Naras Rao awarded prestigious Marie Curie Individual Fellowship

Dr Naras Rao in the laboratoryIn February 2021, Dr Naras Rao from UNSW Sydney’s School of Chemical Engineering was awarded a prestigious Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship, giving him the opportunity to embark on a new research project in Belgium beginning in 2022.

Naras completed his PhD at UNSW Sydney in 2018. Supervised by Associate Professor Rita Hendersen, Dr Tony Granville and Professor Richard Stuetz, Naras’ research explored algal separation in water treatment using a novel floatation process.

Naras’ work was highly respected and he has been working as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at UNSW since completing his PhD. He has played a key role in ARC linkage projects related to algae, cyanobacteria and water treatment and is part of the Nuisance and Harmful Algae Science-Practice Partnership, a multi-party initiative seeking to more effectively manage algal blooms by introducing smart surveillance and evidence-based, cost-effective policy and asset design for the benefit of the Melbourne region.

Under his Marie-Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship, Naras will build upon his skills and knowledge gained during his PhD studies. He will again be looking at algal separation using floatation processes, but this time instead of focusing on water treatment he will be looking at undertaking algal separation as a cost-effective, sustainable approach to generating biomass.

“A popular way to generate biofuels has been to extract and process lipids and related compounds from trees and agricultural produce. These are both costly and can increase environmental stresses," said Naras.

"Algae are microscopic plants which are a source of biomass and lipids, which can be used to produce the same quantity of biofuels as conventional methods, but at a significantly lower environmental footprint."

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