Delivering transformational outcomes for industry and the environment
The Centre for Sustainable Bioproducts (CSB) develops new approaches to convert organic waste (biomass) into sustainable, high-value bioproducts, providing industry partners with the opportunity to test and innovate new processing techniques at a pilot manufacturing scale.
The food, agricultural and marine sectors are valuable contributors to the Victorian and Australian economy. They also generate vast quantities of underutilised materials that are often disposed of as waste or used in low-value processes with negative economic and environmental outcomes.
This waste contains many valuable components which, if properly extracted or processed, can be reused as economically viable and desirable bioproducts. A national leader in biotransformation of organics and sustainable biomanufacturing, CSB delivers advanced biomanufacturing solutions to convert organic waste into sustainable, high-value bioproducts.
Our research areas
CSB operates as four interlinked nodes, each developing research and innovation to address key gaps across the value chain from biomass refining to product creation.
Advanced modular bioprocessing
Centred around the Deakin BioFactory, this node delivers pilot scale modular advanced biomanufacturing capability and validates biorefining steps to ensure viable industry investment in advanced manufacturing. Specific equipment and processes are demonstrated using a biorefinery approach to develop blueprints for three to six products from one biomass. The node focuses on two areas – drying and solvent extraction with downstream bioprocessing; and direct extraction and separation of biomass using a low-cost non-drying approach.
Drawing on Deakin’s strengths in analytical chemistry and extensive materials separation and characterisation capabilities and infrastructure, this node applies robust analytical methods to evaluate incoming biomass and product quality. Our research team is developing cutting-edge in line monitoring and sensor technology to enable optimised biomanufacturing automation and control in real time.
Engineering integration and design
This node leverages Deakin’s expertise in materials, manufacturing engineering and the built environment to enable improved building design, equipment engineering and design, monitoring sensors, integration towards automation and modular plug-and-play manufacturing.
We specialise in nanoscale biomaterial product design, site-scale engineering for bioproduct manufacturing and evaluation of circular economy cost-benefits and risks to ensure business and environmental sustainability. Research has contributed to the development of biochar products in engineering systems, biomedical delivery and automation systems, and biocomposite materials.
To successfully convert organic waste into high-value products, we develop specifications in conjunction with industry partners and validate products in terms of their safety, efficacy, properties and functionality. This node draws on strengths in synthetic chemistry to ensure the commercial viability and usefulness of agricultural, food and feed bioproducts, medical food biomaterials and bioproducts, bioplastics and industrial bioproducts.
We work with industry partners including Ridley, Mantzaris Fisheries, Seasol, HeiQ and Kemin, and research partners such as the Fight Food Waste and Marine Bioproducts Cooperative Research Centres, to:
- reduce the volume of organic waste going to landfill, resulting in improved economic and environmental outcomes
- develop new approaches to transform and process organic waste and provide our partners with the opportunity to test new processing techniques at pilot scale, enabling industry to de-risk future investments
- transform organic waste into feed, nutrition, fertiliser, medical biomaterial and agricultural products, and contribute to a waste-minimising circular economy.
CSB’s expertise and partnerships with industry are helping to position Victoria as a leader in the transformation of organic biomass into valuable bioproducts, keeping useable waste out of landfill and building a national capacity in advanced biomanufacturing.
Alfred Deakin Professor Colin Barrow
Director, Centre for Sustainable Bioproducts
CSB brings together researchers from across Deakin with expertise in analytical and synthetic chemistry; materials and manufacturing engineering, environmental management and sustainability.
Alfred Deakin Professor Colin Barrow
Alfred Deakin Professor Colin Barrow is director of CSB and chair of biotechnology at Deakin. His research focuses on food and industrial biotechnology and green chemistry in manufacturing. He has extensive experience in building industry academic research collaborations and was previously executive vice president of research and development for Ocean Nutrition Canada, where he led a team of 50 scientists and engineers to commercialise a range of products and technologies.
Professor Minoo Naebe
Professor Minoo Naebe is deputy director of CSB and a lead researcher at the ARC Research Hub in sustainable and functional fibres. Her research focuses on advanced manufacturing, materials and sustainability. She has a successful track record in delivering on research translation and commercialisation with national and international industry partners.
Associate Professor Wenrong Yang
Associate Professor Wenrong Yang leads the centre’s advanced modular bioprocessing research node. He is a biotechnology researcher of nanomaterials in bioprocessing and has led industry related projects on plant nanobiotics and lipase immobilisation.
Associate Professor Xavier Conlan
Associate Professor Xavier Conlan leads the centre’s applied analytics research node. His research focuses on applied analytics and forensic science. He has strong collaborations with industries where bioprocessing is a key aspect and has led projects in a range of areas where analytic methods have been applied to bioactive components, including those from biomass.
Professor Wendy Timms
Professor Wendy Timms leads the centre’s engineering integration and design research node. She is a chartered engineer (civil engineering, environmental engineer) and has led projects on water, agriculture and resource extraction. She is currently working on an industry collaboration in monitoring sensor technology and has developed networks for value-adding in organics composting, biogas and biochar products.
Professor David Cahill
Professor David Cahill leads the centre’s bioproduct validation research node. His research focuses on plant productivity in natural and agricultural systems and the use of nanoparticles in plant science. He was previously Director of the TERI Deakin Nanobiotechnology Centre and has led many projects with industry on plant biotechnology and its application to bioproduct validation.
Professor Abbas Kouzani
Professor Abbas Kouzani leads Deakin’s Advanced Integrated Microsystems (AIM) research group in the School of Engineering. He provides research leadership in the design and implementation of electro-mechanical systems, circuits and instruments that incorporate sensing; control; networking and IoT; data acquisition, storage and analysis; artificial intelligence; energy harvesting and power management. He has been awarded research grants exceeding $15 million, published over 330 papers, has three patents (and three pending), and has carried out research and consultancy for more than 25 companies.