My current research focuses on the development of processes that will enable phosphorus recovery from human-generated waste streams.  Since phosphorus does not cycle in nature, traditionally mined phosphorus must be replaced with more sustainable sources. The main aim of my research is to develop a clearer understanding of process fundamentals, so that we can more confidently design, operate and optimise nutrient recovery processes of the future.  Our work is unique in this regard, since most research in the field has, to date, been experimental in nature and lacked a fundamental basis. A pilot-scale nutrient recovery plant based on source-separated urine as the feed stream is on the near horizon.

Overall, my aim is to apply chemical engineering principles to challenging problems with a focus on developing sustainable solutions for mankind’s future.

  • Since 2009 I have been very active in the assessment of Chemical Engineering programs across the country through the Engineers Australia accreditation process
  • Since 2009 I have been a member of the Board of Directors of the Engineering Link Group, which aims to expose young people to the benefits of participating in the engineering profession
  • Nutrient recovery - this research focuses on the development of processes that will enable phosphorus recovery from waste streams. Unlike nitrogen, phosphorus does not cycle in nature and must be mined from limited ore deposits. It is anticipated that phosphorus production will peak in the near future, which will ultimately undermine global food security. It is therefore necessary to develop more sustainable practices in relation to phosphorus use/reuse.
  • Microwave assisted pyrolysis - this research aims to better understand the value adding potential of the microwave pyrolysis of biosolids and sludge. My students and I are interested to determine what products, such as high molecular weight oils/residues and carbon char, we can extract from this process.
  • Population balance modelling - this is a mathematical technique that enables us to monitor the dynamics of any given population, whether it be a swarm of bubbles, a collection of crystals or even the population of Australia.
  • Digital tools to facilitate learning and teaching
  • Embedding numerical methods into all aspects of chemical engineering education
  • 2004 to 2016 - Senior Lecturer, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 2007 to 2011 - Member, Academic Board, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 2005 to 2009 - Associate Dean (Engineering), James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 1996 to 2003 - Lecturer, James Cook University (Townsville)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 2015 - Engineers Australia
  • 2014 - Editorial Board, Journal of Environmental Engineering and Science
  • 2013 - International Water Association
  • 2013 - Australian Water Association
  • 2010 - Teaching and Learning Academy
  • 2009 - Board of Directors of the Engineering Link Group
  • 1998 - External instructor, Chemical Engineering Practice School (ChEPS) at KMUTT in Bangkok, Thailand

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
Conference Papers

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 45+ research outputs authored by Dr Phil Schneider from 2000 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Smart Water Fund - Research Project

Microwave Assisted Pyrolysis of Biosolids

Indicative Funding
$133,000 over 4 years (administered by University of Melbourne)
This project will be a scoping study of the application of microwave energy for pyrolytic decomposition and chemical and nutrient recovery from biosolids and food processing waste streams. By using the collaborative expertise and facilities of a number of research institutions, the following objectives are embodied in this project: 1) Perform a detailed investigation of the existing knowledge in this area of study and thus formulate techniques to bridge the knowledge gap; 2) Perform microwave assisted characterization of biosolid materials; 3) Design and fabrication of a 3 kW microwave assisted pyrolysis system; 4) Perform a chemical and nutritional content study of the pyrolytic products; 5) Compare the operational economics and products of microwave-assisted pyrolysis with those of conventional high temperature pyrolytic processes.
Graham Brodie, Mohan Jacob, Phil Schneider, Christina Apnte, Allan Willliamson and Trevor Bird (The University of Melbourne, College of Science & Engineering, University of Auckland and Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation)
Microwave Pyrolysis; Nutrient Recovery; Biosolids

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • Development and experimental validation of a dynamic model describing nutrient recovery (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Sustainability Evaluation for Macroalgae Processing (PhD , Secondary Advisor)

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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  • 15.115, Engineering & Physical Sciences 1 (Townsville campus)
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