Australian Centre for Water
and Environmental Biotechnology

Sewerage Service Provider Makes Top Ten Innovative Companies List

Wednesday, 09 September 2015
  • Queensland Urban Utilities

Queensland Urban Utilities (QUU) has become the first water and sewerage service provider to make it into BRW’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies List.  

The Advanced Water Management Centre at the University of Queensland is proud to collaborate with QUU on a number of research and application projects aimed at sustainable sewage treatment and recovery of energy and nutrient resources.

The AWMC team led by UQ’s Dr Paul Jensen, has partnered with Pork CRC, Australian Meat Processor Corporation, Melbourne Water and QUU, to implement a large scale waste to energy project and full scale trial at QUU’s facilities.

This project, part of QUU’s Innovation Program, was one of two innovations tendered by the organisation to the BRW’s Most Innovative Companies List for 2015.

The collaboration with QUU will enable the water and sewerage service provider to convert organic waste into biogas.

Anaerobic digestion technology combines the organic waste with naturally occurring microorganisms to produce methane rich biogas.

“The project that QUU is running utilises co-digestion – anaerobic digestion of two or more substrates - to maximise biogas yields and improve the stability of the process.

“The use of co-digestion could boost the methane production up to 50%, with only minor increases in volume load,” said Dr Jensen.

“The biogas can then be converted it into electricity which will be used on-site to power the sewerage treatment plants.”

The innovation has the potential to reduce both carbon footprint and operational costs while creating renewable energy.

The use of this system will promote an environmentally sustainable way to use waste, directing it away from landfill and on to a highly beneficial re-use.

The AWMC team and QUU have conducted extensive laboratory testing to identify the best candidates for this innovative use of trade waste, in addition to developing tools to allow rapid pre-screening of new trade wastes that may emerge in the future.

The tool package will allow QUU to make informed decisions about waste selection and the impact of co-digestion on the digester performance and waste quality.

AWMC congratulates QUU on this fantastic achievement, which highlights their leadership in the innovation space.