogen and phosphorus removal and recovery from wastewater

Research Impacts

  • His research in sewer management has fundamentally changed practice of many Australian water utilities in corrosion and odour management in sewers. The documented savings to date for the water industry amounts to approximately $400 million, based on the testimonial letters provided by industry partners.
  • He has collaborated with almost all major water utilities in Australia through many ARC Industry Linkage projects as well as a large number of collaborative research projects.
  • He was a founding and Executive Committee member of the $117 million Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cites, with over 80 industry partners, and led the Future Technologies Program Leader.
  • Established SeweX, a consulting company under UniQuest Pty Ltd, in 2008. SeweX has undertaken over $3 million consulting work since 2009. Clients included both Australian water utilities and companies from overseas. SeweX has been recently licensed to Envirosuite, an ASX listed technology company.
  • Established Cloevis Pty Ltd, a spin-off company from my sewer research. The company has licenced its patented technology on biofilm removal from sewer pipes to USP Technologies (US).
  • His research on sludge treatment using free nitrous acid has led to the development of the patented Lodomat technology that substantially increases biogas production from wastewater sludge. The technology has recently attracted >$5M (+ >$4M in-kind) industry and government funding for pilot plant demonstrations.
  • His research has frequently attracted media attention, with many articles published in newspapers such as The Australian and The Courier Mail, the News Agency Websites (e.g. ABC, Xinhua Agency), and industry magazines, newsletters and websites. Five of his papers have Altmetric Attention Scores that are in the top 5% of the 6.4 million research outputs tracked.
  • He is an Editor of Water Research, a top journal in water science and technology.
  • He published over 500 papers in internationally leading journals (the full list and citation record: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=1IPdGqkAAAAJ&hl=en)


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Beijing University of Aeronautics & Astronautics
  • Bachelor of Engineering, Beijing University of Aeronautics & Astronautics


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Book Chapter

  • Spérandio, Mathieu, Lang, Longqi, Sabba, Fabrizio, Nerenberg, Robert, Vanrolleghem, Peter, Domingo-Félez, Carlos, Smets, Barth F., Duan, Haoran, Ni, Bing-Jie and Yuan, Zhiguo (2022). Modelling N2O production and emissions. Quantification and modelling of fugitive greenhouse gas emissions from urban water systems. (pp. 167-196) London, United Kingdom: IWA Publishing. doi: 10.2166/9781789060461_0167

  • Sharma, Keshab, Gutierrez, Oriol, Yuan, Zhiguo, Daelman, Matthijs R. J., van Loosdrecht, Mark C. M. and Volcke, Eveline I. P. (2022). Modelling of methane production and emissions. Quantification and modelling of fugitive greenhouse gas emissions from urban water systems. (pp. 197-212) edited by Liu Ye, Jose Porro and Ingmar Nopens. London, United Kingdom: IWA Publishing. doi: 10.2166/9781789060461_0197

  • Ni, Bing-Jie, Pan, Yuting, Guo, Jianhua, Virdis, Bernardino, Hu, Shihu, Chen, Xueming and Yuan, Zhiguo (2017). Denitrification processes for wastewater treatment. Metalloenzymes in dentrification: applications and environmental impacts. (pp. 368-418) edited by Isabel Moura, Jose J. G. Moura, Sofia R. Pauleta and Luisa B. Maia. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Royal Society of Chemistry. doi: 10.1039/9781782623762-00368

  • Gutierrez, Oriol, Jiang, Guangming, Sharma, Keshab and Yuan, Zhiguo (2016). Biofilm development in sewer networks. Aquatic biofilms: ecology, water quality and wastewater treatment. (pp. 145-164) edited by Anna M. Romaní, Helena Guasch and M. Dolors Balaguer. Girona, Spain: Caister Academic Press.

  • Olsson, Gustaf, Yuan, Zhiguo and Kim, Changwon (2014). Automation and control. Activated sludge - 100 Years and counting. (pp. 245-269) edited by David Jenkins and Jiri Wanner. London, United Kingdom: IWA Publishing.

  • Virdis, B., Freguia, S., Rozendal, R. A., Rabaey, K., Yuan, Z. and Keller, J. (2011). Microbial fuel cells. Treatise on water science. (pp. 641-665) edited by Peter A. Wilderer. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier Science. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-53199-5.00098-1

  • Paritam, K. Dutta, Keller, Jurg, Yuan, Zhiguo, Rozendal, Rene A. and Korneel, Rabaey (2010). Conversion of sulfur species in bioelectrochemical systems. Bioelectrochemical systems: From extracellular electron transfer to biotechnological application. (pp. 243-262) edited by Korneel Rabaey, Largus Angenent, Uwe Schroder and Jurg Keller. London, U.K.; New York, U.S.A.: IWA Publishing.

  • Oehmen, Adrian, Yuan, Zhiguo, Zeng, Raymond J. and Keller, Jurg (2004). Performance of enhanced biological phosphorus removal systems enriched with different volatile fatty acids. Young researchers 2004. (pp. 69-78) edited by Richard Steutz and Piet Lens. London, U.K.: IWA Publishing.

  • Yuan, Z., Keller, J. and Lant, P. A. (2003). Optimization and control of nitrogen removal activated sludge processes: A review of recent developments. Biotechnology for the Environment: Wastewater Treatment and Modeling, Waste Gas Handling. (pp. 187-227) edited by Spiros N. Agathos and Walter Reineke. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers. doi: 10.1007/978-94-017-0932-3_6

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Note for students: Honorary Professor Zhiguo Yuan is not currently available to take on new students.

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision