Personal details

Dr Floren Plaza
Senior Research Fellow
Faculty of Engineering,
School of Mech., Medical & Process Engineering
Discipline *
Industrial Biotechnology, Interdisciplinary Engineering, Numerical and Computational Mathematics
+61 7 3138 1239
View location details (QUT staff and student access only)
Identifiers and profiles

PhD (University of Southern Qld)

Professional memberships
and associations

Registered Professional Engineer in Queensland (RPEQ, Civil and Mechanical categories).

Corporate Member, Institution of Engineers Australia (IEAust, CPEng).

National Professional Engineers Registration, Australia (NPER, Civil).

Member, International Society of Sugar Cane Technologists (ISSCT).

Member, Australian Society of Sugar Cane Technologists (ASSCT).


Boiler research, design, maintenance and operation, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Constitutive material modelling, Energy use in industry, Finite Element Analysis, Raw sugar milling - transport and processing

* Field of Research code, Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008


Biography:Floren Plaza has approximately 24 years experience in delivery to industry in factory research, consulting, maintenance, reliability, and capital projects.  Floren has a proven record of delivering improvements through the application of Computational Fluid Mechanics (CFD) for fluid flow for equipment including boilers and process vessels, and the application of Finite Element Analysis (FEM) to the structural analysis of equipment.  Floren also has some experience in the application of Discrete Element Methods (DEM) to industry problems, including coupling of DEM with CFD, and a particular interest in the development of solid mechanics models and their coding into commercial software. Boiler skills include site inspections, measurements and application of modelling to deliver:

  1. Assessment of boiler efficiency and capacity performance.
  2. Identification of causes of boiler problems such as dust emissions.
  3. Boiler modifications for improved combustion performance, heat transfer performance, reduced wear of convection bank, air heater and economiser tubes, and reduced corrosion of air heater tubes.  The economic benefits obtained are substantial, for example, increasing the convection bank tube life by 50% has a benefit of approximately $500,000 over 10 years in Australia.

Overseas boiler modifications carried out including in Nicaragua, Argentina, Mauritius, and China.  Responsible for tendering and supervision of capital projects in Australian sugar factory including the delivery of furnace and convection bank re-tubes, water pumps and air compressors to the value of ~$4 million.                                                                                                                                                                   Detailed involvement in energy studies and environmental audits as well as many process projects, for example, the design, supervision of drafting and manufacturing, and operation of portable pilot evaporators at sugar factories.                                                                                                                                                 Detailed involvement in experimental equipment design. For example, the design, drafting, manufacturing, and commissioning of a permeability and diffusivity rig for sugar cane straw that can measure properties in two directions for the same material sample.                                                                                                           In 2003 Floren Plaza was awarded a PhD entitled ´Measuring, modelling and understanding the mechanical behaviour of bagasse´.  The multi-disciplinary project was aimed towards understanding the behaviour of sugar cane materials during the extraction of juice from sugar cane and how to model that behaviour.  A special soil direct shear test geometry was designed to measure the mechanical (compression, shear and volume) behaviour of sugar cane prepared cane and bagasse which could cope with the large deformations experienced by sugar cane materials.  It was shown that prepared cane and bagasse behave like a soil, that is, that bagasse exhibits critical state behaviour at the large range of pressures that are present in the milling process (3 kPa to 20 MPa).   Then statistical analysis was carried out using specialised Parameter Estimation software (PEST) to show which material parameters, and their values, could be determined from different parts of the data.  A critical state elastic-plastic material model from the soil literature was modified and showed improved reproduction of bagasse behaviour than existing models available in commercial software.  Subsequently, preliminary modelling was carried out using the finite element package ABAQUS of the three roll pressure feeder of an Australian milling unit using the measured material parameters and the improved material model.  The project provided a platform from which the milling process could be better understood and improved.

This information has been contributed by Dr Floren Plaza.


Unit Coordinator and Lecturer for third year process course ENB363, ‘Safety and Environmental Management’ in CPME.

This information has been contributed by Dr Floren Plaza.


Professional Experience: 

  • 2008 to current Senior Research Fellow / Senior Engineer, Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities, Qld. University of Technology, Brisbane.
  • 2006 to 2007 Boiler Reliability Engineer, Kalamia Mill, CSR Sugar.
  • 2005 to 2005 Senior Research Fellow / Senior Engineer, Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities, Qld. University of Technology, Mackay.
  • 2004 to 2005 Senior Engineer, Engineering group, Sugar Research Institute, Mackay
  • 1991 to 2004 Engineer, Engineering group, Sugar Research Institute, Mackay.
  • 1990 to 1991 Research Railway Engineer, Systems Engineering group, Sugar Research Institute, Mackay.
This information has been contributed by Dr Floren Plaza.


For more publications by this staff member, visit QUT ePrints, the University's research repository.

Research projects

Grants and projects (Category 1: Australian Competitive Grants only)

Improved modelling of wet scrubbers (4046)
Primary fund type
CAT 1 - Australian Competitive Grant
Project ID
Start year
Increasing Awareness of New Material Options to Reduce Factory Maintenance Costs
Primary fund type
CAT 1 - Australian Competitive Grant
Project ID
Start year
Materials;Sugar Mill;Wear;Seminar
Determination of factory processing procedures to better manage sugar quality issues(4045)
Primary fund type
CAT 1 - Australian Competitive Grant
Project ID
Start year
Clarification;Crystallisation;Sugar Manufacturing;Sugar Quality


Completed supervisions (Masters by Research)