Researcher

Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla

Biography

ABOUT ME

Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla FTSE HonFIEAust directs the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) at UNSW Australia; delivering scientific and engineering advances in sustainability of materials and associated processes in collaboration with industry.

Professor Sahajwalla’s research has completely changed how the properties of carbon-bearing materials are understood, including graphites, plastics and...view more

ABOUT ME

Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla FTSE HonFIEAust directs the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) at UNSW Australia; delivering scientific and engineering advances in sustainability of materials and associated processes in collaboration with industry.

Professor Sahajwalla’s research has completely changed how the properties of carbon-bearing materials are understood, including graphites, plastics and rubber tyres. Worldwide, the carbon-based industries of ironmaking, steelmaking and ceramics are huge, and she has had a significant impact on the theory and practice that form the basis of their operations.

Professor Sahajwalla’s most significant contribution is in the field of waste plastics, inventing an environmentally friendly technology for recycling rubber tyres in electric arc furnace (EAF) steelmaking, enabling their use as a partial replacement of coal and coke in steelmaking. This revolutionary approach has already prevented more than 2 million tyres from ending up in landfill and helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions. UNSW Australia’s commercialisation arm, NSi, has signed an agreement with Australia’s largest manufacturer of steel long products, OneSteel, to allow the sublicensing of this unique technology around the world. The innovation has been the subject of numerous keynote addresses including the Royal Institution of Great Britain, London, and the prestigious AIST Howe Memorial Award Lecture delivered by Professor Sahajwalla in the US in 2013.

The research has been internationally recognised through awards, prizes and honours, and by her success in attracting competitive research funding from government and industry. This includes the peak funding body in Australia, the Australian Research Council (ARC); the AISI/DOE; US Steel; POSCO, Korea; LKAB, Sweden; Australian companies; and through her fellowships of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (since 2007) and Engineers Australia (since 2005).

The Australian Research Council Georgina Sweet Laureate Fellowship, received by Professor Sahajwalla in 2014, will provide the scientific foundation for a novel concept, the environmentally and economically sustainable micro-recycling of e-waste. The 5-year program will open advanced 'niche' markets for value-added metals and alloys derived from the untapped potential of 30-50 million tonnes of hazardous e-waste generated annually worldwide.

Professor Veena Sahajwalla has laid the foundation for a significant legacy in establishing UNSW Australia’s world-class Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology and its unrivalled research infrastructure; in achieving ground-breaking new fundamental knowledge in her field; in translating research outcomes into major changes to sustainable industry practices internationally; in building teams and collaborative networks, and in fostering innovation and initiative to enhance the success of her students.

Professional Experience

  • ARC Georgina Sweet Laureate Fellow, 2014 -
  • Scientia Professor, UNSW, 2009 -
  • Director, Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT), UNSW, 2008–
  • Associate Dean (Strategic Industry Relations), Faculty of Science, UNSW, 2007 –
  • Visiting Professor, University Malaysia Perlis, 2006 -
  • Professor (since 2004); Associate Professor (2001–04); Senior Lecturer (1996–2001); Lecturer (1994–96), UNSW

RESEARCH

Professor Sahajwalla most significant contributions are in the field of Waste Plastics in EAF Steelmaking – Slag Interactions. Other areas of research include Structure – Reactivity Relationship of Carbon; Carbon Reactions in Iron and Steelmaking. Worldwide, the carbon-based industries of ironmaking, steelmaking and ceramics are huge, and Veena Sahajwalla has had a significant impact on their operations. Her work has resulted in the invention of a world-first, environmentally-friendly process for recycling end-of-life plastics/rubber in steelmaking. This revolutionary approach has already prevented more than 2 million tyres from ending up in landfill and helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Professor Sahajwalla invented an environmentally friendly technology for recycling plastics and rubber tyres in steelmaking, enabling their use as a partial replacement of coal and coke in electric arc furnace (EAF) steelmaking. The University’s commercialisation arm, NSi, has signed an agreement with Australia’s largest manufacturer of steel long products, OneSteel, to allow the sublicensing of this unique technology. It has been the subject of numerous invited/keynote addresses including the Royal Institution of Great Britain, London.

The Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT@UNSW) brings together researchers from the Faculties of Science, Engineering and the Built Environment to work with industry on the development of innovative, sustainable materials and manufacturing processes.

Achieving sustainability targets set by industry has created a need for commercially relevant and globally significant R&D. The SMaRT Centre works with industry partners to develop the fundamental and applied science underlying sustainable materials and technologies.

PEER REVIEWED GRANT FUNDING

  • The SMaRT Centre’s Chief Investigator, Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla, has received more than A$16M from ARC grant schemes (ARC Linkage, Discovery, ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub), Australian Laureate Fellowship and Georgina Sweet Award, CRC Low Carbon Living and AISRF, and industries including: OneSteel, Hyundai Steel, Brickworks, Jaylon Industries, Tersum Energy, TES-AMM Australia and LKAB. 

PUBLICATONS

  • Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla FTSE HonFIEAust has over 250 refereed papers in leading journals and conference proceedings in her field.

EDITORIAL BOARDS

  • Member, Editorial Board of Review, Metallurgical and Materials Transactions B, since 2004
  • Advisory Board, The Iron and Steel Institute of Japan International (2007-2010), and since 2014
  • Member, Editorial Board of Review, Resources journal, MDPI Publication, Switzerland

PATENTS

Patents held by Professor Veena Sahajwalla and industry partner OneSteel:

  • Veena Sahajwalla: Production of ferro-alloys: Australia patent no. 2005279678; Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Switzerland, Turkey, UK patent no. 1799875; Mexico patent no. 297415; New Zealand patent no. 554303; Singapore patent no. 155887; South Africa patent no. 2007/02731; USA patent no. 8021458.
  • Veena Sahajwalla: Improvements in the production of ferro-alloys: Australia patent no. 2008247330; China patent no. ZL200880013962.3; Japan patent no. 5439364; Mexico patent no. 300856;  New Zealand patent no. 580591; Singaproe patent no. 156269; South Africa patent no. 2009/07412; and USA patent no. 8070849.
  • Veena Sahajwalla, Paul O’Kane: Recarburisation method: New Zealand patent no. 591240; and South Africa patent no. 2011/01329.

TEACHING & OUTREACH

Professor Veena Sahajwalla firmly believes that the benefits of science and engineering, and their global role in shaping the world we live in, must be widely understood to secure Australia’s economic future and it ensure Australians are equipped to take advantage of the rapid advances in science and technology that are transforming our daily lives. This has led her to devote considerable time and energy to community engagement and the translating of complex concepts in accessible and entertaining presentations, at conference and public events and via the media. Her interest in the multiplier effect across impact and influence is central to all of her work and core to inspiring the next generation of scientists to address environmental challenges through innovation.  

Professor Sahajwalla is a regular speaker at leading industry events worldwide focusing on green manufacturing and the fourth R – ‘Reform’. In 2009 she initiated the bi-annual International Sustainability Symposium program which serves as a unique platform for connecting academia, industry, policy makers and the media. In  2015 she was invited by Ian Chubb, Chief Scientist for Australia, to join the Strategic Priority Workshop, an academic workshop promoting productive industry-research collaborations leading up to the Australian government’s National Science and Research Priorities announcement.

Professor Sahajwalla continues to inspire and engage with young researchers and university and high school students, she engages with both industry journals and broader media platforms on her research on waste transformation, and plays an active role in contributing to government policy and public debate. She is pro-active in mentoring researchers and in supporting them to develop successful careers in academia and in industry, and with the ARC Georgina Sweet Award funding received has established 'Science 50:50', a campaign to promote women in science and technology, and a program to support, mentor and inspire Australian girls and young women into science careers.  

Highlights of engagement activities include:

  • 2016, Keynote address CSIRO Symposium, Sustainable metals recovery
    from e-waste research, Perth
  • 2015, Keynote address, Materials for the 21st Century Conference, Melbourne 
  • 2015, Keynote address, WasteMINZ, Rotorua, New Zealand
  • 2015, Keynote address, Parallels Conference, National Gallery of Victoria
  • 2015, Waste & Recycle 2015 Conference Speaker, Perth
  • 2015, Women in Science Leadership Symposium Speaker, UNSW Australia
  • 2015, Roundtable panellist, STEM Brisbane talks
  • 2015, Co-Chair International Sustainability Symposium
  • 2015, Science 50:50 Program Leader
  • 2014, Wired for Wonder Speaker
  • 2013, International Women’s Day Speaker, Sydney
  • 2012-current, Member of the Climate Council (formerly Climate Commission),
    participates in community forums, talks to business and community groups
  • 2013-current, Australia Day Council of NSW, Council Member
  • 2011, TEDx Sydney Speaker
  • 2011, Google Science Fair Judge & Panel Member (USA)

 Keynote addresses - highlights

  • 2016, Keynote address, AMU Alumni event, Sydney
  • 2015, Keynote, Oaktree, Grand Challenges, UNSW Australia
  • 2015, Keynote, Rex J. Lipman Fellows Lecture, St Peter's College, Adelaide
  • 2015, Institution of Engineers Sri Lanka, Gala Dinner, Sydney
  • 2015, Keynote & Roundtable Member: Unmaking Waste, Adelaide,
  • 2015, Keynote & Panel Member: Waste 2015, Coffs Harbour
  • 2013, Young Women’s Leadership Seminar, Parliament House, Sydney
  • 2013, Engineers Australia 2013 Regional Convention, Port Macquarie
  • 2013, AIST Howe Memorial Lecture, The Power of Steelmaking – Harnessing High Temperature Reactions to Transform Waste into Raw Material Resources, Pittsburgh, USA
  • 2013, Sustainable Business Australia, Brisbane
  • 2013, Shell Sales and Marketing Conference, Melbourne
  • 2013, 5th High Temperature Processing Symposium, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne
  • 2013, National Youth Science Forum, Canberra
  • 2012, Australasian Conference on the Mechanics of Structures and Materials (ACMSM 22), Sydney
  • 2012, Australian Executive Women's Leadership Symposium
  • 2011, IITians Association of Australia (IITAA) Business Seminar
  • 2011, TEDxSydney Talk – Reviving Waste
  • 2010, Engineering Leadership Conference, Brisbane
  • 2010, Society for Plastics Engineers Conference, Melbourne
  • 2009, ‘Managing Waste in a Changing Climate’ Conference, Launceston, NZ
  • 2008, Australian Steel Convention on ‘Creating Opportunities in Challenging Time’, Sustainability and Steel, Perth
  • 2005, World Scrap Metal Congress, Shanghai, China
  • 2004, International Ferro-Alloys Congress, Cape Town, South Africa 

Plenary addresses - highlights

  • 2015, Co-Chair, International Sustainability Symposium, World Resources Forum, Sydney
  • 2015, Office of Environment & Heritage, Sydney
  • 2015, Women in Leadership Forum, Cochlear, Sydney
  • 2015, Tyre Industry Summit, Auckland, NZ
  • 2014, ATSE, Strategy for Converting Scientific Discoveries into Impact, Brisbane
  • 2014, Future of Research - Green Manufacturing, Sydney
  • 2014, Recycling in a Global Economy, Sydney
  • 2014, Green Materials & Recycling End-of-Life Polymers in Steelmaking, Royal Society, Southern Highlands, NSW
  • 2014, ‘Can You Walk the Walk?’, UNSW Australia, Kensington
  • 2014, Meat and Livestock Australia, Sydney
  • 2014, PechaKucha Night, Sydney
  • 2014, Fellows Luncheon, Sydney
  • 2014,  Iluka Conference, Perth
  • 2014, ANU Director’s Colloquium, Research School of Physics and Engineering, ANU, Canberra
  • 2014, Trinity Grammar Guest of Honour & Speaker, Sydney
  • 2013, Shell Innovation Open House, Canberra
  • 2013, Australian Food & Grocery Council Sustainability Forum, Sydney 
  • 2013, EU Trans-disciplinary Science & Technology Strategic Event, Netherlands, (presented by Graham Morton)
  • 2013, Regional PBD Conference, Sydney  
  • 2013, Global Energy Forum, Sydney
  • 2013, SIMTech, Singapore
  • 2013, Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability Conference, Sydney
  • 2013, Community Migrant Resource Centre, Parramatta
  • 2013, CEDA – the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, Melbourne
  • 2013, Engineers Australia Breakfast, Sydney
  • 2013, Wired for Wonder 'Where Is Science Taking Us?', Sydney
  • 2013, Climate Commission Mornington Forum, Melbourne
  • 2013, ‘Girls Talk: Promoting Science to High School’, Newcastle
  • 2013, ‘Slap Tomorrow’: A Wake-Up Call Environmental Forum, Shepparton, VIC
  • 2012, UNEP conference - Global Partnership on Waste Management (GPWM), Osaka, Japan
  • 2012,  Good practice in Collaboration with Asia, AIEC
  • 2012, CSIRO Intelligent Processing Symposium  
  • 2012, Australia-China Forum for Advanced High Strength Steels, Deakin University, Geelong
  • 2011, ASTE China Australia Symposium, Recycling Hard Waste & Liquids
  • 2011, Building Partnerships with Industry: Science and Engineering
  • 2011, Big Night of Science
  • 2011, Carbon Pricing Tax Forum, with Hon Member Peter Garrett
  • 2011, Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, on ‘Commercialising technologies from a university’s perspective’, Melbourne
  • 2010, Early Career Research , UNSW Australia, Kensington
  • 2010, Modern Electric Furnace Steelmaking: A Practical Training Seminar,AIST 
  • 2010, CSIRO Advanced Materials Conference 
  • 2010, Learning to Adapt: The Climate of the Future 
  • 2010, Engineering Leadership Conference 
  • 2010, IBM Software Group
  • 2010, National Youth Science Forum
  • 2007, International Symposium on Sustainable Materials, Malaysia
  • 2006, The Harricks Address, the Institution of Engineers Australia, Sydney
  • 2006, ‘Recycling materials', the Visionary Address, to the Latin American Iron and Steel Institute, Mexico City, Mexico
  • 2005, Iron/steelmaking, Instituto Argentino De Siderurgia, San Nicolas, Argentina
  • 2005, The Royal Institution of Great Britain, London
  • 2004, International Conference on Process Development in Iron and Steelmaking, Luleå, Sweden

AWARDS & ACHIEVEMENTS

  • 2015, Engineers Australia, Honorary Fellowship
  • 2015, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, Distinguished Alumnus Award
  • 2015. Australian Financial Review & Wespac Group, 100 Women of Influence Award, Innovation Category
  • 2015, Australia's Top 100 Most Influential Engineers, Engineers Australia
  • 2014, Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship & Georgina Sweet Award
  • 2014, Sydney Engineering Excellence Awards, President's Award, SMaRT Centre and joint entrants OneSteel and Brickworks Building Products
  • 2014, Sydney Engineers Excellence Award, Green Materials: Novel processes to transform automotive glass and plastic waste into value-added materials’
  • 2013, The Howe Memorial Lecture Award, AIST
  • 2013, InStyle Audi Women of the Year Award, Environment Category
  • 2012, Banksia Environmental Foundation, GE Eco Innovation Award
  • 2012, The Australian Innovation Challenge, Overall Winner & Hi-Tech Design Category 
  • 2012, CRC Australian Collaborative Innovation Award
  • 2012, UNSW Innovation Awards, Innovation Excellence winner
  • 2011, Nokia Business Innovation Award, Telstra Business Women’s Awards
  • 2011, Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award for ‘Outstanding Achievement in Science’, Government of India
  • 2009 Joseph Kapitan Award for the best cokemaking paper (‘Effect of coke minerals and carbon structure on coke behaviour in the Ruukki blast furnace’
  • 2009, Joint Winners – OneSteel & UNSW 2009 Australian Steel Institute Sustainability Award.
  • 2009 NSi Inventor of the Year in the Science/Engineering Category. Click to see video.
  • 2009, ARC Future Fellowship
  • 2008 New South Wales Scientist of the Year Award, category Engineering Science.
  • 2007-current, Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, the premier national institution for the advancement of engineering and technology, for ‘achievements as an exceptional, innovative engineer with an established record of successful conversions of research to high-value products’. Link:  http://www.unsw.edu.au/news/pad/articles/2007/nov/ATSE_Fellows.html
  • 2006 Environmental Technology Award, (‘Waste plastics – a resource for EAF steelmaking’), AIST.
  • 2006 Charles Briggs Award, for the best paper in electric steelmaking (‘Influence of carbonaceous materials on slag foaming behaviour during EAF steelmaking’), AIST.
  • 2005 Eureka Prize for Scientific Research, for innovations in recycling waste plastics in steelmaking, Australian Museum.
  • 2005-current, Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia
  • 2004 Fresh Innovators Award, for innovations in recycling waste plastics in steelmaking, supported by the National Innovation Awareness Strategy, an Australian Government initiative.
  • 2003 Josef Kapitan Award, for the best ironmaking paper (‘Novel equations to establish influence of char structure on reactivity during PCI in a blast furnace’), ISS.
  • 2003 Frank McKune Award, for the best paper on steelmaking practice, author under 40 years of age (‘Interfacial phenomena during interactions of graphite-alumina refractories with liquid steel’), ISS.
  • 2002 Frank McKune Award for the best paper on steelmaking practice, author under 40 yrs) – ISS (‘Kinetic study of in-situ SiO2 reduction in carbon-bearing refractories’).
  • 2000 John Chipman Award for excellence and originality in a publication on the production and processing of iron and steel. Best paper selected from the previous two years of papers in American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers (AIME) refereed journals and conference proceedings.
  • 1990-2000, Young Leader of the Iron and Steel Society Foundation.
  • 1998, Engineering Excellence Award (Category – Engineering R&D Training and Processes) from the Institution of Engineers Australia – Sydney Division, for new environmentally compatible iron/steel making technologies.

 


My Expertise

New iron making technologies (HIsmelt process, direct reduction of iron DRI / HBI); new developments in blast furnace iron making technology, ferrous & non-ferrous foundry processes; kinetics of reactions occurring in above processes.

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Contact

+61 2 9385 4426
54292

Research Activities

Videos

TEDxSydney - Veena Sahajwalla - Reviving Waste
Smart Recycling
Veena Sahajwalla - The E-Waste Alchemist
From Shopping Bags to Steel