UQ chemical engineering student wins water industry accolade

18 Feb 2021

University of Queensland PhD candidate, Kaili Li, has been awarded Water Research Australia’s 2021 Nancy Millis Memorial Award.

The annual award recognises an exceptional student who has demonstrated initiative and a passion for research.

“I am very honoured and excited to receive the Nancy Millis Memorial Award and have my work acknowledged by the water industry,” Kaili said.

A chemical engineering researcher, Kaili is currently working with Icon Water to develop efficient mitigation strategies for greenhouse gas emissions from Canberra’s sewage treatment at Lower Molonglo Water Quality Control Centre.

Kaili’s PhD supervisors, water treatment experts Associate Professor Liu Ye and Professor Zhiguo Yuan from UQ, said she was a talented, highly motivated and hard-working student.

“Kaili is passionate about environmental research, with a strong determination to make her contributions to a carbon neutral water industry,” Associate Professor Ye said.

“Her research on nitrous oxide mitigation is an integral part of the global effort to reduce the carbon footprint of wastewater systems and this award will enable her to work even more closely with industry partners, delivering industry-relevant research outcomes.”

Icon Water’s Sustainability and Resource Recovery Coordinator, Dr Joel Edwards, said Kaili’s clear passion was to help create a more sustainable and less polluting world.

“Her important research will allow Icon Water and the water industry to better understand the complex dynamics of nitrous oxide air emissions during wastewater treatment,” he said.

“Helping to measure and manage actual greenhouse gas emissions is critical to reducing the global warming impact from biological nitrogen removal processes worldwide.”

This award honours Nancy Millis who was a microbiologist of international repute who made enormous contributions in agriculture, environmental protection, medicine and engineering.