Philip Kwong

Dr Philip Kwong

Senior Lecturer

School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials

Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.

Dr Kwong is a senior lecturer in the School of Chemical Engineering at the University of Adelaide. He is the member of the Center for Energy Technology with specialization in greenhouse gas emission control and the combustion of fossil and biomass fuels, but also works with indoor air quality and sustainable waste management. His research focuses on developing low cost technologies to assist with the transition from fossil to sustainable economy. He is experienced in characterizing the emissions from the combustion of biomass and fossil fuels. His current research projects include the conversion of agricultural wastes into biochar for environmental mitigation using pyrolysis; combustion performance of producer gas for clean energy generation; and catalytic oxidation of methane for greenhouse gas emission control. He has published more than 40 articles in high-impact journals and peer reviewed conferences in the above fields. Apart from research, he also draws from his experience in environmental and energy engineering to develop a new course titled Biofuels, Biomass and Wastes for undergraduate and postgraduate sustainability education at the University of Adelaide.

Research interests:  Biochar, biomass combustion, catalytic combustion, waste management, greenhouse gas control, air pollution control, clean energy, indoor air quality.

Research and development in sustainable energy and waste management system, including biomass combustion, pyrolysis and gasification with expertise in flue gas and synthesis gas analysis, biochar characterisation and utilisation of biochar for carbon sequestration and environmental applications. Dr Kwong also works in air pollution control and building energy efficiency. He has developed an energy efficient air purification system using catalytic combustion and adsorption for both industrial and domestic applications.

Research facilities in Dr Kwong's laboratory
Continuous Pyrolysis Reactor
Batch Pyrolysis Reactor
Flue Gas Dilution and Isokinetic Particle Sampling System
Anderson Cascade Impactor (0.3 - 10um)
Optical Particle Counter (0.3 - 10um)
Flue Gas Analyser (CO2, O2, CO)
Agilent 490 Micro GC
MultiRAE Portable Gas Monitor (VOCs, NH3, H2S, SO2, NO and NO2)
Ozone Gas Monitor
Ozone Gas Generator
Tube Furnaces 
Muffle Furnace
FTIR (Gas phase and solid phase)
Mass Flow Controllers
TSI Velocicalc

Potential PhD projects
Please contact Dr. Kwong ( for further information.

Project 1: Engineering biochar production and renewable energy generation for agricultural sector
The proper waste management from agricultural operations can minimize the impact to climate change while increase the primary crop productivity. One mean to achieve this is to develop an integrated pyrolysis system utilizing the residues from agricultural sector for the co-production of renewable energy and solid carbon product (biochar or biomass derived black carbon). The biochar is returned to the same land that the feedstock originated, it not only stores carbon from the atmosphere to the soil, but also increases biomass productivity by improving the physical and chemical conditions of the soil. Despite the significant potential for biochar application in agricultural sector, there is still a lack of detail understanding on how the agricultural residuals can be used effectively to displace existing carbon-intensive energy sources and store carbon in soil. Besides, the environmental and health issues associated with the combustion of complex pyrolysis gases for renewable energy generation and biochar productions are poorly understood. To this end, we will establish the correlations among biochar characteristics, pyrolysis conditions and the associated atmospheric emissions from the conversion of various agricultural wastes. It is expected that the results from this study will provide a full set of optimum parameters for the clean conversion of agricultural residuals into biochar for renewable energy generation and carbon sequestration.
Project 2: Catalytic combustion system for ultra-lean methane from mine ventilation air
The development of low-cost technology to mitigate the methane content in coal mine ventilation air remains a challenge. All commercially viable technologies would benefit from the inclusion of a low range combustion system for ultra-lean methane (0.02-1vol%) mitigation, which could improve performance and lower operating costs by as much as 30%. To this end, we will develop a suite of novel ozone catalytic oxidation system and give superior performance for the combustion of ultra-lean methane in air mixtures at low temperature. We will use combinatorial chemistry to ensure optimum catalyst formulation for ozone oxidation reactions, and then evaluate the optimized materials in a porous burner system. This will enable the comparative improvement in performance, especially in ultra lean methane condition, resulting from the incorporation of the catalysts to be determined directly. The results of the study will be of relevance to the development of ultra-lean methane mitigation systems that extending concentration limits and lowering the reaction temperature of the state-of-the-art combustion system. The successful completion of the study will result in a reduction in the capital and operating costs of combustion-based mine ventilation air mitigation technologies.
Project 3: Chemical looping combustion of solid fuels
Chemical-looping combustion (CLC) is an innovative process with the potential to deliver efficient, clean and low-cost electricity using coal. CLC involves the use of a solid oxygen carrier (e.g. metal oxides), which has a high amount of lattice oxygen that provides the oxidant for the coal oxidation reactions rather than via the direct combustion of coal in either air or oxygen. The solid oxygen carrier is circulated between two reactors. In the fuel reactor, the fuel is oxidized by the oxygen carrier to produce a flue gas of H2O and CO2. The CO2 is recovered by condensing the water vapour and removing minor impurities, thus eliminating the need for independent pre- or post-combustion CO2 capture. The chemically-reduced oxygen carrier is then circulated to an air reactor, which converts it to an oxidized form for recirculation to the fuel reactor.

Research Grants

2021 Future-proofing Australian farms to reduce the severity and impact of droughts by using biochar to increase soil water holding capacity, organic matter, and carbon content, Natural Resource Management Drought Resilience Program – Grants, Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, Australian Government.

2021  Co-production of renewable energy and value-added products using radiata pine residues; Contract Research with Plantation Treated Timber.

2020    Feasibility study of co-gasification of bagasse and solid waste in a sugarcane mill, Innovation Connection Grant, Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, Australian Government.

2020     Moving towards zero emissions through on-farm circular resource-recovery system to improve soil carbon sequestration and organic matter, and reduce water reliance in a vineyard, National Landcare Program Smart Farms Small Grants, Australian Government.

2019    Production of Kindling from BioWaste, Innovation Connection Grant, Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, Australian Government.

2018 ByGen- Sustainable conversion of agricultural wastes into high value functional materials, South Australian Early Commercialisation Fund (SAECF), TechInSA, Government of South Australia.

2018 Co-production of renewable energy and activated biochar using spent grape marc, Student Project sponsored by Tarac Technologies.

2018  Sustainable Conversion of Agricultural Wastes into High Value Functional Materials, Commercial Accelerator Scheme (CAS), Adelaide Enterprise, The University of Adelaide.

2017 Evaluation of winery waste biochar as a value-added product, Student Project sponsored by Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI).

2016 New solutions for air quality and old development challenges: Biochar technology; Interdisciplinary Research Fund (IRF), The University of Adelaide.

2016 Odor control using low-cost adsorbents derived from hydrothermal carbonization of sewage sludge; Invitation Fellowship for Research in Japan, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS).

2015 Co-production of biochar and bioenergy from winery residue to improve vineyard water use and renewable energy production efficiencies; Premier’s Research and Industry Fund, Catalyst Research Grant, Department of State Development, Government of South Australia.

2014 Improving vineyard water efficiency by addition of biochar derived from grape stalks and vineyard prunings: modelling effects of pyrolysis conditions on biochar water holding capacity; Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation Incubator Project, Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (GWRDC).

2013 Co-production of biochar and renewable energy from agricultural residue for carbon sequestration; Interdisciplinary Research Fund (IRF), DVC, The University of Adelaide.


2017 Apparatus and method of producing activated carbon material (Aust. Pat. App. No. 2017904838)

Teaching Grants

2015 Development of flexible experimental activities to connect theory with applications in engineering curriculum, Stephen Cole the Elder Fellowship Project Scheme, Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences, University of Adelaide.

2014 Development of an online laboratory for the Unit Operation Laboratory course in Chemical Engineering; Beacon of Enlightenment Strategic Plan priorities relating to technology enhanced learning, University of Adelaide.

2012 Investigation on collaborative learning to the students with different academic background; School of Chemical Engineering Learning and Teaching Project, University of Adelaide.

CHEM ENG 2013 Advanced Process Modelling

CHEM ENG 2018 Process Fluid Mechanics

CHEM ENG 3024 Professional Practice III

CHE ENG 3035 Fluid and Particle Mechanics

CHEM ENG 3036 Unit Operation Laboratory

CHEM ENG 4048 Biofuels, Biomass & Wastes

  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2019 Co-Supervisor Rapid Isotopic Identification using MW-LIBS Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Ali Mohammad A Alamri
    2018 Principal Supervisor To Identify the Characteristics of, and the Mechanisms through which Char and Char-Supported Catalysts Reduce the Tar Content of Syngas From Biomass Gasification Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Richard William Thomson
    2016 Co-Supervisor Characterisation of Biochar for Environmental Mitigations Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mr Benjamin Morton
    2016 Co-Supervisor Particles Heating Using Solid State Solar Simulator Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Wanxia Zhao
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2016 - 2020 Co-Supervisor Elemental Detection at Ambient Condition by LIBS and Microwave-assisted LIBS Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Md Abdul Wakil
    2014 - 2018 Co-Supervisor Photocatalytic Solar Energy Conversion on Metal-free Semiconductors Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Mohammad Ziaur Rahman
    2014 - 2018 Principal Supervisor Emissions from the Co-Generation of Biochar and Bioenergy with Agricultural By-Products Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Lewis Dunnigan
    2012 - 2016 Co-Supervisor Engineering Photocatalysts towards High-Performance Solar Hydrogen Production Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Jingrun Ran
    2011 - 2015 Principal Supervisor Linking the Hetero-Chemistry of Nanoporous Carbonaceous Materials to Their Performance Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Saeid Sedghizeinolhajloo
  • Memberships

    Date Role Membership Country
    2010 - ongoing Member IChemE Australia
  • Editorial Boards

    Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country
    2015 - ongoing Associate Editor Frontiers in Environmental Science
  • Position: Senior Lecturer
  • Phone: 83130724
  • Email:
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Engineering North, floor 2
  • Room: 2 09
  • Org Unit: School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials

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