Research to transform biosolid resource management

Research to transform biosolid resource management

A new research centre is set to transform Australia’s biosolid use as a valuable resource, providing new practices, technologies and products for improved land management and training.

Minister for Education Dan Tehan today announced the Government would provide $3.9 million to establish an Australian Research Council (ARC) Training Centre for the Transformation of Australia’s Biosolids Resource, based at RMIT University.

Led by RMIT’s Distinguished Professor Andrew Ball, the centre will bring together expertise from 20 national and international partners from Australia, the UK and US including universities, water management authorities and industry.

Biosolids are a by-product of the wastewater treatment process that can be used as fertiliser, in land rehabilitation or as a construction material. However, around 30% of the by-product still goes to land-fill in Australia.

Distinguished Professor Andrew Ball said the centre would transform the way biosolids are managed in Australia and pave the way for improved and more environmentally sustainable practices across the globe.

“In Australia, 1.5 million tonnes of wet material are produced every year. This is a valuable resource that can contribute to a more successful circular economy,” he said.

“Our research projects will investigate how we can best manage this valuable resource across the entire process, from treating biosolid waste, transportation, legislation and improved use as a resource that will benefit our agricultural and land management industries.”

“The training centre will also ensure we are equipped and ready to go with a skilled workforce ready to use the new technologies as they are developed.”

From left to right: Nagalakshmi Haleyur (PhD student), Distinguished Professor Andrew Ball, Dr Arturo Aburto Medina (Senior Research Fellow), Dr Esmaeil Shahsavari (Senior Research Fellow), Leadin Khudur (PhD student) and Eman Koshlaf (PhD student)

Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation and Vice-President Professor Calum Drummond said the Centre would draw on RMIT’s strengths in solving complex problems through research and innovation, connections with industry, and commitment to training the next generation of researchers.

“Our research is focused on working with industry and the community to capture opportunities benefiting our economy, society and environment,” he said.

“We are delighted that this Centre will build on RMIT’s expertise in environmental science and technology and help develop the next generation of research leaders in this field.”

The training centre will attract a total of $13.7 million in cash and in-kind support including access to outstanding facilities and expertise and involve collaboration with 20 participating organisations across three countries.

Story: Kate Milkins

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