Sustainability Matters Feb/Mar 2016

Page 1

2 Sustainability Matters - Feb/Mar 2016



10 Case Studies 29 R&D 33 Products & services 41 Resource centre

6 Untapped opportunity for energy

Lifting energy productivity could be the ‘missing link’ in enabling us to meet our carbon reduction targets.


8 Making existing systems even better

Re-examining what can be done with efficiency technologies.

16 The state of origin of waste A tale of two states — NSW vs Qld.

20 Urban development 20

24 Water: for liveable communities and sustainable industries Ozwater’16

36 Source separation — an opportunity for waste companies The Australian Government’s Emission Reduction Fund (ERF) discussed.

42 Fair trade, not ‘aid’

Impacts and benefits of fair trade on producers and consumers.

Greener, cooler cities; the city of carbon neutrality; and water’s contribution to Australia’s innovation boom.

23 Advancing resource recovery — new wastewater report An investor’s perspective to recovering resources from wastewater.


Westwick-Farrow Media is committed to using environmentally responsible print services to produce our publications. PAPER This edition is printed on recycled paper (FSC Mixed Sources Certified) from an elemental chlorine free process. PRINT It is printed by SOS Print+Media Group (ISO12647-2, FSC COC and PEFC certified), using soy-based inks and CTP plate processing. WRAPPER It is delivered in a totally degradable plastic wrapper.

Cover image: © radoma/Dollar Photo Club

READ ONLINE! This issue is available to read and download

Feb/Mar 2016 - Sustainability Matters 3


EDITOR While the renewable energy industry in Australia has faced some uncertainty in the past, the worldwide shift to renewables appears to be unstoppable, so the new year is looking a lot brighter for this industry. There are many economic opportunities and environmental benefits associated with developing and shifting to renewable technologies. In fact, a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) claims that a 36% share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030 would increase global gross domestic product (GDP) by up to 1.1%, or $1.89 trillion. According to IRENA DirectorGeneral Adnan Z Amin, “Achieving the needed energy transition would not only mitigate climate change, but also stimulate the economy, improve human welfare and boost employment worldwide.� Late last year, Adelaide announced a goal to make the city carbon neutral by 2025 (details page 10) with a large part of its plan related to greening the electricity supply. While in Victoria, the government unveiled its Renewable Energy Roadmap, which has set a renewable energy target of no less than 20% by 2020. The roadmap outlines a set of initiatives aimed at accelerating the development of renewable energy projects in Victoria. The government also launched an initiative to source renewable energy certificates from new projects in Victoria, bringing forward around $200 million of new investment in renewables. In this issue, we talk to Chris Dunstan (page 6) from the University of Technology, Sydney about the untapped opportunities with energy productivity for industry and Dr Paul Bannister from Energy Action (page 8) about energy-savings potential in the buildings sector. Carolyn Jackson

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4 Sustainability Matters - Feb/Mar 2016

Feb/Mar 2016 - Sustainability Matters 5

Untapped opportunity for energy productivity

Lifting energy productivity is the ‘missing link’ in enabling us to meet our carbon reduction targets and reconciling emission cuts with strong economic growth, said Chris Dunstan*, Research Director of Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF). The ISF of the University of Technology Sydney, together with the Australian Alliance to Save Energy (A2SE), is hosting the upcoming Australian Summer Study on Energy Productivity (Summer Study). In this article, Chris shares his opinions about the latest trends and initiatives


in terms of energy productivity for industry.

6 Sustainability Matters - Feb/Mar 2016

Energy productivity also has a role to play with the unstoppable shift to renewables in Australia.


lthough Australia has a strong

in energy productivity; for example, 3D

price conditions. This is where the likes of

track record on the interna-

printing, which can reduce waste and lead

Google, Apple and Samsung are all wanting

tional stage with recognised

to material efficiency improvements as well.

to get into this energy management space.

leadership in some aspects

There is also potential for other technolo-

This is likely going to be huge at not only

of energy efficiency (such as

gies that are not new but have been slow to

the residential level, but also in business

phasing out incandescent lighting, NABERS

pick up in Australia, such as cogeneration

energy use.

ratings and programs such as the Energy

and variable speed drives. Recent increases

In order to encourage energy productiv-

Efficiency Opportunities (EEO) program),

in electricity and gas prices have scared

ity in industry, it’s a process of cultivating

we’ve got a long way to go to put Australia

a lot of people and volatility in energy

good practice around energy, and this can

in the forefront of energy productivity from

prices is likely to continue. These types

spin off into other areas. If you’re more

an international comparison.

of energy-efficient technology can not only

conscious about energy consumption, then

The EEO program has been excellent

provide more productive use of energy but

that is often associated with more efficient

in driving cultural change and energy pro-

also insulate businesses from gyration in

material use. Industries that have a focus

ductivity across a range of industries and

energy prices.

on using energy efficiently can not only

business, particularly larger businesses.

Energy productivity also has a role to

contribute directly to the bottom line, but

But now that program has ended, there is

play with the unstoppable shift to renewa-

also indirectly through better material and

scope to reinvigorate this space and tap

bles in Australia. In this context, technology

labour efficiency, and that can also lead to

into further potential for improving energy

can be used to not only reduce the overall

productivity improvement.

management and lifting energy productivity

amount of energy used, but also improve

in Australia. By improving energy productiv-

the way in which it is used by introducing

The Summer Study, hosted by the Institute

ity on a residential and industrial level, we

smarter controls that manage energy use

for Sustainable Futures (ISF) of the University

can not only increase the value of every unit

and time of use. There is also the whole

of Technology Sydney and the Australian

of energy used but also boost the economy

storage revolution to consider, which is in

Alliance to Save Energy (A2SE), will take

and create jobs along the way.

part driven by the growth in renewables.

place at the Novotel Hotel Manly Beach, from

ISF has been working with the Austral-

In order to facilitate storage we are going

24–26 February. The four themes which will

ian Alliance to Save Energy (A2SE) on its

to have to have cost-reflective pricing, and

be covered at the study include: markets and

2xEP-2030 initiative, which plans to double

with a variable energy supply such as re-

regulation, sectoral energy productivity, com-

Australia’s energy productivity by 2030.

newables, cost-reflective pricing becomes

munities and communication, and technology

Working together with government and a

even more important in order to facilitate

and innovation. Sessions included under secto-

range of industry partners, the initiative plans

and encourage smarter energy management.

ral energy productivity will include the mining

to release ‘roadmaps’ with a clear direction

The third dimension around energy

and resources sector, building and construction,

for rapid improvement in Australia’s energy

productivity is using information technology

transport (passenger and freight), food and

productivity early this year.

(IT) for more responsive, predictive and

agriculture and urban design. For further information, visit

When it comes to future trends within

self-learning processes around the time

industry, there are some major disruptive

and energy use; for example, having algo-

technologies coming down the track that

rithms and software that help manage the

could lead to some significant improvements

load and respond to different demand and

Chris Dunstan is a Research Director at the Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF), University of Technology Sydney. Since joining ISF in 2006, Chris’ research has focused on climate change policy and the electricity sector. He has led the development of the Australian Decentralised Energy Roadmap, the NEM Report Card and Network Opportunity Maps. Chris has previously played a key role in developing the NSW Greenhouse Gas Abatement Scheme — the world’s first Carbon Emissions Trading Scheme and Energy Efficiency Trading Scheme. He was also instrumental in developing Australia’s first Demand Management Code of Practice for Electricity Networks and the NSW Government’s $200 million Climate Change Fund.

Feb/Mar 2016 - Sustainability Matters 7

The energy-savings potential in the buildings sector (both commercial and residential) is said to be massive. A 29% reduction in projected building energy consumption could be achieved globally by 2050 with the wide deployment of best available technologies and efficiency policies — according to a 2015 IEA report titled ‘Building Energy Performance Metrics’*.


Making existing systems even better

hile buildings currently use an estimated one-third of the world’s energy, there has been some significant progress in Australia to make buildings more

energy, waste and water efficient. The establishment of the NABERS rating scheme some 15 years ago and other rating schemes has helped with this transition, particularly in the office building sector. Energy Action Director of Projects & Advisory Services Dr Paul Bannister played a key role in the development of Australia’s NABERS Energy and Water rating systems and has published more than 80 papers on energy efficiency-related issues. He says the previously coveted NABERS 4 star rating now seems passé, with 5 star ratings being achieved with some technologically quite ordinary buildings. However, even for the seemingly efficient buildings, further savings are still possible with a minimal capital spend using the latest in efficiency technology. “We are constantly re-examining our expectation on what can be done with efficiency technologies,” Bannister said. In his recent paper titled ‘What simulation can tell us about building tuning’ (which won the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Airconditioning and Heating (AIRAH) W.R. Ahern award recognising the best technical paper by an AIRAH member published in the preceding year), he looks at how recent advances in building simulation models can help determine the effectiveness of HVAC energy-saving strategies. “One of the critical things that has really driven energy efficiency in the commercial building sector has been this sort of discovery path on how to make existing technology

8 Sustainability Matters - Feb/Mar 2016

energy efficiency Even though the technology used was not the best available, it resulted in an over 50% reduction in energy consumption.

work better rather than necessarily spending

Efficiency Council (EEC) in November 2014,

large amounts on new technology.”

and his involvement in the improvement of

Bannister says these building simulation

the 87 Marsden Street office building in Par-

advances have the most benefit where large

ramatta received the 2013 Best Commercial

HVAC systems are used, because the opti-

Building Energy Efficiency Project.

mum set-up may not be absolutely clear in

When it comes to 2nd-tier commercial

these larger technologically complex systems.

building, “all too commonly, buildings of these

Over the past 5–6 years, the commercial

type have original equipment that is inefficient

building sector has improved its efficiency

with rudimentary control systems. Some have

by about 30–40% — half through control

not undergone updates for energy-efficiency

optimisation and the other half through tech-

savings due to perceived cost constraints.”

nology. “[Simulation] is the one way we can

Bannister describes the Parramatta build-

test and identify new methods of improving

ing upgrade as an interesting project because

the performance in the commercial building

the fundamental technology of the building

sector,” Bannister said.

was not changed. Due to budgetary and tech-

For example, in Australia, we tend to

nological constraints, the upgrade didn’t focus

optimise our buildings for cooling and

on a capital- and new technology-intensive

overestimate how much time of the year

recipe, but rather careful design and com-

the building is actually cooling. “Australian

missioning to replace the end-of-life HVAC

buildings often perform very badly in heating

equipment. Even though the technology used

mode and that’s because we design them

was not the best available, it resulted in an

for cooling.” But Bannister’s paper results

over 50% reduction in energy consumption.

indicate that in some climates within Aus-

Less than 12 months after completion, the

tralia, the building is spending more time in

building went from a 1.28 star rating to be-

heating than cooling.

ing officially certified to be performing at the 4.5 NABERS Energy (Base Building) rating.

©šan Janković

2nd-tier challenges

Even though so many commercial buildings

Predictions for the year ahead

have already been improved in Australia,

Commenting on LED, Bannister says the

Bannister says there is the ever-decreasing

technology is moving so fast it is almost hard

unimproved section of the market which has

to recommend when to get in. But there are

open to it all of the technological improve-

some tricks around this as there are “one or

ments that have swept through the market

more standards for interchangeability for the

in the last 15 years. These range from

LED light sources. Unlike an ordinary lamp,

upgrading chillers and HVAC, implementing

[with LEDs] you can replace the light source

control systems, tidying up some areas of

rather than the whole lamp. We haven’t yet

air distribution, changing to LEDs for light-

seen upgrading the light source, but that’s

ing and moving from fixed to variable air

probably going to happen in the next two

volume (VAV).

years.” Bannister predicts in the year ahead

“If you halve the air volume coming out

that we will see more and more on-site

of a fan, you reduce the energy consump-

solar PV renewables as this is “definitely

tion anywhere from 75–85%, so even minor

an advancing trend”.

adjustment [in VAV] can be very profitable,” Bannister said. Dr Bannister was also recognised as an Energy Efficiency Champion by the Energy

“The thing that makes solar so effective on buildings is that it is very low maintenance, and to a large extent, you plug it in and it works.”

Feb/Mar 2016 - Sustainability Matters 9

energy efficiency

Whereas, wind power, he says, has

is an in-use rating and very few countries

moving parts, which involves maintenance,

around the world have anything equivalent.”

and the environment around most buildings

What Bannister would most like to see

is too turbulent and unpredictable for it to

for the future in Australia is the lessons

work effectively. He also predicts that co-

learnt with HVAC in the upper end of the

generation and trigeneration are not going

commercial building sector make their way

to advance much, except in Victoria, largely

into the rest of the sector. We have identified

a lot more attractive to improve the ‘front

due to gas prices.

it is possible to make up to 50% energy-

of house’ rather than to improve ‘back of

efficiency improvements with HVAC, but that

house’ efficiency.

Dr Paul Bannister

The future

hasn’t extended outside the NABERS-based

“There has been a massive upskilling to

Recently engaged by the Better Buildings

office building domain. He says we don’t see

the [air-conditioning] industry over the last

Partnership in the United Kingdom, Bannister

the same transformation happening in hotels,

5–10 years, so I’d like to think that that is

is setting off for London soon to develop

shopping centres and at the institutional level,

going to lead to [HVAC] energy efficiency in

a scheme to guarantee the in-use energy

such as hospitals.

more than just the office sector, but I may

performance of new offices, based on Aus-

“With the office building sector it became

tralia’s NABERS rating scheme. “One of the

just as attractive to improve the efficiency of

things that has characterised the Australian

the building as it was to improve the look of

industry is the use of NABERS because it

the foyer. Whereas for most hotels it is still

be dreaming!” *International Energy Agency report — publication/BuildingEnergyPerformanceMetrics.pdf

Nanostructures enable smart windows Researchers have created a new type of smart window that could

room to less than 5% — compared with the 20–30% achieved

cut window-cleaning costs, reduce heating bills and boost worker

by other prototype vanadium dioxide-coated, energy-saving

productivity. Developed by University College London (UCL) with

windows — with this reduction in ‘glare’ providing a big boost

support from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research

to occupant comfort.

Council (EPSRC), the window utilises pyramid-like nanostructures

Windows made of the glass could be especially well suited

engraved onto glass and combined with a thermochromic coating.

to high-rise office buildings. As noted by Dr Papakonstantinou,

The window is ultraresistant to water, so rain hitting the

“Because of the obvious difficulties involved, the cost of cleaning

outside forms spherical droplets that roll easily over the surface

a skyscraper’s windows in its first five years is the same as

— picking up dirt, dust and other

the original cost of installing them.

contaminants and carrying them

Our glass could drastically cut this

away. This is due to the pencil-like,

expenditure, quite apart from the

conical design of nanostructures

appeal of lower energy bills and

engraved onto the glass, trapping air

improved occupant productivity thanks

and ensuring only a tiny amount of

to less glare.”

water comes into contact with the

Discussions are now underway

surface. This is different from normal

with UK glass manufacturers with

glass, where raindrops cling to the

a view to driving this new window

surface, slide down more slowly and

concept towards commercialisation.

leave marks behind.

The key is to develop ways of scaling

The glass is coated with a very thin (5–10 nm) film of vanadium dioxide, a cheap and abundant material. During cold periods, the window

up the nanomanufacturing methods A smart glass prototype developed by the UCL team. The dark areas are decorated with the nanostructures which significantly suppress reflections and repel water. Image courtesy of Alaric Taylor, UCL.

will stop thermal radiation escaping

that the team has developed to produce the glass, as well as scaling up the vanadium dioxide coating process. “We also hope to develop a smart

and so prevent heat loss; during hot periods, it will prevent

film that incorporates our nanostructures and can easily be added

infrared radiation from the sun entering the building. The UCL

to conventional domestic, office, factory and other windows on a

team calculates that this could result in a reduction in heating

DIY basis to deliver the triple benefit of lower energy use, less

bills of up to 40%.

light reflection and self-cleaning, without significantly affecting

Finally, the design of the nanostructures also gives the

aesthetics,” Dr Papakonstantinou said.

windows the same antireflective properties found in the eyes

Smart windows could begin to reach the market within

of moths and other creatures that have evolved to hide from

around 3–5 years, depending on the team’s success in securing

predators. It cuts the amount of light reflected internally in a

industrial interest.

10 Sustainability Matters - Feb/Mar 2016

Water: For Liveable Water: for liveable and Communities communities and Sustainable Industries sustainable industries

10-12 May 2016 Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre

Australia’s international water conference & exhibition

EarLy-bIrd rEgIStratIOnS CLOSE 31 MarCh! Some of Ozwater’16 keynotes include:

Ozwater’16 will feature workshops on:

• K erry Bodine – Co-author of Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Centre of Your Business

• T ransitioning to a water sensitive city – part 1 and 2 - CRC for Water Sensitive Cities

• P rofessor John Thwaites – Chair of ClimateWorks, Chairman of Melbourne Water

• V alidating Water Treatment in Integrated Water Management: Introducing ‘Waterval’ - Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence

• A ndrew Geczy – CEO, International and Institutional Banking, ANZ

Ozwater’16 will showcase the latest in:

• • • • • • •


ur ater owledge

iveable and Sustainable Cities of the Future L Operations and Asset Management Governance, Regulation and Structure Customers and Community Contemporary Management Water for Rural, Remote and Regional Communities Sustainable Industries FOSTER



• F uture water infrastructure investment – where will the money come from? - Aither Pty Ltd • E nhancing Business Outcomes though education – Australian Water Association, Water Education Specialist Network…and more


international and extend renowned the exhibition For a detailed program and to register visit business your keynote of water products opportunities networks speakers and services


Feb/Mar 2016 - Sustainability Matters 11

Water pipes crawl with millions of bacteria Researchers from Lund University in Sweden have discovered that

previously thought. Among other things, the researchers suspect

drinking water is to a large extent purified by millions of ‘good’

that a large part of water purification takes place in the pipes and

bacteria found in water pipes and purification plants. So far, the

not only in water purification plants.

knowledge about them has been practically non-existent, but this new research is about to change that.

“A previously completely unknown ecosystem has revealed itself to us. Formerly, you could hardly see any bacteria at all, and

A glass of clean drinking water actually contains 10 million

now, thanks to techniques such as massive DNA sequencing and

bacteria! But that is as it should be — clean tap water always

flow cytometry, we suddenly see 80,000 bacteria per millilitre in

contains harmless bacteria. These bacteria and other microbes

drinking water,” researcher Catherine Paul enthusiastically said.

grow in the drinking water treatment plant and on the inside of

“From having been in the dark with a flashlight, we are now in a

our water pipes, which can be seen in the form of a thin, sticky

brightly lit room, but it is only one room. How many different rooms

coating — a so-called biofilm. All surfaces from the raw water

are in the house is also an interesting question!” she continued.

intake to the tap are covered in this biofilm.

The work of doctoral student Katharina Lührig, who works

Findings by researchers in Applied Microbiology and Water

together with Paul; professors Peter Rådström and Kenneth Persson;

Resources Engineering show that the diversity of species of bacteria

and colleagues Björn Canbäck and Tomas Johansson has been

in water pipes is huge, and that bacteria may play a larger role than

published in Microbes and Environments.

©Mikkel Bigandt/Dollar Photo Club

about the role of biofilms in drinking water.

The results have led to lively discussions within the industry At least a couple of thousand different species live in the water pipes. According to the researchers there is a connection between the composition of bacteria and water quality. “We suspect there are good bacteria that help purify the water and keep it safe — similar to what happens in our bodies. Our intestines are full of bacteria, and most the time when we are healthy, they help us digest our food and fight illness,” Paul said. Although the research was conducted in southern Sweden, bacteria and biofilms are found all over the world — in plumbing, taps and water pipes. This knowledge will be very useful for countries when updating and improving their water pipe systems. “The hope is that we eventually may be able to control the composition and quality of water in the water supply to steer the growth of good bacteria that can help purify the water even more efficiently than today,” Paul said.

Hornsdale Wind Farm wins another 100 MW South Australia’s Hornsdale Wind Farm,

saw companies detail how they could generate

through the newly established Investment

developed by French renewables company

the greatest amount of renewable energy

Attraction Agency. The agency oversees a $15

Neoen in partnership with Megawatt Capital

at the least price. This was followed by an

million investment fund which is available to

Investments, will deliver at least 200 MW

additional 100 MW from a second reverse

companies looking to expand their operations

in power to the Australian Capital Territory.

auction later in the year.

or to establish a presence in South Australia.

South Australian Minister for Investment

“Hornsdale has been able to achieve

and Trade Martin Hamilton-Smith said the

Australia’s lowest known contract price for

state government last year gave the go-

renewables at $77/MWh,” said Hamilton-Smith.

ahead for the 270 MW wind farm, which

“Having 200 of the 270 MW now allocated

will create up to 250 construction jobs

means that construction jobs will be secured

and 10 operational jobs. He said, “Neoen

for the next three years over stages 1 and 2

expects the Hornsdale project to provide

of the wind farm build, which is great news

enough power for 56,000 Canberra homes

for the Mid North region.

and provide 13% of the Australian Capital

“Construction is currently underway on

Territory’s projected electricity demand

Stage 1, with commissioning expected to occur

in 2020.”

sometime in 2017.”

The farm was awarded a contract to

Hamilton-Smith said the state government

deliver 100 MW in February 2015, under

continues to provide case management support

an ACT Government reverse auction which

for Neoen’s investments in South Australia

12 Sustainability Matters - Feb/Mar 2016

Foundation inspection at the site of the Hornsdale Wind Farm.

Renewable Cities Australia is a two-day forum for local government and industry to showcase and share the plans, achievements and challenges of Australian cities moving to renewable and innovative energy systems for electricity and public transport. The forum will be co-located with the successful Australian Energy Storage Exhibition and will enable delegates to view emerging technologies and low carbon transport options that will change the energy landscape of Australian cities. THE INAUGURAL RENEWABLE CITIES AUSTRALIA, WILL BE HELD IN SYDNEY BETWEEN 1 & 2 JUNE 2016 AT AUSTRALIAN TECHNOLOGY PARK.


Industrial by-products clean up mercury pollution Flinders University researcher Dr Justin Chalker has led the

limonene. This makes the polymer affordable for use in large-scale

development of a new, cheap, non-toxic polymer that literally sucks

environmental clean-ups.

mercury out of water and soil. The polymer is expected to have a

“More than 70 million tonnes of sulfur is produced each year by

big impact on both environmental and human health, as mercury

the petroleum industry, so there are literally mountains of it lying

exposure can damage the central nervous system and is particularly

unused around the globe, while more than 70,000 tonne of limonene

dangerous to pregnant women and children.

is produced each year by the citrus industry,” he said.

Sulfur-limonene polysulfide (SLP) is manufactured from sulfur

“So not only is this new polymer good for solving the problem

— a by-product of the crude oil industry — and limonene, which

of mercury pollution, but it also has the added environmental bonus

is found in orange peel and is an unused waste material from the

of putting this waste material to good use while converting it into

citrus industry. Dr Chalker explained, “We melt the sulfur and add

a form that is much easier to store so that once the material is

limonene to it, and then can coat devices or make it into any shape

‘full’, it can easily be removed and replaced.”

we like.” Both components are readily and cheaply available, Dr

By lining storage containers with SLP, Dr Chalker and his

Chalker added, due to the global abundance of waste sulfur and

colleagues have successfully removed mercury from rivers, ponds and soil. The material can transform water from toxic to nearly drinkable, with concentrations of mercury reduced 1000-fold — from several parts per million down to several parts per billion. The dark red material, which looks like rubber, turns bright yellow when it absorbs mercury. Not only does this indicate that the SLP is saturated and “needs to be changed”, said Dr Chalker, but it also means it can be used as a mercury detector in areas where pollution is suspected. After contact with SLP, the mercury remains permanently bound and can be stored safely without further environmental risk. Dr Chalker explained, “The mercury forms nano- and micro-particles that are embedded in the polymer and don’t get washed off even with flowing water.” Dr Chalker’s research, which included contributions by Flinders University colleagues as well as The University of Tulsa, the Institute

Top right: A block of the sulfur-limonene polysulfide: a polymer synthesised entirely from industrial by-products. Image credit: Flinders University. L-R: Max Worthington and Dr Justin Chalker. Image credit: Flinders University.

of Molecular Medicine at the University of Lisbon and the University of Cambridge, has been published in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

Nanosheet material absorbs oil like a sponge Materials scientists from Deakin University

work has been published in the journal Nature

have manufactured a material, called a boron


Professor Chen’s co-lead author, IFM scientist Dr Weiwei Lei, said turning the powder

nitride nanosheet, that can absorb up to 33

According to Alfred Deakin Professor Ying

into a sponge was a big challenge. The team

times its weight in oils and organic solvents.

(Ian) Chen, the lead author on the paper, the

started with boron nitride powder known as

The material, which literally absorbs the

material is the most exciting advancement

‘white graphite’ and broke it into atomically

oil like a sponge, is the result of support

in oil spill clean-up technology in decades.

thin sheets that were used to make a sponge.

from the Australian Research Council and

“Current methods of cleaning up oil spills are

“The groundbreaking material is called a

is now ready to be tested by industry

inefficient and unsophisticated, taking too long,

boron nitride nanosheet, which is made up of

after two years of refinement at Deakin’s

causing ongoing and expensive damage, which

flakes which are just several nanometres in

Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM). The

is why the development of our technology

thickness with tiny holes which can increase

was supported by the Australian Research

its surface area per gram to effectively the

Council,” he said.

size of 5.5 tennis courts,” Dr Lei said.

SEM image of boron nitride aerogel with a density of 20 mg cm-3.

14 Sustainability Matters - Feb/Mar 2016

Professor Chen explained that in 2013, when

“The pores in the nanosheet provide the

the first stage of the material was developed,

surface area to absorb oils and organic solvents

it was in a powder form. “This powder had

up to 33 times its own weight.”

absorption capabilities, but you cannot simply

The Australians cooperated with US

throw powder onto oil — you need to be able

researchers from Drexel University and Missouri

to bind that powder into a sponge so that we

University of Science and Technology in the

can soak the oil up, and also separate it from

development of the nanosheets.

water,” he noted.


Barley straw shows potential as transport biofuel raw material The hemicellulose sugars of barley straw can be effectively fermented into biobutanol when starch is added during the pretreatment or fermentation process, according to a study from the University of Eastern Finland. Seeking to find alternatives to ethanol as a fuel, the study established optimal pretreatment conditions for turning straw lignocellulose and barley starch into fermentable sugars that can be used in the production of biobutanol. The hemicellulose sugars of barley straw (eg, xylose) released during pretreatment can be effectively fermented into biobutanol when starch is added to the fermentation broth. The study found that the cooperation of xylanase and surfactants with cellulase during the hydrolysis of straw significantly increased the efficiency of cellulose utilisation in butanol fermentation. Moreover, the pretreatment liquor of fresh barley silage was efficiently used for butanol fermentation, indicating the feasibility of green field biomass preservation via a silage technique in biorefining processes.

Š Chidsey

At present, sugar- or starch-based biomass (sugarcane molasses, corn and wheat) are the main feedstocks for butanol

In recent years, climate change has attracted widespread

production. The climatic and social sustainability of large-scale

interest in biorefining and, in particular, the transport of biofuels

fuel production from these raw materials is under wide-ranging

production. Butanol as a competitive renewable biofuel is

debate. The possible solution for obtaining enough fermentable

superior to ethanol in many aspects, with higher energy density,

substrates is the efficient utilisation of the plentiful lignocellulosic

lower volatility and hygroscopicity and less corrosion to existing

biomass available on Earth. Barley has been regarded as a good

infrastructure. Importantly, it can be directly used in automobile

supplement to corn biofuel production, as well as a replacement

Projekt2 12:02 Seite 1 engines07.01.16 without modification.

for the production of biofuels.

Feb/Mar 2016 - Sustainability Matters 15


The state of origin of waste NSW vs Qld Mike Ritchie, Director, MRA Consulting Group

Vo l u n t a r y a c t i o n by eve r y individual helps to grow recycling rates. Whether it’s an extra milk bottle in the recycling bin or installing a home composting system, it all contributes. Australia leads the world in household recycling rates.


n the business sector, most

businesses limit their recycling to cardboard,

of the economically viable

plastic and metal, which are revenue raisers

streams are already being

or at least cost neutral.

recycled. Cardboard, paper,

There is now enough data to show that

metals and plastic streams

when landfill prices rise (notably via levies

have sufficient commodity

but not exclusively), there is an increase in

value to justify collection and reprocessing.

resource recovery rates. Higher landfill prices

But for many waste streams, the inherent

provide the economic impetus for waste ser-

commodity value is just too low to justify the

vice providers (WSPs) to invest in resource

costs of recovery. In these cases, the price

recovery equipment, for governments to initiate

differential to landfill is the key driver of pri-

infrastructure grants and consumer education

vate sector investment and council decisions

programs, and for businesses to prioritise

to increase resource recovery.

recycling over landfill.

Landfill price and levies

Australia and the ACT all have landfill levies

As a country of 23 million people, we produce

($133, $58, $57, $55 and estimated $60/t

over 53 million tonnes of waste annually. 52%

respectively for metro putrescible waste) and

is recycled. Most state governments aspire to

grants schemes supported by the levies (to

do better and achieve 80% recovery or higher.

varying degrees). All are growing their recy-

Governments really only have three levers

cling rates and have generally set ambitious

for waste reform: regulatory (eg, enforcement,

targets for recycling of 70–80% by 2020 or

bans, producer responsibility, etc), pricing (eg,


NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Western

16 Sustainability Matters - Feb/Mar 2016

levies and grants) and education. However,

Tasmania has a voluntary levy of $2.50 and

education’s effectiveness is limited when it

is now considering a state-based levy of $10/t.

runs counter to market price signals.

The ACT has a levy imbedded (in the Mugga

Not many companies will recycle when it

Lane landfill gate fee) of an estimated $60/t.

is cheaper to landfill, no matter how much

Only Queensland and the Northern Territory

we try to ‘educate’ them. That is why most

have no levy (the Northern Territory only has

waste management

a few small landfills and has recently estab-

to minimise their waste and what options were

result of the $0 landfill levy in Queensland com-

lished the second container deposit scheme in

available for recycling,” said the owner and

bined with a very competitive landfill market.

Australia, after South Australia). That leaves

director of Polystyrene Recycling Queensland,


Leo Sines. “The day the levy was removed,

Getting the politics to work

the phones stopped ringing.”

The data clearly indicate that using landfill

A tale of two states NSW The NSW Government’s Waste Less, Recycle More (WLRM) $467 million grants program for recycling is the largest in Australian history. It is 100% funded through the NSW landfill levy ($133.10/t in metro and $76.70/t

levies as a price signal and a source of fund-

State of origin of waste

ing for resource recovery works. It is not the

With the significantly cheaper option of

only mechanism, but in the absence of a price

landfilling in Queensland, carting waste from

signal, most other efforts are less effective.

Sydney to Brisbane landfills suddenly became

The waste industry is ready to invest in

commercially viable. In 2014, 20,000 truck

new infrastructure and technologies (AWT,

movements ploughed along the Pacific Highway

organics recovery, etc) and jobs, but only when

in the regional regulated area). That equates to an average 20% hypothecation rate. (Of course, an argument can be made for higher or continuing hypothecation, but WLRM is a pretty persuasive step forward.) In its report card, the NSW EPA tells us that as of June this year, $210.3 million has been distributed to 447 projects, creating 609 jobs and enabling the processing of more than 1.6 million tonnes of waste that would otherwise have been sent to landfill. The NSW Government is pouring millions of dollars (over $200m) into new infrastructure to process organics and divert waste from landfill. Both private operators and local councils are the beneficiaries.


Comparison of recycling rates and levies between NSW and Queensland.

On the flip side, landfill disposal in South East Queensland is unbelievably cheap at $30/t,

from Sydney to Brisbane and back, carting

it can make a commercial return. The new

as a result of there being no levy and strong

some 400,000 tonnes of waste to tip in South

Queensland Government has said there will be

market competition amongst landfills.

East Queensland. (It is rumoured that some

no levy (on household waste) in this term of

There is an interesting contrast in the

Victorian waste is also heading to Queens-

government. Local government, business and

historic relationship between recycling rates

land.) The NSW Government implemented the

the recycling industry need to bind together

and landfill levy costs in NSW and Queensland.

‘proximity rule’ in part to limit waste heading

and, in partnership, provide the Queensland

In short, NSW has progressively grown its

north, but while truck movements have slowed,

Government the political capital they need to

recovery rate whereas Queensland has flatlined.

a lot of waste is still going by rail (which is

review that decision. The government needs

not covered by the rule).

community- and industry-based support for

NSW has created a virtuous cycle of landfill levy funding being hypothecated to new recy-

Importantly, that is 400,000 tonnes per year

cling services and infrastructure. Total waste

of material that NSW recyclers cannot access.

By the way, a $50/t levy on all waste is

to landfill is now trending downward in NSW.

It adds very little to the Queensland economy

equivalent to $1 per week per household. It is

The reverse is true in Queensland.

and rapidly reduces South East Queensland

only charged on waste that is landfilled. The

landfill capacity.

private sector pays as well when it landfills

Note that when the Queensland Govern-


ment did introduce its $35/t waste levy (on

To be clear, the public policy problem lies

waste. The impact on business is small.

commercial waste only) in 2013, there was an

with the removal of the Queensland levy. The

Councils will actually gain revenue from a

immediate spike in recycling. But 18 months

problem does not lie with waste transporters

hypothecated levy to put towards waste and

later, after the removal of the levy, recycling

who arbitrage the policy vacuum. The Queens-

other services. Importantly, the recycling in-

rates crashed by 15% overnight and have not

land Government needs to reintroduce a pricing

dustry gets the price signal it needs to invest

moved since.

signal (or regulations) to encourage recycling.

and create jobs. Waste flows from NSW and

“When the levy was introduced, the phones

No-one can seriously argue that moving

ran off the hook with enquiries from businesses

400,000 tonnes of waste over 1000 km is a

MRA Consulting Group

on how to divert their waste from landfill, how

sensible public policy outcome. It is a direct

Victoria will cease. Win, win, win.

Feb/Mar 2016 - Sustainability Matters 17

Powercaps provide the best of two energy worlds The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

VARTA managed to derive the new

has developed Powercaps — energy storage

Powercaps from lithium-ion batteries, albeit

systems that combine the advantages of

with an aqueous electrolyte system. This

batteries and supercapacitors. The systems

averts the danger of combustion, which

are a result of a project to develop the

until now was an important argument for

next generation of energy storage systems

barring conventional lithium-ion batteries

for industry, FastStorageBW II.

from many industrial sectors. In addition,

A battery can absorb a lot of energy

the electrochemical storage units are able

and save it for a long time, but it takes a

to effectively buffer peak loads in factories.

long time to charge, has a limited lifespan

“Quite often cables, transformers and

and withstands only a limited number of charge cycles. A capacitor, on the other

Image credit: Mohamed Elkadragy, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.

hand, absorbs energy quickly and is durable, but does not have the storage capacity and endurance of a battery. “The goal is to create a hybrid that combines the advantages

electronics are set for a peak load of, for example, 300 kW, although on average only 3 kW are needed,” said Dr Wollersheim.

“With the new Powercaps, the peak value can be limited to 10 kW, which enables tremendous cost savings.”

of batteries and capacitors,” said KIT’s Dr Olaf Wollersheim,

Powercaps can be applied in all areas where power demand

with the market potential of such a hybrid said to be enormous.

fluctuates. Potential uses include peak-load buffering in companies

“It already amounts to roughly half a billion euros, and in

with high power demand, uninterruptible power supply and frequency

four to six years it could reach two or three billion euros,” said

control in power grids. Two intralogistics companies that already

Edward Pytlik, who manages the R&D department at VARTA

contribute to FastStorageBW II will be the first to use the newly


developed prototypes.

Washdown facility to protect agricultural land A heavy-vehicle washdown facility has been opened in the

Engineering company Wiley was engaged to design and

regional town of Dalby, Queensland. The opening of the facility

construct the washdown facility in order to service the agricultural

marks a significant achievement for the Western Downs Regional

sector as well as coal seam gas (CSG) and mining vehicles.

Council in meeting the objectives of its Regional Biosecurity

The council valued Wiley’s collaborative approach, working

control program.

closely with all key stakeholders to ensure the requirements

The control program will minimise and control the spread

of all end users were served.

of weed seed, in particular Parthenium, throughout the region.

The facility includes truck and 4WD wash bays, washdown

This will enable the long-term protection of the agricultural land

effluent wastewater collection and screening, effluent wastewater

and a reduction of livestock manure and effluent spillage on the

treatment and sludge management. It is able to service all

region’s road networks.

vehicle types and is particularly suitable for large livestock vehicles. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and designed to handle peak use on Tuesdays due to the weekly cattle sale each Wednesday. “The Western Downs Regional Council should be commended for taking the initiative to provide a facility that will help control the spread of a serious threat to the local land and the livelihoods of the people who live and work in the region,” said Wiley’s business operations manager for regional Queensland, Michael Matthewson. “Council should also be congratulated for its commitment to delivering successful projects through stakeholder engagement and supporting the local subcontractors and suppliers wherever possible.” Wiley & Co Pty Ltd

18 Sustainability Matters - Feb/Mar 2016

Solar on a budget for aged care facility The regional city of Mildura describes itself as Victoria’s top solar location, with an average of 8.6 sunlight hours per day. So it is no wonder that when Chaffey Aged Care in Merbein was contemplating an upgrade to its energy supply, solar was high on the list. But as a not-for-profit organisation run by the local community, the budget at the 78-bed facility was tight. Local solar expert Lee & Golding had to devise an innovative scheme, as the savings alone didn’t allow for the installation. “Mildura is a hot climate and air conditioning is a must for many months of the year, so the solar installation had to take this energy usage into account and our initial plan had to provide for this,” said Josh Lee of Lee & Golding. The finished scheme comprised 384

“Clearly the anticipated energy saving

x 260 W Trina Solar Honey panels with

was the big motivator for us, but we are

4 x 25 kW SMA inverters. The system

also delighted with the environmental

produces 165,000 kW per annum — an

benefit that has been achieved.

estimated energy saving of around $40,000.

Lee added, “The other benefit of a

Chaffey Aged Care CEO Darren

solar scheme in an area of such high

Midgley said the system has a projected

sunlight is that as Mildura is such a long

energy efficiency of 87.3% and the

distance from the Latrobe Valley, where

energy savings will pay back the cost

the brown coal-derived power comes

of the solar system in 2.8 years.

from, the area suffers from an energy

“We’ll save a total of more than $1.2

transmission loss of 23.5%.

million over 25 years and an environmental

“Solar eliminates these losses as

saving of around 170,000 kg of CO2 gases

you only pay for what you bring through

Trina Solar

per year,” Midgley said.

the meter.”

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Feb/Mar 2016 - Sustainability Matters 19

URBAN DEVELOPMENT The City of Carbon Neutrality It appears that the City of Churches is looking to pull off a miracle, with Adelaide Lord Mayor Martin Haese speaking at COP21 about the goal to make his city carbon neutral by 2025. The plan was officially announced in April, when the South Australian

In July last year, the council launched a Sustainable Incentive Scheme

Government and Adelaide City Council jointly set the ambitious target of

offering financial incentives to residents and businesses looking to

achieving carbon neutrality in the next 10 years. Professional services

install solar energy storage batteries. The state government matched

firm pitt&sherry was engaged by the South Australian Government to

the council’s $150,000, bringing the total pool of funds to $300,000.

provide an initial assessment — and later a more detailed strategy paper — outlining the plan. Emissions reduction has been on the agenda for Adelaide for several years now, with the council reducing carbon emissions generated

“It was the first incentive in Australia for energy storage, and we just got bombarded with interest,” the council’s senior sustainability adviser, Adrian Stokes, said. “We opened up quite the Pandora’s box.”

by its office buildings, car parks, libraries, community centres and

In addition to this financial incentive, the South Australian Govern-

Central Market precinct by 60% since 2007. Almost 50% of the cuts

ment recently released new measures to stimulate economic growth

in the administration building were achieved through changing the

through the creation of green jobs. These included:

building’s lighting system to energy-efficient LED lights and upgrading old air-conditioning units. Between 2007 and 2013, the City of Adelaide reduced its carbon emissions by 19%, while gross regional product increased by more than $4 million. According to Haese, this is proof that “the whole argument that you can’t grow your economy without increasing your greenhouse gas emissions has been decoupled”. This city-wide reduction can be attributed to largely the greening of the electricity supply — including large-scale wind and solar projects, rooftop solar photovoltaics — and further energy-efficiency

• a new waste strategy to reduce the city’s landfill by diverting 70% of metropolitan household waste by 2020; • an expression of interest calling on low-carbon energy providers to service 100% of the government’s electricity usage; • an additional $300,000 funding for three projects, creating new jobs in the state’s waste and recycling sector; • an ongoing investigation into the opportunities to convert the government’s 4500-strong car fleet to zero-emission vehicles. According to Haese, the plan could be just what’s needed to improve Adelaide’s ranking as the fifth most livable city in the world.

improvements in new and existing commercial buildings. Not only is

“I just wonder when we are talking about investment, technology,

South Australia is blessed geographically with easy access to wind and

jobs, the environment, and just as important livability… I think pushing us

solar resources, but the City of Adelaide is also looking to capitalise

up that leaderboard and grabbing the status of the world’s first carbon

on renewable energy storage.

neutral city could be the thing upon which they all converge,” he said.

Greener, cooler cities The Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities (CRCWSC) has welcomed the federal government’s plan to make Australia’s cities greener and cooler. In a recent speech to the Sydney Business Chamber, Acting Cities

“We will also look at building rooftops with green cover which

Minister Greg Hunt acknowledged that Australia needs “sustainable,

improve both amenity and, as Singapore has shown, can improve

green cities with improved amenity for a more liveable environment”.

value and quality of life as well as operational efficiency.”

“Green cities — cities with high levels of trees, foliage and green spaces — provide enormous benefits to their residents,” Hunt said. “They can improve the quality of air in our cities by absorbing some types of airborne pollutants, reduce soil erosion, minimise water run-off and limit the amount of particulate matter entering our waterways; and increase urban amenity.”

CRCWSC urban climate researcher Professor Nigel Tapper, from Monash University, said there is strong evidence that a green, leafy park, tree-lined street or urban waterway could drop the local temperatures by several degrees. “This cooling is extremely important for reducing heat-related deaths, particularly during the very hot days of the year, which

Hunt noted that increasing the greenery in our cities would help

we’re seeing more often and for longer periods nowadays,” he said.

to decrease extreme heat, fighting the effects of heat-absorbing roads

Hunt added that further opportunities exist to improve in areas

and other surfaces as well as urban canyons trapping hot air. With this

such as urban water systems, stormwater, ocean outfall and en-

in mind, he said, “We will work with Australian cities to set decade-

ergy efficiency. The CRCWSC’s acting CEO, Professor Jurg Keller

by-decade goals out to 2050 for increased overall tree coverage.

from The University of Queensland, was keen to stress that water

20 Sustainability Matters - Feb/Mar 2016

Water’s contribution to Australia’s innovation boom Australia’s innovation boom will only be limited by our imagination — a notion that is true for the water sector as much as any other part of the economy. SMEs, utilities, consultants, engineers, entrepreneurs and start-ups from both within and outside the water sector have an enormous opportunity to ride the innovation wave and play a key role in securing the future of Australia’s most precious resource. The 2016 Water Innovation Forum and Expo will bring together innovators and financiers from around the country to explore new thinking and new possibilities, and share the latest developments in cutting-edge water technology. Whether you are a start-up looking to bring new water or wastewater products to market or Australia’s biggest utility wanting to showcase your latest technology to a targeted audience, the 2016 Water Innovation Forum and Expo is a good platform to share the spirit of innovation across industries and showcase best practice solutions that can be adopted in other sectors. The program has been designed to align with the Australian Government’s Industry Growth Centres Initiative — a program that aims to drive innovation, productivity and competitiveness by focusing on areas of strategic priority.

Features include: • One dynamic event — a new theatrette surrounded by the innovators’ display hubs. • 30 pitch sessions from organisations across the country, shared openly with exhibitors for maximum involvement.

This year’s forum and expo welcomes speakers from these

• Five focused streams aligned with the Industry Growth Centres

growth areas including oil and gas, health, food and agribusiness,

Initiative including manufacturing, food and agribusiness, health,

manufacturing and mining industries, as well as from Australia’s

mining equipment, technology and services, and oil, gas and

biggest utilities to explore water’s contribution to innovation in

energy resources.

these areas.

Speaker sessions include: • Urban water management and innovative urban design — Professor Tony Wong, CRC for Water Sensitive Cities; Paul Mulley,

could play a key role in making cities and towns more liveable. “Trees and green parks need water,” Professor Keller said. “They save energy, improve our comfort and foster a social and active lifestyle — so greening our cities is critically important for our wellbeing.” CRCWSC urban planning expert Professor Darryl Low Choy,

Sydney Water; Professor Stuart White, UTS; Daniel Lambert, Arup; Professor Zhiguo Yuan, The University of Queensland • Harvesting energy from water and wastewater — Timothy Nelson, AGL Energy and Ian Donal, Yarra Valley Water • Measuring and adapting to climate variability — Dr Suzanne Hollins, ANSTO and Ian Prosser, Bureau of Meteorology

from Griffith University, said it is important to incorporate water

• Transferring innovations to the world market — Grantly But-

into all facets of planning — from strategic regional and metro-

terfield, Australian Water Partnerships and Dr Paul Smith,

politan scale plans, through to district and suburban plans, right down to subdivisional and site-scale plans. “This enables cities to maximise the benefits of all sources of

Australian Water Association • Digital water management improving utilities efficiency — presented by WSAA

water, including stormwater, groundwater and new water supplies such as desalination and water recycling,” he said. “If water is added as an afterthought in the planning process, we miss major opportunities created by the integrated approach.” Professor Keller concluded by saying the CRCWSC is keen to work with the government on its efforts to create greener, healthier cities.

Details at a glance What: Water Innovation Forum and Expo When: 10–11 March 2016 Where: Royal Randwick, Sydney Web:

Feb/Mar 2016 - Sustainability Matters 21

Cheese company cuts energy costs DMK Deutsches Milchkontor is one

had saved about 100,000 kW/h,

of the largest dairy companies

reducing DMK’s energy costs by

in Germany, manufacturing 6.7

approximately 15,000. A major

million tonnes of dairy products

factor behind this was the vacuum

per year. The company conducts

control system: only the vacuum

its energy management according

pumps needed to meet current

to ISO 50001 standards, leading

demand are in operation.

to a reduction in its vacuum

Vacuum is supplied to the

system energy consumption with

facility by a pipework system

the introduction of a centralised

with three vacuum circuits: rough

vacuum system from Busch.

vacuum, medium vacuum and

One of DMK’s 28 sites

forming vacuum. A controller

is a production facility in

maintains the required vacuum



level in all three circuits, matching

mainly manufactures cheese in

the demand created by the

packaged portions. At the facility,

individual packaging lines. Vacuum

various types of sliced cheese

pumps are switched on or off as

are packaged in three packaging

required, maintaining the desired

lines by thermoforming machines.

pressure in the vacuum reservoirs.

Two additional thermoforming

The three packaging lines rarely

machines package mozzarella in

require maximum pumping speed

2.5 and 10 kg blocks for further

simultaneously. The centralised vacuum system

processing by customers. All


is located in an intermediate


machines originally had two

The Busch centralised vacuum system at DMK in Georgsmarienhütte.

floor above the production and

vacuum pumps each: one to form the foil into the mould and

packaging areas. The relocation of vacuum pumps installed directly

one to extract air from the packaging chamber. DMK Energy

to the packaging machines prevents emitted heat from reaching

Manager Yvonne Gödeker wished to reduce the number of

the packaging machines and production area, and no warm air

vacuum pumps and relocate them away from the production

from vacuum pump exhausts is given off to air-conditioned

area, whose air conditioner was having to combat the heat

rooms. This has reduced the cooling required by the packaging

emitted by pumps.

machine tools, and air-conditioning costs are also lower.

Busch recommended the installation of a centralised vacuum system, which was commissioned in October 2014. After a

Busch Australia Pty Ltd

year of operation, the centralisation of the vacuum system

22 Sustainability Matters - Feb/Mar 2016

wastewater resources

Advancing resource recovery


he report Wastewater — An

operations in Australia (dried and pelletised

Untapped Resource?, fund-

biosolid for fertiliser by Barwon Water, Victo-

ed by the Australian Water

ria) and overseas (struvite and other fertiliser

Recycling Centre of Excel-

production by Ostera partners in Oregon, USA,

lence, was launched by

biomass production for fertiliser by Milwaukee

Professor John Thwaites,

Metropolitan Sewerage District, USA, and

Chair of Melbourne Water and former Deputy

energy co-generation by East Bay Municipal

Premier of Victoria, in December 2015.

Utility district, USA).

©samopauser/Dollar Photo Club

An international report that takes an investor’s perspective to recovering resources from wastewater has been welcomed by the water industry as an important step towards sustainability of water management in Australia.

“This report will be influential with organisa-

In addition, operations in Germany by Ham-

tions like Melbourne Water but also hopefully

burg Wasser, in the UK by Scottish Water and

with the private sector here in Australia, and

in the Netherlands by TU Delft and DHV were

government,” Professor Thwaites said. “It is

considered as well as assessing the impact

also being noticed overseas because the is-

of technology breakthroughs on value creation

ated at the plant and the sales of nitrogen and

sue of resource recovery is something many

using existing Australian research to identify

phosphorus resource recovery products also

countries are grappling with, but translating

resource recovery options for Australia over

add to the economic viability of the option, as

that into action is the big challenge.”

the next 20 years.

does the revenue stream from the disposal

Undertaken by the Australian Academy of

The report made key recommendations to

Technology and Engineering (ATSE), the report

convert industry interest in resource recovery

At the Melbourne launch, Pamminger, on

finds that increased pressure from population

to practise detailing a ‘real options approach’

behalf of the Water Services Association of

growth, higher demand for natural resources,

to assessing resource recovery projects that

Australia, said the report was an important

rising costs and growing community expecta-

incorporates a wide range of avoided costs

building block towards integrating resource

tions will require the water industry to develop

and economic uncertainties, using probabilistic

recovery into water businesses.

innovative and more efficient processes to


of organic waste in the co-digestion case.

He said the report looks at successful

optimise resource recovery from wastewater.

Other recommendations include focusing on:

operations from around the world and from a

The report was developed by a working

• innovative business models that include

water industry perspective sought to address

group led by Dr John Burgess, a chemical

private sector involvement;

the question “why can’t we do it here?”

engineer who has more than 20 years’ ex-

• ongoing participation in the development

He commended the financial model in the

perience as a research leader and industry

of new wastewater treatment technologies;

report to water authority engineers as a way

senior executive with BHP Limited, where he

• regulatory recognition for resource recovery

to approach complexity and variability when

held responsibilities for research and com-

operations in the form of feed-in tariffs for

undertaking project options analysis in the

pany strategy. It included Professor Damien

energy generation and renewable energy

modern day.

Batstone, deputy director of the Advanced


Water Management Centre at the University of

The report concluded that emerging energy-

researchers coming together with industry and

Queensland, Dr Tim Muster, a senior research

efficient process technologies, such as the

presenting results, together with a business

scientist from CSIRO Land and Water, and Mr

generation of biogas from sewage and waste

focus, that allows us to go forward,” he said.

Francis Pamminger, manager of research and

and cogeneration of electricity, appear to be

innovation at Yarra Valley Water.

economically viable for larger scales of waste-

Part of the research identified key reasons for the success of a number of successful

water treatment plant operation, nominally above 50 ML/day.

resource recovery initiatives by undertak-

The report also concluded that in some

ing economic analysis of resource recovery

cases the sales of surplus electricity gener-

“The importance of this project has been

The project was undertaken by Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) with funding and support from the Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence.

Feb/Mar 2016 - Sustainability Matters 23

Water: for liveable communities and sustainable industries Australia’s water industry has seen significant change over the last decade, with the introduction of water recycling, considerable developments in water efficiency and many cities now having a desalination plant. Ageing infrastructure and climatic pressures on water mean this change will likely continue, particularly as a booming population is predicted to double over the next 50 years.


zwater’16 will once again bring together the brightest minds, innovators and enablers in water and wastewater for a three-day conference to uncover and explore the challenges and opportunities facing the water sector now and in the future. The event attracts speakers from across

• Generating liveability benefits from investment in water authority land assets — Kym Whiteoak, RMCG • The role of climate-resilient water sources in Australia — Matthew Hardy, Bureau of Meteorology • The role of renewable energy in the Australian water sector — the water-energy nexus — Wayne Goodwin, Beca

the country and internationally, from leading water professionals,

• Tropical highs: applying lessons learnt from existing groundwa-

commercial and business honchos, industry leaders, technology

ter recharge schemes to inform Northern Australia’s proposed

entrepreneurs and academic masterminds. They will share their

increasing demand for water — Carly Waterhouse, CH2M

knowledge of both local and global issues as they relate to water,

• Sustainable mining operations and the prospective role of mem-

putting a spotlight on sustainability issues. This year the conference

brane bio-reactor in mine water management — Amos Branch,

agenda is packed with additional streams relating to current issues

UNESCO Centre for Membrane Science and Technology, UNSW

including liveability and sustainability of the future. In addition to the comprehensive conference program, there is also a workshops program and trade exhibition. The trade exhibition

Ozwater’16 will also feature workshops on: • Transitioning to a water sensitive city — part 1 and 2, presented by CRC for Water Sensitive Cities

is free to attend from Tuesday 10 to Thursday 12 May. It features

• Validating water treatment in integrated water management: in-

more than 200 exhibitors showcasing water-related products, ser-

troducing ‘Waterval’, presented by the Australian Water Recycling

vices and innovations from international and national companies. Keynotes include: • Kerry Bodine — writer and customer expert, co-author of Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business • Professor John Thwaites — Chair of ClimateWorks, Chairman

Centre of Excellence • Future water infrastructure investment — where will the money come from?, presented by Aither Pty Ltd • Enhancing business outcomes though education — Australian Water Association Water Education Network

of Melbourne Water • Andrew Geczy — CEO, International and Institutional Banking, ANZ With over 150 platform presentations, the event will see dedicated streams on Liveable and Sustainability Cities of the Future, Sustainable Industries, Customers and Communities and Water for Rural, Remote and Regional Communities. Presentations include: • Moving wastewater treatment facilities to resource recovery facilities — Dr Art Umble of MWH, Denver, USA • Beyond benchmarking: a water sensitive cites index — Lindsey Beck, LindseyB • Outcomes from integrated water planning — Robert Considine,

Details at a glance Ozwater’16 is supported by Principal Sponsors Suez and Melbourne Water. What: Ozwater’16 international water conference and exhibition Where: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre When: 10–12 May 2016 Web: Register for the free trade exhibition at:

Melbourne Water • Using market-based instruments to deliver cost-effective stormwater management outcomes — Jeremy Cheesman, Marsden Jacob

24 Sustainability Matters - Feb/Mar 2016


©amidala/Dollar Photo Club


Hospital saves energy using optimisation technology The first Australian installation of the

payback period of 3.3 years in an even

Siemens Demand Flow energy optimisation

shorter period.”

system at Robina Hospital in Queensland

Gold Coast Health senior director

is already exceeding targets and on track

operational support services, Nigel Hoy,

to save enough electricity in its first 12

said the health service was delighted

months to run the MCG light towers for

by the initial savings delivered by the

a year.

Siemens Demand Flow.

The system uses a variable pressure

“We were looking for ways to reduce

curve technology that optimises chiller

the hospital’s energy consumption and

plant control systems to reduce total

were impressed by the results Demand

plant energy consumption by 20–50%.

Siemens’ executive general manager

Four months after installation, the system

building technologies, Stefan Schwab, said

saw an average 24% reduction in energy

the excellent outcomes meant the Siemens

consumption at the chiller plant at the

Demand Flow technology was delivering

Gold Coast hospital.

results ahead of its targeted savings.

This has resulted in the hospital

“We are well on track to achieve the

reducing energy consumption by 367,154

annual target of reducing energy usage by

kilowatt hours (kWh) in four months, more

792,091 kWh, and the resultant $95,051 cost

than 65% ahead of the set target for the

saving,” he said.

Flow had achieved in hospitals around the world,” he said. “In addition to significant energy savings, the work Siemens carried out at Robina provided the opportunity for us to consolidate chilled water infrastructure from three separate chilled water plants into one. This has resulted in a reduction to the ongoing maintenance requirements and costs for the facility.”

period of 221,314 kWh. Robina Hospital

“Given that we have already achieved

has verified the first month’s savings as

367,154 (46.35%) of the annual guarantee

a 7.04% reduction in total consumption

figure of 792,091 kWh in just four months,

Siemens Ltd

for the hospital.

we are confident of hitting the guaranteed

Feb/Mar 2016 - Sustainability Matters 25

Is this Australia’s most sustainable display home? The Cape housing project, located on

such as correct orientation, insulation,

‘smart home’ sustainable technologies

Victoria’s Bass Coast, is said to be

double glazing, ventilation, thermal mass

like energy storage batteries and energy

Australia’s most energy-efficient housing

and innovative efficient heating and cooling

management systems. When all are built

development, with minimum standards of

systems. It has been built with inexpensive

to the standard of the display home, the

7.5-star energy efficiency, 2.5 kW solar

materials and actually creates more energy

community has the potential to pocket

and 10,000 L water storage per home.

than it uses.

$500,000 per annum in avoided energy

The >$100 million project, based 1 h

The people behind The Cape are Bass

bills. The project is additionally planning

and 40 min from the Melbourne CBD,

Coast builder Small Giants and project

for the uptake of electric vehicles, with

includes 220 homes, 32 apartments, a

director Brendan Condon, whose vision

EV adoption across the community

conference centre and cafe.

has been to prove that sustainable housing

potentially enabling savings of over $1

The first display home at the

can be affordable. Condon said, “Residents

million in avoided energy and petrol

residential community — a double-storey,

can purchase a 2- to 3-bedroom home,

bills. A 6000 m 2, water-efficient, highly

four-bedroom house — costs only $500

fully fitted out with all the sustainable

productive community garden is also

a year to run, or 15% of the power and

bells and whistles and energy systems,

currently under construction.

water bills of an average Victorian home,

for under $300,000,” he said.

“The methods we have used here

according to analysis by the Alternative

“We have developed a ‘design hub’ of

to achieve these results are able to be

Technology Association (ATA). Built for

sustainable builders, designers and trades

followed by the large-volume builders

$390,000 by TS Constructions, it won

now forming around this project in Bass

across Australia, and we hope our

the Master Builders Best Sustainable

Coast, and all future buyers here will have

project kickstarts a period of innovation

Home, South East Victoria for 2015.

access to this expertise in developing

in Australia’s housing industry,” Condon

The home is rated 8.2 stars for

super-efficient, high-quality, affordable


energy efficiency, fitted with 7-star

homes. Our project is one of the only

“Today we throw out a friendly

heating and cooling systems and employs

places nationally where you can access

challenge to the large developers around

passive solar design, LED lighting and

housing built to these standards.”

Australia to get on board — if we can

solar energy. It is designed to operate

All 220 homes at The Cape will be

do this in Bass Coast, it can be done

without the use of gas and maintains

connected to superfast internet speeds

anywhere. It is undoubtedly the way

a comfortable temperature range in all

through the nbn with optic fibre to the home,

of the future.”

weather conditions, thanks to features

enabling households to take advantage of

26 Sustainability Matters - Feb/Mar 2016

Clean tank water without using chemicals Contaminated water supplies have been responsible for major outbreaks of severe gastrointestinal illnesses, such as gastroenteritis, and infections caused by the protozoan parasites Cryptosporidium and

UV-Guard customer James Galbraith of the Southern Highlands.

Giardia. Gastrointestinal illnesses can be particularly severe for the very young, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems. A water supply management plan, which includes ultraviolet (UV) light water disinfection, can safeguard contaminated tank water supplies to prevent illness amongst your family. UV-Guard Managing Director Richard Vallance says UV water disinfection can be easily implemented with UV-Guard’s range of water treatment systems. “Our SLF-Series can easily be fitted to a rainwater tank to provide not only pathogen-free clean water, but also peace of mind knowing that your family is protected from contaminants,” Vallance said. “UV can be used to provide continuous assurance of water quality and requires relatively low maintenance. It also has the advantage of not involving the addition of chemicals or affecting the water’s taste. “Typically the UV disinfection system is installed in pipework, delivering water from a tank to a dwelling or selectively to taps used to supply water for drinking and food preparation.” UV-Guard customer James Galbraith is based on a beef cattle farm in the Southern Highlands of NSW and has installed an SLF system on the rainwater tank that supplies drinking water to his newly built house. “I first came across UV-Guard when I was reading The Land newspaper and saw one of their advertisements,” Galbraith said.

“I have a young family with three children, and I felt it was important to protect them from any waterborne pathogens that could potentially affect our tank water supply. “We didn’t want to take any risks with our drinking water, so the decision to install the UV-Guard system was a no-brainer really. Plus, it was very easy to install; I was able to do it all myself. UV-Guard’s system was the best choice for our set-up as it can be operated on 12 and 24 VDC power supplies, which is ideal for us as we rely on our off-grid solar system to power our home.” The SLF-Series can also be used on livestock water supplies, providing pathogen-free water from dams for troughs. UV-Guard Australia Pty Ltd

TRIO POWER SUPPLIES Standard functions combined with high quality & reliability


The new generation of the TRIO POWER range of power supplies is ideal for use in machine building: the functions and space-saving design are tailored to the high demands in this sector. The power supply units, which feature an extremely robust electrical and mechanical design, ensure the reliable supply of all loads even under harsh ambient conditions. | 1300 786 411

Feb/Mar 2016 - Sustainability Matters 27

©klikk/Dollar Photo Club

Controllability the key to wastewater plants’ upgrade

screw blowers don’t experience the pulsations and noise going down the lines. Another benefit is the ability to use a smaller motor, doing the same job as a lobe the next size up. When comparing blowers, Benson warns users to be aware of how airflow is measured by different manufacturers. “Atlas Copco blower units are designed to the same standard as our normal compressors and are guaranteed to give the desired flow to ISO 1217 appendix C Free Air Delivered, unlike other manufacturers who talk about the inlet flow,” he said. This guarantee is important as it relates to kilograms of oxygen for a certain amount of kilowatts of power. Benson said Atlas Copco is able to guarantee the amount of oxygen its blowers can deliver, as well as the amount of air Traditionally, the only options for supplying

He added that over-aerating the tanks

oxygen to wastewater plants were

leads to high ammonia levels and increased

inefficient lobe blowers or large gear

smell, and very irate neighbours. “Therefore,

organisations that are having problems

turbo units. That was until Atlas Copco

a high turndown ability is essential for the

with their present blower systems should

introduced its efficient range of positive

smooth operation of a wastewater plant

replace them with Atlas Copco’s screw

displacement screw blowers.

over a full week cycle,” he said.

technology. “They will get a far more

coming out of the machines. Benson



Dennis Benson, Atlas Copco’s

Even with such a large turndown ability,

efficient blower with the extra turndown,

business development manager – low

Benson says it’s sometimes necessary to

the extra flow rate, coupled with far lower

pressure, says there are three main

switch the blower on and off to prevent

energy and maintenance costs,” he said.

factors why Australian wastewater

over-aerating the tanks. “Atlas Copco

“In fact, our machines are designed for

plants are making the switch to screw

blowers are designed to start and stop as

up to eight years’ continuous operation,

blowers: controllability, reliability and

required many times a day,” he said. “In

and when they do need repairs, we are

reduced energy usage.

fact we have blowers regularly stopping

able to conduct the repairs on-site.”

“We have developed our units to specifically meet the demands of cyclic aeration systems in our extreme climatic

and starting 48 times per day, with no reliability problems at all.”

As well as fully packaged blowers, with built-in controllers and VSD drives

He went on to explain that lobe blowers

ready to run, Atlas Copco has available

only have a maximum turndown of 50%

stand-alone screw blowers suitable for

He explained that most wastewater

and are very inefficient in today’s energy-

external VSD drives in motor control

plants receive very little sewage during

conscious world. “Because our blowers

centres as installed in a lot of existing

the night — normally about 75% less

are of positive displacement design, and

plants. The screw blowers can be installed

than during the day. “Therefore, it’s

equipped with appropriate bearings for

and run with any other technology

important to offer a blower with a large

the application, they are far more reliable

installed in all wastewater plants.

turndown [80%] to limit the amount of

and efficient, reducing energy costs and

oxygen going into the tanks to suit the

maintenance,” he said. Benson said users

Atlas Copco Compressors Australia

demand,” he said.

who have invested in positive displacement

conditions,” he said.

28 Sustainability Matters - Feb/Mar 2016

research & development

Electric bacteria for sewers

could save millions

When not working with sludge from Melbourne’s sewers, La Trobe University scientist Elizabeth Mathews is busy thinking about it. In partnership with Western Water, her research is designed to further the understanding of the processes that lead to sewer corrosion in order to ultimately further progress towards a solution.


PhD student Elizabeth Mathews, right, with Associate Professor Ashley Franks, left, and Dean Barnett, Manager, Field Services and Network Operations Western Water, sampling bacteria from a sewer in Melton. Picture Western Water.

he corrosion of concrete

Our lungs and respiratory system work

to help design the most effective electrodes

sewer infrastructure is

by taking in air, removing oxygen and ex-

to convert the bacteria’s diet from sulfur

an expensive and wide-

haling carbon dioxide. However, anaerobic

to the electrodes,” she said.

spread environmental

bacteria in sewers thrive on sulfur, which

Western Water Customer and Community

problem that affects wa-

they expel as hydrogen sulfide — more com-

Relations Manager Graham Holt said with-

ter utilities worldwide.

monly known as ‘rotten egg gas’.

out the hydrogen sulfide being converted

The corrosion results from microbial sulfur

“The gas forms sulfuric acid,” said

into sulfuric acid in sewers there would

cycling occurring within the sewer. Oxidation

Mathews. “And the acid attacks concrete,

be much less corrosion and no need for

of hydrogen sulfide produces sulfuric acid,

which causes corrosion, weakens sewer

expensive chemicals.

which erodes the concrete pipes.

pipes and eventually leads to their collapse.”

He said the project has great potential

Mathews’ doctoral research study is one

So her aim is to disrupt the respiratory

for use across the whole Victorian water

that few would envy – trying to change

cycle of two of the most common types of

the respiratory or ‘breathing’ chemistry of

sewer bacteria, replacing their sulfur diet

bacteria in our waste stream.

with one of electrodes.

industry. “If we come up with a workable solution for this problem, it could save Western Water

Why? “A healthy society is built on good

“The bacteria can then use the electrodes

more than $100,000 a year — and millions

sanitation,” she said. “And many of our

to complete their respiratory reactions —

of dollars a year across Victoria,” he said.

sewers are ageing and breaking down as

but without producing hydrogen sulfide and

a result of pipe corrosion, a by-product of

sulfuric acid in the process.”

bacterial respiration. “Replacing just a single metre of corroded pipe can cost a staggering $40,000,” she said.

Mathews said these electrodes were economical and long lasting, and could be added to the existing sewer system.

The Electric Bacteria program in La Trobe’s Environmental Microbiology Laboratory is led by Dr Ashley Franks. “The aim,” said Dr Franks, “is to manipulate these processes to help clean up

Her project, being carried out with

waste and pollution, produce energy more

Mathews is a member of La Trobe’s

the help of Western Water, is studying a

efficiently — and maybe even as an alterna-

Environmental Microbiology Laboratory,

wide range of bacteria in residential and

tive to petroleum.”

which studies a wide range of bacteria that

industrial sewer streams. Some of these

‘breathe and eat electricity’ to power their

sewers show signs of corrosion and some

La Trobe University

biological processes.

don’t. “By analysing them we will get data

Feb/Mar 2016 - Sustainability Matters 29

An innovative milk-chilling system has not only saved the quality of a New Zealand farmer’s milk, but also his power bill. Meddo Farm in Waitoa, Waikato, was faced with a problem last summer after water quality issues forced owner Hans Geessink to find a new water supply for his dairy farm. However, when Geessink put down a new bore, the temperature of the water he

© N.K.

Milk-chilling technology that keeps its cool

found there was 26°C — 6°C higher than his previous supply. “We had our hands up against our back,” Geessink said. “It meant we could no longer comply with the current milk-chilling standards and we ran the real risk of our milk being rejected by the dairy company. We needed to find a milk snap-chilling system that could cope with the increased demand without our power bill going through the roof.” After investigating several options, Geessink decided on the Vari-COOL chilling system, designed by refrigeration specialist Coolsense and part-funded by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) as part of its technology demonstration program. many farmers will need to take action, with some requiring an

It was installed on Meddo Farm in May. Immediately there was a marked difference in milk temperature

upgrade of their milk-chilling systems.

at time of pickup, from 8°C down to 4°C. Moreover, while the

“It’s expensive to run a dairy farm, and the average New

higher water temperature increased the milk cooling requirement

Zealand dairy farm spends over $20,000 a year on electricity,”

by 30%, energy consumption on Meddo Farm has remained the

Archibald said. “So any technology that helps reduce this spend

same as the previous year.

is a big bonus for farmers.”

EECA Projects and Relations Manager Kirk Archibald said

But energy is also a controllable cost, Archibald added,

high groundwater temperatures are a problem for dairy farmers,

stating, “If you can reduce your energy spend, the savings can

particularly in the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Northland. And with

be ploughed back into the farm or used in leaner months to keep

new milk-cooling regulations coming into effect from mid-2016,

the farm going.”

Say cheese! New camera can measure methane Swedish researchers have developed

The camera can be used to measure

a camera that can photograph and film

emissions from many environments,

the methane in the air around us. The


device is set to become an important part

combustion processes, animal husbandry

of the efforts to measure and monitor

and lakes. For each pixel in the image the

greenhouse gases, helping confirm the

camera records a high-resolution spectrum,

sources and sinks of methane in the

which makes it possible to quantify the


methane separately from the other gases.


“This gives us new possibilities for

University and Stockholm University,

mapping and monitoring methane sources

developed a hyperspectral infrared camera

and sinks, and it will help us understand

that weighs 35 kg and measures 50 x 45

how methane emissions are regulated

x 25 cm. It is optimised to measure the

and how we can reduce emissions,” said

same radiation that methane absorbs and

principal investigator David Bastviken,

which makes methane such a powerful

also from Linköping University. “So far the

greenhouse gas.

camera has been used from the ground,

“The camera is very sensitive, which

and now we’re working to make it airborne

means that the methane is both visible and

for more large-scale methane mapping.”

much higher resolution than previously,”

30 Sustainability Matters - Feb/Mar 2016


The researchers, from Linköping

measureable close to ground level, with

A camera test at Foljesjon, a lake in a research area west of Vanersborg, Sweden. Image credit: Linköping University.


The study, ‘Making methane visible’, has been published in the journal

said study leader Magnus Gålfalk, from Linköping University. “Being able to

Nature Climate Change

measure on a small scale is crucial.”

research & development ©

A bright idea:

turning food waste into LEDs Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have been an efficient alternative to fluorescent and incandescent bulbs for several years. Now, University of Utah researchers have found a way to make LEDs even more sustainable than they already are — by creating them from food and beverage waste.


EDs can be produced by using quantum dots (QDs),

form infrared spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and

or tiny crystals that have luminescent properties,

Raman and AFM imaging — to determine the CDs’ various optical

to produce light. QDs can be made with numerous

and material properties.

materials, some of which are rare and expensive

“Synthesising and characterising CDs derived from waste is a very

to synthesise — and even potentially harmful to

challenging task,” said Sarswat. “We essentially have to determine the

dispose of.

size of dots which are only 20 nanometres or smaller in diameter,

Research over the past 10 years has focused on using carbon dots

(CDs), QDs made of carbon, to create LEDs instead. CDs have lower

so we have to run multiple tests to be sure CDs are present and to determine what optical properties they possess.”

toxicity and better biocompatibility than other types of QDs, meaning

The various tests first measured the size of the CDs, which cor-

they can be used in a broader variety of applications. But University

relates with the intensity of the dots’ colour and brightness. They then

of Utah Professors Prashant Sarswat and Michael Free have gone one

determined which carbon source produced the best CDs, with sucrose

step further, successfully turning food waste into CDs and, subsequently,

and D-fructose dissolved in soft drinks found to be the most effective

LEDs. Sarswat and Free employed a solvothermal synthesis, in which the

sources. Finally, the CDs were suspended in epoxy resins, heated and

waste was placed into a solvent under pressure and high temperature

hardened to solidify them for practical use in LEDs.

until CDs were formed. In this experiment, the researchers used soft

Not only do the researchers’ LEDs utilise products that would

drinks and pieces of bread and tortilla. The food and beverage waste

otherwise decompose, they will also reduce potentially harmful waste

were each placed in a solvent and heated both directly and indirectly

from the LEDs themselves. One of the most common sources of QDs

for anywhere from 30 to 90 min.

is cadmium selenide, a compound comprising two toxic elements. As

After successfully finding traces of CDs from the synthesis, Sarswat

explained by Free, “QDs derived from food and beverage waste are

and Free proceeded to illuminate the CDs to monitor their formation

not based on common toxic elements such as cadmium and selenium,

and colour. The pair also employed four other tests — Fourier trans-

which makes their processing and disposal more environmentally friendly than it is for most other QDs.” Cadmium selenide is also expensive, with one website listing a price of $529 for 25 mL of the compound. Food and beverage waste, on the other hand, is both readily available — 31% of food produced in 2014 was not available for human consumption, according to the US Department of Agriculture — and essentially free. The results of Sarswat and Free’s study have been published in Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, a journal of the Royal Society of Chemistry. The researchers hope to continue studying the LEDs produced from food and beverage waste for stability and long-term

Michael Free (left) holds a light-emitting diode and Prashant Sarswat (right) holds carbon dots in suspension. Image credit: Prashant Sarswat.

performance; the ultimate goal, according to Sarswat, “is to do this on a mass scale and to use these LEDs in everyday devices”.

Feb/Mar 2016 - Sustainability Matters 31

Image credit: MIT/Ognjen Ilic.

Image courtesy of the researchers under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

research & development

Incandescent bulbs

could make an energy-efficient comeback US researchers have developed a way to combine the warm look of traditional light bulbs with 21stcentury energy efficiency. Published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, their study features a new type of filter that ‘recycles’ the infrared photons in incandescent bulbs.


he way incandescent lights work is that you

much less electric power than would ordinarily

heat a filament to a certain temperature and

be required.”

it emits a broad band of light,” explained As-

Commercially available fluorescent lighting

sistant Professor Peter Burmel, from Purdue

has an efficiency range from 7–15% and LED

University’s School of Electrical and Computer

lighting products range from 5–15%, while more

Engineering. “But only about one in 20 photons

advanced LED lamps under development may

or so is actually visible to the human eye; the other 19 photons

range as high as 29%. The efficiency of the

are essentially just wasted as heat.”

new lighting method already approaches that

Burmel and fellow Purdue researchers recently joined with

of some fluorescent and LED bulbs, achieving

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to develop a way to

around 6.6% efficiency (a threefold improvement

recycle these wasted photons. Their method features a conven-

over the efficiency of current incandescents),

tional heated metal filament surrounded by secondary structures

and could one day reach 40%.

made of alternating layers of Earth-abundant elements such as

The filter also could have applications in a

silicon dioxide and tantalum dioxide, each with thicknesses less

new type of solar technology called thermopho-

than 1/100th that of a human hair.

tovoltaics, which could improve the efficiency

The secondary structures enable the passage of visible photons

of solar cells. Assistant Professor Bermel ex-

Image credit: Purdue University-MIT/Peter Bermel

but not infrared photons; instead, these are reflected back to the

plained, “In thermophotovoltaics you have a radiating heat source,

incandescent source. They are then reabsorbed by the incandescent

not unlike an incandescent filament, and then you shine that light

filament, causing its temperature to rise. The method is said to

on a photovoltaic cell to generate electricity. The filter can be

improve incandescent lighting efficiency by 10 times.

used to select only photons with energy levels corresponding to

“You can send those infrared photons back to the emitting source as many times as you need until they get reabsorbed,”

the semiconductor band gap of the material in the solar cell for maximally efficient conversion.”

Assistant Professor Bermel said. “Each photon has a certain

Assistant Professor Bermel acknowledged that further research

amount of energy associated with it, so you can reclaim that

is needed to measure the long-term performance and production

energy as heat. The net effect when you do that many times is

costs of the new devices. “Fortunately,” he said, “the basic ma-

that you can maintain a higher temperature and brightness using

terials used in our experiment are both abundant and non-toxic.”

32 Sustainability Matters - Feb/Mar 2016

WIRELESS PRESSURE TRANSMITTER WITH ENERGY HARVESTING CAPABILITIES Emerson Process Management is making energy harvesting a reality for its smart wireless transmitters through the use of Perpetuum’s Vibration Energy Harvester and Intelligent Power Module. Energy harvesting converts unused energy, such as vibration from pumps and motors, into electrical energy. The Rosemount 3051S Wireless Pressure Transmitter is the first Emerson


wireless transmitter capable of utilising energy harvesting technology. The Perpetuum Vibration Energy Harvester provides external power to the transmitter, decreasing maintenance by extending the life of the power module. The Intelligent Power Module holds the same form, fit and operational capability as Emerson’s current Smart Power Module, with the operational enhancement of enabling the wireless transmitter to accept multiple forms of external power. The energy harvesting solution is fully certified to FM (Class1 Div1, Groups A, B, C, D), as well as ATEX and IECEx (Zone 0). It is intrinsically safe and classified for use in hazardous areas, thereby reducing potential safety risks to plant personnel. Emerson Process Management Aust P/L

With our ZS 18-160kW blower you can reduce your wastewater plants footprint. The ZS offer 35% reduced energy consumption compared to lobe blowers, considerably lower noise levels, better turndown and less downtime. Contact us today to learn more how you can improve your wastewater plant with our energy efficient ZS blower range.

1800 023 469

STRING INVERTER Fronius is launching the latest addition to the SnapINverter range. Available in the 25 and 27 kVA power categories, the Fronius Eco string inverter delivers high yields, especially for large-scale PV projects into the megawatt range. Its lightweight design (weighing 35.7 kg) and SnapINverter mounting technology make for quick and easy installation. The device is said to have the highest average power density in its power category. The MPP tracking algorithm of the Dynamic Peak Manager plays an important role in maximising yield. It automatically checks the characteristic curve at regular intervals, ensuring that the inverter finds the global maximum and constantly operates at the point of maximum output, even in partial shading. The product has an efficiency level of 98.3%. Up to six strings can be attached directly to the inverter, meaning that the system operator no longer requires additional DC or combiner boxes. The integrated fuse holder provides all-pole fuse protection for all six strings, and optional overvoltage protection is available for the DC side. Due to the high IP66 protection class, the device can be installed in unsheltered indoor and outdoor locations. The unit even manages to deliver maximum yields under extreme climate conditions. The optimised display navigation simplifies servicing, while the set-up wizard saves time and money. Plug-in card technology enables the device to respond flexibly to future requirements.






In addition to Modbus TCP and RTU SunSpec, a Fronius Solar API (JSON) interface is available. The Fronius push service enables system data to be sent to any server. The online Fronius Solar.web platform is also available for comprehensive system monitoring and can be used at the same time as the open interfaces. Fronius Australia Pty Ltd

Feb/Mar 2016 - Sustainability Matters 33

MACHINERY HEALTH MONITOR Having to manage and maintain multiple disparate systems is complex and time-consuming, and can potentially threaten plant availability. To help address these concerns, Emerson now offers its power generation and water/wastewater industry customers


a native machinery health monitoring and protection

SUEZ Group has launched

capability within the Ovation distributed control system.

aqualead — a complete water

The Ovation Machinery Health Monitor leverages

conditioning range focused on

the power of the Ovation platform through a high-

the industrial water cycle. The

performance I/O module dedicated to machinery health

offering ranges from the provision

functions. With installation as simple as inserting the

of water conditioning products

module into a spare I/O slot, the health monitor eliminates

for the treatment of all aspects

the risks, time and costs typically associated with configuring

of industrial water management

and integrating two separate systems. Eliminating the need to

through to dedicated wastewater,

integrate stand-alone vibration and health monitoring systems

cooling and boiler water condi-

reduces potential points of failure, increasing equipment and

tioning services.

process reliability.

The service includes the

Operators receive alerts from a single set of common plant

aqualead nexgen collection —

HMIs and no longer need to manually check machinery func-

a group of products said to

tions through a separate system. By eliminating synchronisa-

reduce the amount of phosphorus

tion across multiple systems and using familiar Ovation tools,

discharged by more than 50%

configuration and upgrades are faster and less complex. The

when compared with conven-

ability to troubleshoot and analyse data is also enhanced through

tional treatments. The cooling

the use of Ovation alarming, trending, historical data collection and sequence-of-events

water products have been cre-

monitoring functions.

ated using highly biodegradable

The health monitor reduces the risk of cyber attack by eliminating links to stand-alone systems and isolating process information. Delivering control, machinery protection and predictive health monitoring on a single, common platform not only improves asset performance, but also reduces spare parts inventory, maintenance, training and upgrade time. Emerson Process Management Aust P/L

polymers in combination with metal-free formulations with low phosphorus content. They are said to offer low environmental impact while maintaining system performance. SUEZ

ROTOR MILLS The RETSCH SR 300 and SK 300 rotor mills are claimed to have been greatly improved with regard to performance, handling and flexibility. Due to their robust design, the rotor mills are suitable for applications in the laboratory as well as for small-scale production. The speed of the rotor beater mill SR 300 has been increased and can be set between 3000 and 10,000 rpm, thus allowing for optimum adaptation to application requirements. Further features are the removable cassette and push-fit rotor that can be easily taken out for cleaning without using tools, just like the removable hopper. The cassette allows for almost 100% sample recovery. The grinding chamber, feed hopper and material inlet and outlet are made from high-quality stainless steel. The product is therefore suitable for use in pharmaceutical and food laboratories. The cross beater mill SK 300 now also operates with higher speed, which can be set from 2000 to 4000 rpm. The grinding insert and rotor are as easily removable as in the SR 300. Both mills can be equipped with an optional cyclone, which improves material discharge, particularly for very fine particle sizes, and provides additional cooling of the sample. MEP Instruments Pty Limited

34 Sustainability Matters - Feb/Mar 2016

USED LEAD ACID BATTERY RECYCLING Battery Rescue’s UNISEG Pallet has been designed for the storage, collection and direct transportation of used lead acid batteries (ULABs). The chemical- and acid-proof pallet incorporates a liquid-retaining bund area to capture up to 25 L of acid leaks and is weather resistant when closed, making it suitable for outdoor use. The front-load configuration enables staff to easily and safely stack batteries onto the pallet, while the rear, left-hand and right-hand panels help keep the batteries in place. When the pallet is full of batteries it can be closed and secured by the 10 over-centre latches, enabling it to safely store up to 1.2 t (approximately 70 car batteries). The pallet comes with all the necessary dangerous goods signage for transporting the ULABs, so once closed it is ready for immediate transportation. Battery Rescue provides the pallet for free as part of its battery collection service. This includes delivery and set-up of the pallet, collection when full, replacement with an exchange pallet, and handling and transport to a registered ULAB processing plant. Payment to customers at applicable London Metals Exchange rates for their reclaimed and recycled lead is made via EFT within seven days of pallet delivery to an approved ULAB processing plant. The used lead battery collection service completely eliminates manual handling from the point of original collection to the end destination. The pallet provides convenience, occupational health and safety improvements and improved environmental outcomes. Battery Rescue Australia Pty Ltd

FLUORIDE ANALYSER The ABB Aztec 600 fluoride analyser provides accurate measurement of fluoride concentrations to enable precise control of water fluoridation. The analyser measures total solubilised fluoride using a combination fluoride ion-selective electrode. The analyser is simple to operate and maintain. ABB’s intuitive menu-driven software includes a full-colour graphical display, while the robust ISE sensing system offers continuous measurement and automatic 2-point calibration. Other features include: buffered measurement for maximum accuracy; low reagent consumption (up to three months continuous measurement before reagent replenishment); a temperature-controlled flow cell for measurement stability; data logging and graphical process trending; a full audit trail capability; and secure data archiving to an SD card. ABB Australia Pty Ltd Control Components

Feb/Mar 2016 - Sustainability Matters 35

Source separation — an opportunity for waste companies Ayona Sur, Environmental Consultant, CO2 Australia Ltd


If you’re about to undertake an emissions reduction activity, there’s a chance you may be eligible to generate Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs), and with one ACCU awarded per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent emission avoided, there is money to be made by selling them.

36 Sustainability Matters - Feb/Mar 2016

emission reduction fund


ll up, $2.55 billion has

new source separation activities or the

• place bids at an auction for projects

been allocated to the

expansion of an existing activity involving

that are still in development, allowing

Australian Government’s

organic waste only. For example, diverting

councils and organisations the flexibility

Emission Reduction Fund

food waste from landfill through undertaking

of only proceeding with projects where

(ERF) as an incentive

activities such as composting or donating

they have a carbon abatement contract

for organisations to un-

excess food waste to charity are poten-

in place.

dertake various greenhouse gas abatement

tially eligible. Potential proponents for this

To actually generate ACCUs, you sub-

projects. During the first ERF auction held in

method include councils, waste management

mit an offsets report to the Clean Energy

April 2015, the Carbon Abatement Contracts

companies, hospitals, academic institutions,

Regulator setting out all the calculations

were granted to 43 contractors covering 144

hotels and food charities.

and evidence to support your claims of

projects with the Clean Energy Regulator

greenhouse gas reductions. Offsets re-

What’s involved in setting up and running an ERF project?

ports are subject to external audit and

to deliver a total of 47,333,140 tonnes of abatement. The total value of contracts

The starting point is to confirm that your

scale — the bigger the project, the more

awarded was more than $660 million with

proposed development, activity or expansion

recurrent the audits.

an average price of $13.95 per ACCU. The

is actually eligible against the methodology.

second auction will be taking place in

You will also need to take a good look at the

The role of ‘Specialist Agents’

November 2015.

business case for participating, as operating

Big money can be made from the ERF but

If you want to get involved, one of the

a project under ERF can incur costs in the

complex rules and technical detail can

key requirements will be to demonstrate

form of administration, record keeping and

deter many. The good news is that there

that you are undertaking a greenhouse

audit fees. Most importantly, the business

are a number of specialist companies that

emissions-reducing activity that complies

case is strongly linked to scale. “If you

can assist.

with an approved ERF methodology. There

are not diverting at least 1000 tonnes of

ERF ‘agents’ can: handle eligibility as-

are several methodologies available that

organics from landfill per year, then it’s not

sessments, help with reviewing the business

relate to waste management, including cap-

going to be commercially viable to set up

case, set up projects and even manage the

turing methane from landfills and diverting

an ERF project,” said Bulinski.

ongoing compliance requirements. CO2

awarding 107 Carbon Abatement Contracts

the frequency of the audit depends on the

waste to compost or biodigester systems.

When you have made a decision to

Australia is one example of a company that

Recently, a draft method was released for

participate, the next big step is to submit a

specialises in establishing and operating

public consultation that focuses on source

project registration application to the Clean

ERF projects.

separated waste.

Energy Regulator. It is critically important

“We take the headache out of getting

“People are often surprised to hear

that your application is submitted before

involved in the ERF by partnering on pro-

government is paying big money for some

you actually start installing, upgrading or

ject development,” Bulinski said. “We take

of these activities,” said James Bulinski,

expanding your facilities otherwise you

on some of the risk through investing our

director of CO2 Australia, a company that

might be excluded from participating. So, it’s

time and expertise up front and then sharing

specialises in developing ERF projects. “The

important you get the paperwork in early.

in the revenue when we get a successful

key thing is to consider your options before

Once your project is registered, you can

undertaking new developments, so you aren’t

then place a bid at an ERF auction. These

Working with experienced agents can

leaving money on the table.”

bids are actually a type of forward supply

fast-track the process of participation for

contract, where you commit to delivering

an ERF project and get it to the point of

What opportunities will the ‘source separated’ waste method open?

ACCUs to the government at agreed times

realising revenue quickly.

future revenue stream, but it also locks you

The future looks bright

Simply put, source separation is sorting

into an obligation to deliver. This implies to

With $1.89 billion remaining in the Emis-

waste at the time it’s generated, such as

the fact that you need to be confident that

sion Reduction Fund, there remains plenty

through segregating and placing general

you can deliver the committed number of

of opportunity to get involved and get new

waste and organic waste in separate bins.

ACCUs stipulated in your contract.

projects off the ground. The developing

The separated organic waste can then be sent to a treatment facility for processing thus diverting it from the landfill for disposal and avoiding emissions from waste. The crucial thing to remember in regards to this methodology is that it applies to

result at the ERF auction.”

and at an agreed price. This locks in a steady

Key advantages of the auction process are that you are able to: • structure carbon abatement contracts

‘Source Separated Waste’ method has the potential to open up the ERF to new waste management initiatives.

with the government in a way that allows for ‘locked-in’ revenue for up to

CO2 Australia Limited

10 years; and

Feb/Mar 2016 - Sustainability Matters 37

DISTRIBUTED INVERTER Sunvertec’s Xenos distributed inverter allows solar panels to be connected to the electricity grid. Unlike conventional inverter systems that create entire waveforms, the distributed inverter creates only a part of the output waveform, affording simple low-voltage electronics and allowing higher efficiencies. When connected together, each module works — along with a command unit — to create an AC mains signal ready for injection to the mains. Conventional panel-mounted microinverters can cost up to half as much as installed solar panels and create 240 V within each module. The distributed inverter design has the potential to deliver savings of greater than 60% over conventional microinverters, according to the company. Sunvertec Pty Ltd


Michell Instruments has introduced a portable verification

Panasonic EX-Z thru-beam ultraminiature photoelectric sensors are small enough for use in applications where,

system for humidity probes

previously, fibre-optic sensors were the only option.

— the HygroCal100. Weighing

The units have the added advantage that the

just 3.2 kg and with a battery life

sensor and amplifier are fully self-contained

of up to 8 h, the unit is designed with

in one small package.

portability in mind.

The sensors are available in two body

The humidity test chamber is stable and enables the

styles — front- or side-sensing — and

evaluation of relative humidity sensors in the range of 5

three different models with ranges

to 95% RH. Up to seven probes, with different diameters

of 50, 200 and 500 mm. Due to the

and output signals, can be validated simultaneously. The

built-in slit mask, the longest range

innovative design allows the probes to be integrated with

model has the ability to detect an

the chamber and user interface, enabling the operator to

object as small as 1 mm, while the

easily monitor the readings of each probe during the cali-

shortest range unit can detect an item

bration cycle. All the calibration data can be downloaded

as small as 0.3 mm.

from the unit onto a USB drive for later use.

The high-brightness, 4-element red LED

An external reference hygrometer, such as Michell’s

provides strong light-emission stability over a long period

fundamental, chilled mirror Optidew Vision, can be inte-

of time while at the same time making sensor alignment an

grated into the system. If this reference has a traceable

easy task. All models are rated to IP67 for use in process

calibration, it allows users to incorporate this traceability

lines where water is used or splashed. Rust-resistant, stainless

into their verifications.

steel sensor-mounting brackets and screws are also available.

The unit is easily programmable through its touch-screen

Control Logic Pty Ltd

interface, enabling calibration routines to be completely automated. The operator defines the humidity points and time to remain at each of them, inserts the probes and the reference (if used), then leaves the unit to work through the cycle. The product contains an internal polymer reference, Michell’s HS3 sensor, giving ±0.8% RH accuracy. For long-term reliability, the system can be calibrated against an external reference. This is an automatic function: once the reference is connected and the calibration initiated, the product automatically runs through the steps and prompts the user for actions. AMS Instrumentation & Calibration Pty Ltd

38 Sustainability Matters - Feb/Mar 2016

CONTROLLER FOR GAS MONITORING Versatile, easy to use and wall mounted, the GasGard XL Controller monitors toxic and combustible gases and oxygen deficiency. Its compact, durable housing is constructed of fire-retardant ABS plastic. A large, multi-language LCD provides real-time gas readings and events, offers full system diagnosis and is supported by individual LEDs per channel, with common relays and internal buzzer. The controller can be easily configured to accept up to eight remote gas sensors. The product is fully configurable via USB or RS485 Modbus connection and free software. Event log upload is available through isolated Ethernet RS485 or USB. The controller is expandable to up to eight independent channels using plug-in boards, with an optional two additional relays per channel. Dedicated keys make all functions accessible from the front panel. MSA Australia Pty Ltd

POSITIVE DISPLACEMENT SCREW BLOWER The Atlas Copco ZS 18–160 kW positive displacement screw blower is suitable


for most wastewater treatment plants. It is designed to the company’s plug-

The Hach QbD1200 laboratory total organic carbon (TOC)

and-play set-up, making installation

analyser implements the UV/persulfate oxidation method,

easy, and features a small footprint.

which combines acid and oxidiser into a single reagent. This

The blower features Atlas Copco’s

reagent can be purchased as a concentrated stock solution

screw technology, which can achieve

or prepared by the user following the simple recipe provided.

a turndown of up to 80% in flow. This

This oxidation chemistry — combined with a digital NDIR

large turndown capability enables

detector featuring a highly stable semiconductor IR light

wastewater treatment plans to elimi-

source and automatic baseline correction — results in good

nate over-aeration during low demand

measurement reproducibility. Careful attention to the plumbing and flushing of this wet

periods and removes the risk of the

chemistry has virtually eliminated sample-to-sampler carryover, removing the need to discard

side effect of unpleasant odours that

the first measurement in a series of replicates.

is often associated with over-aeration.

Fast and convenient validation and qualification procedures have been designed. 8-point

The wastewater unit is rated for 80 kPag

calibration, with six concentrations and three replicates, takes 90 min and is fully automated.

pressure to allow for diffuser fouling

A 10.4″ colour touch screen provides step-by-step instructions on how to perform all common

and line losses and is interfaced con-

operations, and no external PC is required. The product is offered with a robust auto sampler

trolled with Atlas Copco’s Elektronikon

capable of holding up to 64 standard 40 mL glass sample vials, with additional standard bays

controller. It can be delivered with a

for qualification tests. Dynamic endpoint detection algorithms are employed to ensure that all

built-in variable speed drive (VSD) or

inorganic carbon is removed prior to oxidation of organic species and complete oxidation of

use a user-supplied drive. It also has

organic species is achieved. No additional inorganic carbon removal module is required.

an unlimited start and stop capability.

Hach Pacific Pty Ltd

The product is a suitable replacement for conventional lobe blowers, with its screw design eliminating the pulse harmonics associated with lobe blowers.


The pulsations from lobe units can be dampened by mixing in a screw unit

Desaln8 is an Australian-owned company that is all about providing water

with the lobes. By eliminating these

solutions. With its In Situ Desalination (ISD) technology, the company

pulsations there are fewer complaints

is particularly focused on groundwater desalination.

from nearby residential areas.

ISD is a low-power desalination solution that solves the waste issue

The screw blowers can be coupled

at the point of source. The chemical-free technology is said to be

with any other technology to give good

cheaper to run than traditional desalination systems and, in Melbourne,

control and energy savings. There are

has demonstrated that it can reduce water bills by over a third.

multiple control variations available

ISD can be used to provide fresh water for drinking, irrigation and industrial purposes. The

— including external speed control,

system is modular and can be readily expanded to meet changing demand. Desaln8’s team of

constant pressure and multiple constant

hydrogeologists, geochemists and engineers is dedicated to customising water solutions that

flow settings — which can be adjusted

reduce operating costs and resolve the waste disposal problem in an environmentally friendly

to suit the fluctuating demands of a

and sustainable manner.

treatment plant.

Desaln8 Pty Ltd

Atlas Copco Compressors Australia

Feb/Mar 2016 - Sustainability Matters 39

SOLIDS MANAGEMENT SYSTEM FOR WASTEWATER PUMPS Gorman-Rupp has released the Eradicator Solids Management


System, a pumping system for handling solids-laden waste-

The Integrated Planning and

water. The system comes as an option on the company’s

Optimisation Solution is designed

range of Super T series pumps and is also available as a

to provide mining companies

retrofit kit on existing Super T Series pumps.

with an integrated software so-

The system features an aggressive, self-cleaning wear plate

lution that manages their entire

incorporating a number of notches and grooves, as well as a

mining operation from resource

lacerating tooth that helps break up stringy materials, scrape

to market. The product enables

them off the impeller vanes and pass them through the pump.

mining companies to optimise

A special cover plate includes a lightweight inspection cover that can

plans and schedules, identify

be removed if necessary to inspect pump internals.

risks and deviations, pinpoint

Benefits are said to include improved and sustainable operational efficiency,

inefficiency and present the right

increased uptime, reduced maintenance costs, lower life cycle costs and easier access to the impeller.

information to the right people

Operators will also find that the cover plate is easy and safe to work with. Internal clearances can be

at the right time. It is said to

adjusted externally without the need to disconnect pumps from the piping system. This can be done

increase mining productivity by

in minutes by one operator to keep the pump at peak efficiency.

up to 20% by helping mining

Eradicator-equipped pumps do not require chopper blades that need periodic replacement but rely on passing large solids and stringy materials straight through the pump. The system is available with

companies use information to drive operational efficiencies.

carbon steel or hardened alloy steel wear plates. Pumps can handle flows from 5 through to 200

The software helps mining com-

L/s and heads to 45 m, and Super T Series pumps are able to be mounted up to 7.6 m above the

panies collect, integrate and

wastewater so that operators gain easy access without the need for cranes or other lifting devices.

analyse information across their

The pumps are suitable for water authorities and councils at their wastewater treatment plants and at sewage pumping stations, along with any industry where pumps are required to pump solids-laden water. Hydro Innovations

production environments to gain a comprehensive view of their operations and address the challenges of siloed data and inaccurate and untimely information. It enables data to be leveraged to model the supply

HMI PANELS FOR EXTREME CONDITIONS The Siemens Simatic HMI TP700 and HMI TP1500 Comfort Outdoor Panels are equipped with a UV-protected front with IP65 protection and are suitable for industries such as dairy farming, mining, refrigerated buildings and ships. Engineered for tough conditions, they are suitable for the harsh Australian climate. The devices can be used to visualise and log performance data about machines. By being able to export or remote access this data, operational data analysis can be carried out in a spreadsheet, for example. With their low glare, automatic dimming feature and a broad reading angle, operating and monitoring tasks can be carried out efficiently and safely in a variety of daylight conditions. The devices can be used in temperatures from -30 to +60°C and in humidity levels of up to 90%. Available in displays measuring 7 or 15″, they feature a widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio that displays in up to 16 million colours and can handle complex process or plant images.

chain to predict how each entity in the value chain will operate. It then lets companies view their supply chains both as discrete components and as a single system that operates according to unified objectives and metrics. The software uses data analysis of contextual process information to improve predictive maintenance and identify and resolve bottlenecks. The product uses the company’s StruxureWare for Mining, Minerals, and Metals (MMM) software, a scalable platform that includes solutions for energy management and asset performance.

For optimal use of space in the plant or for special machine designs, the panels can also be

The platform ensures ease of

installed upright and operated in portrait mode. In the event of a power failure, the panels ensure

integration for new functionalities

maximum data security by storing sufficient energy to exit all active archives without errors and

as needed. It also leverages the

back up the data.

company’s consulting, partner

The touch panels are integrated into the automation solution via Profinet and are configured using

and complementary component

the Simatic WinCC engineering tool in the TIA Portal (totally integrated automation). Other industrial


networking protocols and interfaces consistent with the standard Comfort Panel range are available. Siemens Ltd

40 Sustainability Matters - Feb/Mar 2016

Schneider Electric Industry Business

Resource Centre

Legislation, governance, programs and industry links

Green Cities Conference 2016

The Green Cities Conference for 2016 will mark 10 years of bringing a leading sustainability conference for the built environment to key industries. This year’s theme is about ‘disruptive ideas’. The first day will include site tours of innovative Green Star buildings and practical

© psynovec/Dollar Photo Club

masterclasses with expert speakers. The second day will follow a full conference program, brimming with speakers who have disruptive ideas, and end with the Sundown Soiree networking party. The final day will be a shorter affair, featuring punchy ideas delivered in concurrent sessions. It will culminate in the Diversity Lunch, where attendees will discuss how diversity delivers dividends. What: Green Cities Conference 2016 When: 22–24 March 2016 Where: Hilton Sydney Web:

Total Facilities 2016

©Iakov Kalinin/Dollar Photo Club

Total Facilities 2016 will unite the facilities and workplace professions for the built and work environment and will represent the entire facilities management and workplace supply chain. The event is suitable for industry professionals responsible for managing, maintaining and enhancing Australia’s working environment. Attendees can learn from a renowned line-up of industry speakers, including international keynotes, in a series of free educational seminars addressing the critical issues affecting today’s built and work environment. The trade exhibition will meanwhile feature the latest innovations from more than 160 suppliers and contractors. Products and services will be available to professionals seeking solutions in the areas of cleaning, HVAC, energy, fit-out, HS&E, people planning and more. The event aims to provide real solutions to everyday operational challenges by connecting buyers and sellers to source innovation, debate current issues, share insights and create opportunities for a community of professionals. What: Total Facilities 2016 When: 6–7 April 2016 Where: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre Web:

Feb/Mar 2016 - Sustainability Matters 41

Fair trade, not ‘aid’


hile fair trade has its advo-

out of their control relating to market conditions.

to combat this issue is to be more selective

cates and sceptics, its aim

Fair trade plays a role in producers devel-

when certifying organisations; in particular, it

is generating and producing

oping a more sustainable approach to natural

should only certify organisations that empower

positive impacts and benefits

resource management which can lead to a posi-

farmers right up the supply chain, giving them

for producers in the develop-

tive environmental impact. Meeting Fairtrade

a sense of value-add from their work and a

Standards set by Fairtrade International has

voice in decision-making.

ing and developed world.

resulted in many countries in improved pro-

Increasing commodity prices is another

The Fair Trade Advocacy office defines fair

duction practices and environmental projects.

challenge for the fair trade movement. The

trade as a “trading partnership, based on

It also provides a pathway for farmers and

price of a cup of coffee seems exorbitant,

dialogue, transparency and respect that seeks

small farmer organisations to have increased

but this is the market price. If a farmer can

greater equity in international trade. It contrib-

management and negotiating responsibilities.

sell a pound of commodity coffee for $3 as

utes to sustainable development by offering

While the fair trade movement has driven

opposed to a fair trade price of $2, the farmer

better trading conditions to, and securing the

consumer awareness and demand for socially

may choose the market price. This challenge

rights of, marginalised producers and workers — especially in developing countries.”

Farmers need to be empowered with a sense of ownership

However, fair trade is more than just a

in fair trade and this could be accomplished with fair

trading partnership; it hinges on a concerted

trade re-engaging the farmer at a grassroots level.

social push to develop procedures and standards for production practices and delivery, wages, working conditions, environmental health, and social policies and metrics in the

and environmentally sourced products, it has

is combined with another issue of taste, which

supply chains of certified goods.

its challenges. Overall, I believe the biggest

is sometimes a criticism of fair trade products

To be pedantic, there are some small but

challenge is around integrating sustainability

such as coffee and tea. Some of the fair trade

critical differences in terminology. Fair trade

and transparency into the entire fair trade

tea and coffee I have tasted in the past hasn’t

is used to refer to the fair trade movement

value chain.

been the best.

as a whole and the organisations that abide

In particular, the level of engagement across

A product that’s fair doesn’t necessarily

to its principles. Fairtrade, however, is used

the entire supply chain is varied. Growers and

equate to a compromise on quality. The fair

to describe the certification and labelling

farmers in remote regions generally have little

trade certification process should include a

system governed by Fairtrade International.

access to market information on their product

criteria on quality including stringent taste

The Fairtrade system allows consumers to

price and value. While farmer cooperatives

testing. This could alter the perception of

identify goods that have met internationally

(co-ops) have been set up in remote regions

the fair trade price being a ‘ceiling’ rather

agreed Fairtrade Standards and carry the

to manage the fair trade process and reinvest

than a ‘floor’.

Fairtrade mark. So some products can be fair

the fair trade premiums, farmers are generally

I see fair trade as a fundamental way

trade, but not labelled Fairtrade.

left out of the co-ops’ decision-making process

to reduce poverty and increase sustainable

on buyers and pricing.

development and as a catalyst for socially

Fair trade has a number of benefits, to

There is a fundamental disconnect between

responsible consumption. Its fundamental

Fair trade agreements offer improved ac-

farmers and co-ops; this in turn leads often to

purpose is to create opportunities and pro-

cess to global markets and competitive prices.

a lack of awareness by farmers on the final

mote inclusion for producers who have been

This level of accessibility is considered key

destination of their product, its end use and

economically disadvantaged or marginalised

for sustainable poverty reduction. Although

price. Farmers need to be empowered with a

by the traditional trading system. Despite its

the impact may vary from country to country,

sense of ownership in fair trade and this could

failings, every organisation and individual

fair trade has an overall positive impact on

be accomplished with fair trade re-engaging the

should consider how ‘fair’ their products are

both small producers and plantation workers

farmer at a grassroots level. Another method

before they buy.

both producers and consumers.

in producing countries. Fair trade can also have an impact in reducing poverty. But a word of caution is needed as fair trade is not a permanent cure for poverty-stricken farmers and plantation workers. A number of factors constrain fair trade’s impact on poverty, including volume of production, the size of farms and externalities

42 Sustainability Matters - Feb/Mar 2016

Dr Kaushik Sridhar is the National Corporate Citizenship Manager for KPMG Australia. He has extensive experience in providing sustainability/corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy advice, materiality assessments, stakeholder engagement and reporting assurance. Prior to joining KPMG, he worked at Ernst & Young (and previously Net Balance) for 3.5 years where he managed projects in areas including sustainability assurance, sustainability strategy and reporting, data management, and stakeholder engagement for medium and large organisations across multiple industries.



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