Australian Centre for Water
and Environmental Biotechnology

From the Director - March

Wednesday, 22 March 2017
  • Professor Zhiguo Yuan, AWMC Director

World Water Day on March 22nd is about taking action to tackle the water crisis. This year’s theme of ‘wastewater’ could not be more appropriate for the Advanced Water Management Centre. So what are we doing to reduce and reuse?

Wastewater is no longer simply a waste to be treated, it is becoming a widely accepted resource. We can now recover not just water, but also organics and valuable nutrients from it. The AWMC has always had a strong focus on ways to manage wastewater, and we are now researching technologies that enable maximum recovery of the resources available in it.

We have projects that are focused on substantially enhancing biogas production from wastewater, and we are investigating the viability of recovering products of higher value. We are approaching these challenges from different directions with projects in both agri-industrial and urban environments.

According to UN data close to 70% of the world’s populations will live in cities by 2050, and as cities grow the pressure on the wastewater systems will only increase. Wastewater is an integral part of the urban water system, and should be managed as such. We are currently assessing the possibility of using drinking water sludge for sewer corrosion and odour control, and for phosphorus removal from wastewater. We are also developing a technology that recover nutrients from urine as a fertiliser, and, in the meantime, reduces nitrogen load to a central sewage treatment plant. We are constantly looking over the horizon to create more sustainable and affordable solutions for the industry, the environment, and the future.

Professor Zhiguo Yuan, FTSE
Director, Advanced Water Management Centre