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Personal profile


As one of the 200 Inaugural Future Fellowship Awardees across Australia in 2009, Dr Lian Zhang specialises in the Research, Development and Deployment related to a broad range of high-efficiency and low-emission clean energy technologies, particularly for the advanced utilisation of low-rank coal, biomass and industry waste. He has also been conducting interdisciplinary research including hydrometallurgical leaching of low-rank coal and biochar for the selective removal of troublesome elements; extraction of specific metals to make construction materials such as MgO-Board from low-rank coal fly ash and steelmaking slag; as well as the use of synchrotron – based facilities for both ex-situ and in-situ characterisation of a variety of solid products collected from the clean energy processes.  


Apart from being interested in the fundamental aspects of every research topic, Dr Zhang is also keen to commercialise a number of patented technologies that were developed by his group, including the manufacturing of high-pyrity MgO/MgSO4/CaO from low-rank coal fly ash, selective removal of troublesome elements from low-rank coal and biochar, and advanced catalysts for in-situ production of aromatic – rich hydrocarbons from the pyrolysis of low – rank coal and biomass. 


Dr Zhang obtained his MEng in 1999 from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and his PhD in 2003 from the Department of Applied Chemistry, Chubu University Japan. Dr Zhang undertakes extensive collaborative research with a variety of industry partners and research organisations across Australia and from overseas. He is a member of the Japan Society of Chemical Engineers, the Japan Institute of Energy and the Engineer Australia. He is currently leading the Clean Solid Fuel Laboratory (CSFL) in the Department of Chemical Engineering, Monash University, supervising one postdoctoral research fellow and eight PhD students.



Research interests

  • High-Efficiency Low - Emission (HELE) Combustion (oxy-Fuel Combustion), and Gasification (Catalytic Gasification) Technologies for Low-Rank Coal and Biomass;
  • Catalytic Pyrolysis for the Production of Value-Added Chemicals from Coal, Biomass and Industrial Wastes;
  • Advanced Blending Combustion and Gasification Technologies for the Use of Low-Rank Coal Char and Biochar;
  • De-ashing/Demineralisation of Low-Rank Coal and Biochar for the Production of clean fuel;
  • Production of Value-Added Products including MgO-Board from Low-Rank Coal Fly Ash and Steelmaking Slag. 

Low-Rank Coal/Biomass Combustion Technologies:

  • EnergyAustralia (Yallourn Power Plant) – oxy-fuel combustion;
  • GDE SUEZ (Hazelwood Power Plant) – oxy-fuel combustion;
  • Shanghai Boiler Works Co Ltd (SBWL) – Ash slagging and fouling, tube corrosion;
  • Coal Energy Australia (CEA) – oxy-fuel combustion in rotary kiln.


Low – Rank Coal Blending/Hybrid Gasification and Combustion Technologies:

  • Coal Energy Australia (CEA) – hybrid solar thermal/PV coal combustion technology;
  • Kailuan Coal Research Center – bituminous coal – lignite char blending combustion;
  • China Huadian Electric and Power Research Institute (CHDER) – brown coal char – bituminous coal blending combustion.


Pyrolysis of Low – Rank Coal, Biomass and Scrap Tyre

  • Coal Energy Australia (CEA);
  • Hubei Yihua Group (HYG);
  • Tyrerecycle Pty Ltd, Australia.

Monash teaching commitment

  • CHE3165 – Separation Processes (Unit Coordinator)
  • CHE3166 – Process Design (Unit Coordinator)
  • CHE4180 – Chemical engineering project (Mentor)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production

Research area keywords

  • Low-emission combustion and gasification technologies
  • Waste to Energy and Products Technologies
  • Catalytic fash pyrolysis for bio-oil production
  • Molten chloride chemistry

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or