Wastewater research gets additional funding

Thursday, 02 August, 2007

Australian researchers at the Advanced Wastewater Management Centre will receive extra backing from the International Science Linkages fund for the development of a more efficient method of processing wastewater.

The researchers are working on a "fast sludge' process, which uses advanced biotechnology to produce an aerobic, granular sludge.

"Wastewater treatment plants based on novel aerobic granular sludge represent a potent innovative alternative, avoiding or minimising the drawbacks of the conventional floccular systems," said Prof Linda Blackall, linkages program leader.

The fast sludge method is claimed to increase process throughput and eliminate the dewatering stage of wastewater treatment. Blackall says the fast sludge has superior organic carbon conversion capabilities and that the new system produces 50% less sludge overall.

"The aerobic granular process occupies only a quarter of the space of conventional plants, and energy consumption is reduced by a third, due to lower water pumping requirements and more efficient utilisation of provided dissolved oxygen," said Blackall.

The boost from the Department of Education, Science and Training will allow researchers to collaborate with scientists at the Istituto di Ricerca Sulle Acque in Rome and the Technical University Delft (TUD) in the Netherlands.

"The opportunity to link with the EU collaborators on this project provides tremendous impetus and capacity for us to quickly become international leaders in this field," said Blackall.

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