Prof. YUAN Zhiguo

PhD in Control Engineering, Beihang University

Visiting address
Phone: +852 34429065

Author IDs

Willing to take PhD students: yes


Prof. Yuan received his PhD degree in control engineering in 1992 from Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (Beihang University), China. He changed research field to urban water management in 1994, when he took up a postdoctoral research fellow position at Ghent University, Belgium. He joined the Advanced Water Management Centre (AWMC), now the Australian Centre for Water and Environmental Biotechnology, at The University of Queensland, Australia, in 1998. He served as the AWMC Deputy Director in 2001-2014, and then the AWMC/ACWEB Director in 2015 to 2022. He jointed City University of Hong Kong as a Chair Professor in May 2023.

His research focuses on development of innovative solutions for urban water management and environmental biotechnology through effective integration of fundamental science and applied engineering. He won over AUD50M in government, industry, and university research funding, mostly as the Lead Investigator. Prof Yuan was one of the founding members of the AUD117M Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities in Australia (2012-2021).

He is the founder of three businesses namely SeweX, Cloevis and Lodomat, and his research has delivered documented savings of hundreds of millions of dollars to the Australian water industry.

He is a Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher. He has, till Feb 2023, published over 550 papers in peer reviewed journals including Nature, Science, Nature Microbiology, Nature Communications, PNAS, Energy and Environmental Science, Water Research (>170) and Environmental Science and Technology (>60). His papers have been cited for >42,000 times giving an h-index of 115 (Google Scholar, 02/2023).

His research achievements and leadership have been recognized through prestigious awards including the 2015 ATSE Clunies Ross Award (a top technology award in Australia) and the 2014 IWA Global Project Innovation Award (Applied Research Category). Prof Yuan was named as one of Engineers Australia’s Top 100 Most Influential Engineers for 2015. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE), an IWA Distinguished Fellow, and was awarded the highly prestigious ARC Australian Laureate Fellowship in 2017. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in January 2019. He is Editor-in-Chief of Water Research X, and was one of the Editors of Water Research (2017-2022).

Research Interests/Areas

  • Gas-fed (bio)processes
    Gaseous carbon conversion to value-added products, or for value-adding applications.  
  • Innovative technologies for biological nutrients removal and recovery
    Innovative technologies and fundamental science for biological nitrogen and phosphorus removal and recovery from wastewater.
  • Integrated Urban Water Management
    A whole-of-system approach to managing multiple water resources in an urban water cycle and multiple elements in an urban water system.
  • Net-zero urban water management
    Fugitive greenhouse gas emissions from urban water systems including CH4 emission in sewers, N2O emission from wastewater treatment processes and CH4 and N2O emissions from estuaries, dams, and bays.
  • Sewer management
    Sewer corrosion and odour management, sewer monitoring and control, sewage epidemiology.
  • Sludge treatment to produce bioenergy and reusable biosolids
    Innovative technologies for enhancing bioenergy recovery from wastewater, reducing sludge production, and improving biosolids quality.
  • Smart urban water systems
    Descriptive, diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive data analytics for proactive urban water management.