Daniel Gapes



Dr Daniel Gapes is an environmental engineer with an impressive record of developing innovative technologies. He is currently leading Scion’s environmental technology research, aimed at developing new ways of managing and deriving value from organic waste.


  • PhD (Chemical Engineering), University of Queensland, Australia  - 2003
  • Masters of Technology (Hons)(Environmental Engineering), Massey University, New Zealand - 1994
  • Bachelor of Chemical Technology (Hons) Massey University, New Zealand -1992

Research capabilities

  • Bioreaction engineering and environmental biotechnology, with particular emphasis on the development of advanced tools for bioreactor analysis, and the transport and reaction phenomena which occur within such systems.
  • Hydrothermal processing for conversion of waste biomass for value-added opportunities.
  • Production of valuable materials from waste precursors, with particular emphasis on the bacterial production of polyhydroxyalkanoate biopolymers.

Career highlights

  • Research Leader of pilot plant development programme, focussed on hydrothermal processing of waste biomass via wet oxidation technology. This programme targets the identification and design of a new process (TERAX™) for solid waste conversion.
  • Responsibility for leading the research direction for the development of new and emergent environmental biotechnologies.  Over the last 5-10 years, our group has overseen the development of a patented nitrogen fixation-based biotechnology platforms, including a biopolymer production technology (N ViroPol®)
  • Co-inventor of a high-end fermentation research instrument, the TOGA sensor, and leading the technical development of this through a commercialisation stagegating process at Scion.  This has attracted co-investment through PSAF, industry and RFI funding to the value of $310K, and has been the subject of a current patent application.  To date, two pre-commercial sales have been achieved.
  • Responsible for developing and maintaining a key strategic relationship with a number of leading environmental biotechnology research laboratories, including the Department of Biosystems Engineering at the University of Manitoba and the Advanced Water Management Centre at the University of Queensland, Australia.  These relationships focus both on fermentation research as well as the commercial development the TOGA sensor.


  • Gapes, D.J.; Clark, T.; Frost; N.M.; Slade, A.H. (2003): Wastewater treatment process for nitrogen-deficient feed in controlled environment.  US Patent 6,623,641.
  • As at 2011,  one further provisional patent application (filed in 2009), which includes Dr Gapes as inventor.

Selected papers

Strong PJ, McDonald B and Gapes DJ. (2011). Combined thermochemical and fermentative destruction of municipal biosolids: a comparison between thermal hydrolysis and wet oxidative pre-treatment. Bioresource Technology 102(9):5520-5527.

Strong PJ, McDonald B and Gapes DJ. (2011).  Enhancing denitrification using wet air oxidation liquors from waste activate sludge destruction as a carbon supplement in a biological nutrient removal system Bioresource Technology 102(9):5533-5540.

Patel, M., Gapes, D.J., Newman, R.H., Dare, P.H. (2009).  Physico-chemical properties of polyhydroxyalkanoate produced by mixed-culture nitrogen-fixing bacteria.  Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 82(3):545-555.

Gapes, D., Keller, J. (2009) Impact of oxygen mass transfer on nitrification reactions in suspended carrier reactor biofilms.  Process Biochemistry 44: 43-53.

Pratt, S.; Tan, M.; Gapes, D.; Shilton, A. (2007).  Development and examination of a granular nitrogen-fixing wastewater treatment system.  Process Biochemistry 42(5):863-872.

Gapes, D., Pratt, S., Yuan, Z., Keller, J. (2003): Online titrimetric and off-gas analysis for examining nitrification processes in wastewater treatment. Water Research 37: 2678-2690.

Pratt, S.; Yuan, Z.; Gapes, D.; Dorigo, M.; Zeng, R.; Keller, J. (2003): Development of a novel titration and off-gas analysis (TOGA) sensor for study of biological processes in wastewater treatment systems. Biotechnology and Bioengineering 81 (4), 482-495.