Researcher Profile

Professor Dongke Zhang

Dongke Zhang
Dongke Zhang

Phone: +61 8 6488 7600

Research Expertise:
  • Anaerobic digestion for biogas production
  • Biomass energy
  • Carbon dioxide chemistry
  • Catalysis
  • Coal pyrolysis, combustion and gasification
  • Coal to liquid
  • Combustion science and technology
  • Diesel engine combustion
  • Electrochemistry and water electrolysis
  • Emission control
  • Energy conversion and energy efficiency
  • Flame and fire
  • Fuel cells
  • Fuel processing technologies
  • Gas combustion
  • Gas process engineering
  • Gas to liquid
  • Heat and mass transfer
  • Heavy oil processing
  • Heterogeneous catalysis
  • Homogeneous catalysis
  • Hydrogen production technologies and hydrogen economy
  • Industrial explosives
  • Natural gas chemistry and chemical engineering
  • Oil refining and petrochemicals
  • Process engineering
  • Reaction engineering and kinetics
  • Reaction mechanisms
  • Reactor design
  • Renewable energy
  • Slurry fuels
  • Surface science
  • Thermodynamics
  • Thermal explosions


Life has constantly played up with me: I love outdoor sports activities (track and field, swimming, riding and tennis…), but end up with a heavily office life; I was trained as mechanical engineer, but end up with a chemical engineer title; I love to have a few daughters and sons, but end up with three sons only. The list goes on and on.

Not entirely so ……

Three things have been always right for me and that’s enough: I wanted Jing to be my wife, I have her; our three sons, David, Daniel and Damien, are so lovely, polite, talented, and always pleasant; I love fire from my childhood, I am still burning anything that burns, from coal to gas, from biomass to city garbage, and even chicken shit; and I burn things in a variety of ways, from stove to boilers, from jet burners to internal combustion engines, from spontaneous combustion to dust explosion, and even catalytic combustion and human body spontaneous combustion; I also burn things to make a variety of products, from heat to light, from electricity to antimicrobials, and even NOx, SOx, and the damn CO2 ……

The awesome energy released from combustion fuels my professional life, just as Jing, David, Daniel and Damien who have warmed my body and soul, all the time.

Life is a process of combustion, often spontaneous ……

Roles, responsibilities and expertise

Director, Centre for Energy

Funding Received

• Australian Research Council Discovery Projects Scheme, Production, Processing and Combustion of an Innovative Slurry Fuel for High Efficiency Distributed Power Generation (DP110103699)
• Australian National Low emissions coal research & development (ANLECR&D) Research & development projects Alternatives & Fundamentals Program, Oxygen Membranes for Oxyfuel Combustion and/or brown and black coal gasification
• BHP Billiton Iron Ore Pty Ltd, Low-Temperature Oxidation, Spontaneous Combustion and Acid Rock Drainage of Mt McRae Shale: Continuing Quality Assurance for the Application of the New Shale Classification System for ARD Minimisation and Management Based on pH and ORP Techniques
• Australian Research Council Linkage Projects Scheme, Synthetic Natural Gas and Biochar from Biomass for Energy Services in Remote Communities and Soil Carbon Sequestration (LP100200135)
• Australian Research Council Linkage Projects Scheme, Methanol to Diesel (LP100200136)
• Australian Research Council Linkage Projects Scheme, An Innovative Two-Phase Anaerobic Process for Biogas Production from Green Waste and Animal Droppings for Remote Communities (LP100200137)
• Australian Research Council Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities Scheme, An Advanced Thermogravimetric Analysis System for World-Leading Research in Clean Energy, Catalysis, Material Science and Nanotechnology
• Australian Research Council Discovery Projects Scheme, Ignition Mechanisms and Flame Evolution of Single Particles and Clouds of Pulverised Coal under Micro-Gravity Condition (DP0988036)
• Australian Research Council Linkage Projects Scheme, Homogeneous Combustion Catalysts for Efficiency Improvements and Emission Reduction in Diesel Engines (LP0989368)
• Chinese Academy of Sciences International Collaboration Funds, Research and Development into the Key Scientific Issues in Syngas to Diesel via DME
• Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) of China, Strategic Research into the Fundamentals of Lignite Reactions and Tactical Development of Technologies for Clean and Efficient Utilization of Lignite
• National Natural Science Foundation of China, A fundamental Study of the Combined Coal Gasification and Coal-bed Methane Reforming in Fluidised-bed
• Australian Research Council Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities Scheme, A novel isotope facility to characterise high-molecular-weight fractions of natural organic matter in soils, sediments, water, petroleum and coal
• Spitfire Oil Ltd, Lignite to Value process development, evaluation and optimisation
• BHPBilliton MKO (Nickel) Pty Ltd., Development of a portable pH technique for in-pit identification of reactive shale for safe blasting of mine grounds using ANFO


• Fellow, Institution of Chemical Engineers in Australia (FIChemE)
• Chartered Engineer, The Engineering Council (UK)
• Chartered Scientist, The Science Council (UK)
• Fellow, Engineers Australia (FIEAust)
• Chartered Professional Engineers (CPEng)
• Fellow, Australian Institute of Energy (FAIE)
• Member, The Combustion Institute.

Previous Positions

• FTSE, FIChemE, CEng, CSci, FIEAust, CPEng, FAIE, MCombI.
• B.E. (1984) and M.E. (1987), Nanjing Institute of Technology (Southeast University), Nanjing, P.R. China.
• Ph.D. (1993), University of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia.
• Appointed Lecturer, Department of Chemical Engineering at University of Adelaide (1993), Senior Lecturer (1996), Associate Professor (1998).
• Appointed Professor of Chemical Engineering (1999 – 2008) and Head of Department of Chemical Engineering at Curtin University of Technology (1999 – 2001)
• Foundation Director, Centre for Fuels and Energy, Curtin University of Technology (established 2000)
• Manager - Education Program, Principal Researcher, Key Research Adviser, and Project Leader positions with Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for New Technologies for Power Generation from Low-rank Coal (1993 - 1999).
• Adjunct Professor, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, P.R.China (since 1995).
• Adjunct Professor, Southeast University, Nanjing, P.R. China (since 1997).
• Research Adviser, CHEMEQ Ltd. (2000 - 2006)
• A key and crucial member in the successful application for the establishment of the Cooperative Research Centre for Coal in Sustainable Development (CCSD) (2000)
• Project Leader for Improvements in Current Power Generation Technologies (CCSD P2.3) and for Utilisation of Solid Wastes and By-products (CCSD P6.2) in the CCSD (2001 – 2008).
• Overseas Expert Assessor for Chinese Academy of Science (since 2002)
• Concurrent Research Professor, Institute of Coal Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Science, Taiyuan, Shanxi, P.R. China (since 2002)
• Associate Editor, Science Bulletin, China Science Publishing House (2003 – 2007)
• Non-Executive Director, Hydrogen Technology Limited (2004 – 2006)
• Senior Project Adviser, BHPBilliton Iron Ore Limited - Mt Whaleback (Newman, WA) Operations (since 2004)
• Elected Fellow (FTSE), Australian Academy of Technological Science and Engineering (ATSE) (2004)
• Chairman and Chief Scientist, 3D Reactions Pty Ltd (since 2005)
• Chief Scientist and Chief Technical Officer, Spitfire Oil Ltd (2005 – 2008)
• Honorary Professor, South China University of Technology (2006)
• Strategic Adviser and Concurrent Research Professor, Qingdao Institute of Bioenergy and Processing Technology, Chinese Academy of Science, Qingdao, Shandong, P.R. China (since 2007)
• John Curtin Distinguished Professor, Curtin University of Technology (since 2007)
• Concurrent Research Professor, Beijing University, P.R. China (since 2007)
• Winthrop Professor, Foundation Professor of Chemical Engineering, Director, UWA Centre for Energy, The University of Western Australia (since 2008)
• Member of College of Expert, The Australian Research Council (2008 – 2010)
• Inaugural Honorary Director of Centre for Energy Technology, Qingdao Institute of Bioenergy and Processing Technology, Chinese Academy of Science, Qingdao, Shandong, P.R. China (since 2009)


FTSE, BE ME Southeast, PhD Newcastle(NSW), FIChemE, CEng, CSci, FIEAust, CPEng, FAIE, MIComb

ID: 165082

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