Australian Centre for Water
and Environmental Biotechnology

Waste not, want not: funding to turn animal waste into wealth

Friday, 30 June 2017
  • Waste not want not

Researchers at The University of Queensland will play a key role in a significant coalition funding scheme recently announced as part of a collaborative research and development program led by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA).

Australia’s animal industries produce significant quantities of wastes from on-farm production, intensive feed and processing sectors.

Dr Paul Jensen, Senior Research Fellow at UQ’s Advanced Water Management Centre and one of the programme leaders, said the management of these wastes is a significant cost for these industries exceeding $100 million per year.

“Emerging technologies are creating significant opportunities to unlock new revenue streams and improve both the management of wastes and the broader sustainability of agricultural industries,” said Dr Jensen. 

“This is a major industry funded initiative that takes a broader program approach to develop ways to capture a market opportunity in excess of $100 million per annum by converting animal industry wastes into valuable products.”

The funding programme was announced by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, and Member for Corangamite, Sarah Henderson.

Ms Henderson said the project would see MLA work with 18 project partners. The funding is made up of $6 million from the federal government and $8 million in cash and in kind support from the project partners.

The programme, in collaboration with QUT, brings together key stakeholders from across Australia’s animal industry supply chains with technology, research and development providers to deliver advanced technologies to convert wastes into fertilisers, feeds, chemicals, and energy products – turning wastes to profits.

"MLA will develop technologies and business models with the potential to help processors, like ALC here in Colac, to convert wastes from the red meat, dairy and pork industries into fertilizers, chemicals, energy and other valuable products," Minister Joyce said.

The Rural R&D for Profit program funds projects that address the government's rural RD&E priorities: advanced technology, biosecurity, managing natural resources, as well as promoting industry and on-farm adoption of R&D.