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Barnawartha biodiesel plant in north-east Victoria has restarted operations, commencing production of low-carbon renewable biofuels B5, B20 and B100.

Just Biodiesel, in partnership with Refueling Solutions, has reopened the plant after its closure in 2016, to produce biodiesel, a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement that will reduce Australia’s dependence on foreign petroleum, with the added benefit of creating jobs and improving the environment.

Just Biodiesel General Manager Greg Boyall said, “A return of 11 former employees to the recommissioned facility is a testament to the leadership of the company and commitment of the locals who have successfully recommissioned the plant in a four-month period. We are confident with the anticipated growth and support from many local suppliers, substantial economic benefits will be achieved for the region,” he said.

Bioenergy Australia CEO Shahana McKenzie said, “The revitalisation of the biodiesel plant at Barnawartha has created new employment opportunities in the region to support the potential production of 50 million litres of biodiesel per annum.

“Currently Australia lags well behind other nations in the production of biofuels and receipt of its knock-on benefits. A national biofuel industry could create over 8000 direct and indirect jobs, contribute over $1.1 billion annually to regional communities, reduce particulate matter in our air and reduce our reliance on important fuel,” she explained.

“This project shows that a local industry creates jobs, enhances fuel security and builds stronger regional economies. It will also contribute to the reduction in emissions across our transportation sector.

“Biodiesel is made from a diverse range of feedstocks including recycled cooking oil and animal fats.

“Meeting strict technical fuel quality and engine performance specifications, it can be used in existing diesel engines without modification and is covered by all major engine manufacturers’ warranties, most often in blends of up to 5% (B5) or 20% (B20) biodiesel, offering a real alternative to traditional diesel,” she concluded.

When it comes to fuel independence and security, Australia is reported to be falling behind other nations and has been named as the least prepared developed nation to deal with a crisis, having low emergency fuel reserves. Figures produced by the Department of Energy show that fuel stockpiles at the end of October 2018 were 27 days of total petroleum products, 22 days of petrol and 17 days of diesel.

Fortunately, Australia’s future bioeconomy is ideally placed to transition regional economies and create opportunities for growing regional towns, creating high-value jobs and reducing emissions across multiple sectors.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Korn V.

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Sydney Water has appointed Aurecon and Arup as planning partners for the next 10 years, in what is believed to be the largest consultant engagement in Australia by a water utility.

Sydney Water has partnered with global engineering, design and advisory companies Aurecon and Arup for planning and design services. The two firms will have a large team co-located at Sydney Water’s Parramatta offices, as well as teams at Aurecon’s Sydney Neutral Bay office and Arup’s Sydney CBD office.

Aurecon Head of Water Kevin Werksman said the Aurecon–Arup team would provide a fresh approach to water management, with a focus on delivering fully integrated services.

“Water utilities are increasingly seeing the benefits of the partnership model as being able to much better leverage value from businesses like ours in a collaborative, non-transactional environment,” Werksman said.

“As well as additional technical engineering smarts, Aurecon and Arup will provide additional advisory services such as asset management and community consultation.”

The Aurecon–Arup team will also support Sydney Water in technical advisory and project engineering roles to see its $600 million per year capital program through to successful completion.

Arup Australasia Water Leader Daniel Lambert said Aurecon and Arup bring complementary skills and deep experience to the integrated team.

“Our joint team will provide support in strategic advisory roles, systems services planning and integrated water management, and take planning through to concept design and project engineering to facilitate smooth handover to contractor teams,” he said.

Image credit: Sydney Water.

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The UNTHA XR3000C mobil-e shredder is now operational at KTS Recycling in Melbourne. The Austrian-made machine will handle up to 30 tonnes of commercial, industrial and wood waste per hour, to manufacture the Energy from Waste resource — Process Engineered Fuel (PEF).

Previously unable to produce this high-specification fuel with only one machine, the KTS team accompanied FOCUS Enviro on several site visits across Europe, to see the UNTHA shredder in action. Impressed by the single pass shredding capabilities of this robust technology, FOCUS Enviro then set about configuring a solution that could achieve KTS’s refined <50 mm output particle requirements, with ease.

Commenting on the project, FOCUS Enviro’s Director Robbie McKernan said: “We have seen what the XR mobil-e is capable of, as it has continued to transform the throughputs, fuel quality and energy efficiency of facilities worldwide. We’ve therefore worked hard to bring this pioneering UNTHA innovation to Australia, so that it can start to revolutionise how we — as a nation — manufacture PEF.”

Mark Jeffs, owner of KTS, added: “Alternative fuel production is becoming more and more important in Australia, and as a progressive environmental company we want to be ahead of the curve.

“We acknowledged that by investing in world-class PEF production technology, we could produce a high-quality resource, efficiently, and hopefully really drive the market for this crucial energy source.”

Gary Moore, UNTHA’s Director for Global Business Development, concluded: “We know how to process a plethora of waste materials effectively, and whether the resulting fuel is going to a local cement kiln or the export market, we always work with the client to optimise throughputs, minimise impurities and maximise margins.

“Australia is one of the world’s most exciting countries when it comes to Energy from Waste potential, and it’s great to now be a part of it.”

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TRILITY recently launched SURV, a unique and innovative seized valve technology, in Australia. The service provides ultrasonic seized valve release, valve condition assessment and torque measurement. SURV is a safe and reliable alternative to seized valve replacement, and has already built a successful and proven track record within the Australia water utility sector.

A seized valve can put your business at significant risk, often requiring lengthy emergency operations, or worse — disruption to your customers and loss of supply to thousands. Failure to act quickly will cost you time, money and reputation.

Through its patented technology, SURV can help you to realise the full asset life; it will restore a valve to its operational state. Without SURV’s ultrasonic valve release technology, the same valve would otherwise require replacement.

The technology is operated by experts who are able to monitor and respond to spindle movement in a controlled manner using a multi-action process.

It can further enhance your existing asset management data through its valve diagnostics service. SURV liaises with the asset operator to develop a program of work to operate valves, through a partial or complete cycle. Through this assessment, the full characteristics of a valve’s operation performance will be diagnosed, often permitting the valve to be operated more efficiently in the future. This will enhance customer services as it minimises any potential for disruption to the network.

With safety in mind, SURV exclusively operates an intelligent ultrasonic valve release system, which is designed to reduce the risk of injury to your employees. Its mechanical valve actuation greatly reduces the risk of operator injuries, specifically around work-related musculoskeletal disorders associated with manual valve actuation.

Because safety and reputation are important and delivery to your customers is vital, you shouldn’t leave your valve maintenance to chance. SURV will give you back control of your process, while maintaining safety and saving you time, resources and money — isn’t it time you got SURVed by contracting our smart valve release services team. Take control; survey, assess and release your critical assets.

For more information, call 1300 522 170.

Performance statistics

 

Applications
  • strategic and single supply pipelines
  • strategic road, rail and river pipeline crossings
  • reservoir and storage tank maintenance and cleaning projects
  • pump station valve maintenance
  • pipelines operating at high pressure
  • pipelines that operate adjacent to, or supplying sensitive third parties
  • pipelines in poor condition
  • pre-assessment for main rehabilitation schemes
  • testing and certification of fire hydrants
  • risk mitigation in areas prone to flooding
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Traditionally, water authorities and industrial enterprises in Australia have adopted surface aerators for water oxygenation at municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). A large percentage of these WWTPs are based on earthen lagoons, with aeration being the main energy consumer associated with the treatment processes.

Surface aerators exist in various forms. There are high- or low-speed ‘splasher’ types, draft tubes, ‘brush and blade’ or paddlewheel aerators. All have reasonable oxygen transfer efficiencies of around 1.5 kg O2/kWh. The challenge lies in the position of these surface aerators — all sit or float on the surface of the water, requiring operators to ‘boat’ to them for maintenance. For units that require pontoons, there is a risk of capsizing in strong winds.

A different approach is to use a Venturi Aeration unit in conjunction with a self-priming pump. The pump draws water from the lagoon or tank, accelerates it through the aerator then pumps highly oxygenated water back into the lagoon. The aerator uses the Venturi effect to draw over 2.2 times more air than the volume of liquid pumped before intensely mixing the air and water in the unit’s oxidising zone.

In addition to delivering up to 1.86 kg of O2/kWh, a major benefit is the reduced risk of work health and safety issues. Because all monitoring and maintenance is done on the bank of the lagoon or at the side of the tank, the risks associated with ‘boating’ to units or the risks associated with the use of overhead cranes to access them is eliminated.

Another advantage of aerating with this system is the installation simplicity. Some aeration upgrades to lagoons can take weeks or months to complete, along with the risks associated with working over polluted water. The Venturi Aeration system with pump only requires a slab at the side of the lagoon.

Image caption: Venturi Aerators with Gorman-Rupp self-priming pumps. Image credit: © Hydro Innovations.

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MT100 and ST102A Multipoint Air/Gas Flow Meters from Fluid Components International (FCI) combine electronics technology with air-flow sensors in a rugged industrial package designed for demanding hazardous plant and building operating environments. The flow meters are designed to provide precision, temperature-compensated direct mass flow measurement of air, for repeatable control with low maintenance requirements.

The flow meters have application in improving the efficiency of industrial boiler air preheater (APH) systems, which depend on precise air flow measurement. All MT100 and ST102A flow meters have been independently tested and verified to comply with IEC safety directives for EMC and LVD, and carry the CE marking. Optionally available for processes with hazardous, potentially explosive gases and/or dust, they can be ordered with FM/FMc, ATEX or IECEx and other HazEx agency approvals for Division II/Zone 2 or Division 1/Zone 1.

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Western Australia’s South West Regional Waste Group (SWRWG) has called on the commercial waste management sector to submit proposals on waste management strategies and technologies that will divert the region’s waste from landfill. In addition to reducing the volume of waste sent to landfill, the group aims to explore technologies that could turn waste into valuable resources.

Securing feedback from the private sector on how companies can optimise current and future waste market conditions is an important step to inform future decision-making. Local governments are striving to align their waste management approaches with the state government, moving towards a circular economy where waste generated from one business becomes a resource for another business.

Submissions from the commercial waste sector will identify operational and commercial arrangements and will allow the SWRWG to gather technical/technological information associated with market conditions, revenue/cost recovery models and the allocation of risk. The project also aims to define a proposed project’s size, capacity and scope, with provision of technical requirements, financial models and potentially a preliminary contract structure. It is hoped that this stage will identify the economies of scale and how best to leverage these for the benefit of regional waste management practices.

In addition to sounding out the waste industry, the SWRWG will review regional waste management practices. This will involve comparing current waste and resource recovery issues against new technologies or management techniques. The capacity of waste management infrastructure will be assessed against demand, and strategies for ongoing waste stream processing will be addressed.

An alternative to landfill

The Kwinana Waste to Energy Project is one example of a landfill-free initiative, currently in progress, that will thermally treat waste to generate about 36 MW of baseload power for export to the grid each year. The ARENA-backed project will use moving grate technology to process approximately 400,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste, commercial and industrial waste and/or pre-sorted construction and demolition waste per annum, converting recovered energy into steam to produce electricity.

The thermal waste-to-energy facility is expected to divert approximately 25% of Perth’s post-recycling rubbish from landfill sites. In addition, the plant will recover and recycle metals, and re-use the remaining ash residue as construction materials.

Solutions such as this are what the group is striving for.

Project information memorandum

SWRWG has drafted a project information memorandum (PIM) to assist prospective technology and service providers. The group hopes that responses to the PIM will:

  • identify suitable landfill-diverting waste management technologies that can deployed on a regional scale in the South West of Western Australia;
  • explain the technical and operational aspects of each of these technologies so that SWRWG can form a layman’s understanding of the technology in question;
  • investigate and advise SWRWG on the proposed technology’s commercial, environmental and social viability, sustainability, practicality and cost-effectiveness;
  • investigate and advise SWRWG on options for legal/ownership structures and/or business models and/or commercial arrangements between SWRWG (or its individual members) and an operator or supplier for implementing the recommended solution.
     

A review of the current waste processing and management market, as well as the PIM, is available here.

Industry suggestions should be put together as a written submission and emailed to Altwaste@busselton.wa.gov.au for the attention of Nick Edwards.

Submissions are open until 30 November 2019.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/ponsulak

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The NOREC Recycling Process produces recycling material that is suitable for re-use in consumer and other types of packaging. With the NOREC recycling process, bags are made of primarily recycled content and are themselves recyclable, producing fewer CO2 emissions and making them suitable for closed loop systems.

The film acts similarly to bags made from virgin (unrecycled) materials providing product protection and high-quality printing for effective branding. The durability of the recycled bags makes them suitable for mini-bales and handled bags.

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Chemical analysis of the sticky threads contained in mussels is inspiring engineering innovations to address problems including oil spills and water contamination. The adhesive properties of mussels, and the possibility of their use in a wide range of surface engineering applications, have been detailed by US and Chinese researchers in a review published in the journal Matter.

Mussels attach themselves to rocks using clusters of thin, hardy byssus threads, allowing them to withstand powerful currents and waves. These threads have adhesive capabilities thanks to an amino acid group called dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA), which clings to the surface by performing a series of molecular processes, including hydrogen bonds and hydrophobic and electrostatic interactions.

Chemical engineers have found that dopamine — a molecule with a similar structure to DOPA — can adhere to many solid substrates through these molecular interactions. Research suggesting that dopamine can form a universal coating on a wide range of substrates spurred the growth of mussel-inspired chemistry as a tool for material surface engineering and environmental science.

“Mussels are broadly regarded as a nuisance in marine industries because they will colonise submerged surfaces,” said researcher Hao-Cheng Yang, from the School of Chemical Engineering and Technology at Sun Yat-sen University.

“But from another point of view, the robust attachment of mussels on substrates under water has inspired a biomimetic strategy to realise strong adhesion between materials in water.”

Several mussel-inspired innovations are already in progress. A research team in China has developed a universal red blood cell that can be accepted by individuals of every blood type. The blood cell works by using mussel-inspired coatings to shelter the cell from detection by the body’s immune system, thereby preventing the destructive immune response that would result.

Other research has succeeded in developing materials for separating oil and water, which could help to mitigate environmental damage to marine environments after oil spills. Researchers believe these innovations may be suitable for large-scale production.

Mussels have also led to advancements in water purification technology. For example, materials capable of removing heavy metals, organic pollutants and pathogens from wastewater are being developed from polymerised dopamine, which easily binds to these contaminants.

Although the binding properties of mussels show potential for future technologies, several challenges must be overcome before they can be applied in the real world. Researchers are studying the structure–property relationships of mussel-inspired chemicals such as polydopamine to better understand the complex web of interactions between amino acids, which influence their adhesive properties.

“Despite simplicity and effectiveness, there are still some inherent limitations,” said Yang. “Alkaline conditions are usually needed to realise the polymerisation of dopamine, so it cannot be applied to materials that are unstable under alkaline conditions. Moreover, the deposition of PDA [polydopamine] is a time-consuming process — it takes tens of hours to form a uniform coating on most material surfaces.”

Some researchers are looking for low-cost, stable and safe substitutes to polydopamine, such as polyphenols, in the hope of overcoming these challenges.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/oceane2508

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A newly appointed International Organization for Standardization (ISO) technical committee (TC) aims to make the global circular economy a reality by steering projects towards a sustainable agreed global standard. Known as ‘ISO/TC 323 — Circular Economy’ the committee will develop requirements, frameworks, guidance and support tools, with the aim of ensuring implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The TC comprises experts from over 65 countries, with Australia sitting as an observer member.

Any organisation, or group of organisations, wishing to implement circular economy projects, for example, commercial organisations, public services and not-for-profit organisations, is welcome to benefit from the deliverables available from ISO.

Committee Chair Catherine Chevauche commented that although many organisations ‘do their bit’ in terms of recycling or sourcing locally, we are far from a world where the economy is truly circular. “In order to have a new economic model, businesses need a new business model — what has been lacking is a truly global vision of what a circular economy really is and a model that any organisation can adopt.”

Establishment of the technical committee

AFNOR, the French national standards body and appointed secretariat of the ISO TC, made the original proposal to ISO for the establishment of a TC to focus on standardisation in the circular economy, recognising the need for a dedicated generic standard involving all countries.

In their proposal to ISO, AFNOR outlined that applying circular economy principles in processes, products and services would enable organisations to optimise resource management and implement new business models to improve resilience to environmental, social and economic challenges.

The standard is based on seven areas of action of the circular economy to create a working roadmap:

  • Sustainable procurement
  • Eco-design
  • Industrial symbiosis/ecology
  • Functional economy
  • Sustainable consumption
  • Extension of service life
  • Effective management of materials and products at the end of their life cycle.
Committee targets

A key target for the TC is to develop standards for future management systems and to provide organisations with a clear vision of the circular economy. With this in mind, the ISO/TC 323 aims to lead organisations towards favourable strategic choices.

A set of standards will help organisations integrate new economic models led by the circular economy; facilitate communication between stakeholders via shared dialogue and communication tools; allow sharing of experiences to contribute to a collective, pooled knowledge base; and steer focus towards concrete actions.

Although some international standards related to the circular economy are already in place, the new TC will develop a holistic and international approach for circular economy projects by considering interactions between all the elements contributing to sustainable development. For example, public procurement, production and distribution, resource end of life, as well as areas such as behavioural change and assessment will be addressed.

The circular economy and sustainable development

A circular economy can contribute to the achievement of several SDGs including clean water and sanitation; affordable and clean energy; decent work and economic growth; industry, innovation and infrastructure; sustainable cities and communities; responsible consumption and production; and climate action.

In the context of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the UN SDGs, economies worldwide must transform existing linear ‘make, consume, throw’ systems to models that focus on waste reduction, recycling and, where possible, transformation of waste into new products.

The global circular economy will be a powerful player in the fight against climate change, with waste reduction and recycling having the potential to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from combustion (CO2) and decomposition (methane).

Chevauche stressed the urgency to move towards a circular economy in response to the effects of resource and biodiversity depletion, climate change and the growing inequalities across countries related to the world’s production and consumption patterns.

“The members of the committee agree that there is a need to act now to develop standards in this area as quickly as possible,” she said.

“This is particularly true in developing countries, who have tended to bear the brunt of inequalities of wealth and waste in the developed world.”

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Александр Зырянов

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