We are working with RMIT scientists and engineers to help water utilities, the Environment Protection Authority and the Victorian Government reduce climate change risks and produce new resources.

  • Project dates: 2018–2020

The project addresses the biosolids component of sewage. It is using an RMIT-designed zero-carbon pryolisis (combustion) machine to convert biosolids into biochar. This generates two key benefits. First, it avoids stockpiling biosolids for long periods – thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the risk of the biosolids causing pollution in the event of heavy rain. Second, it produces biochar, which helps reduce climate change by drawing down carbon from the atmosphere, and climate resilient benefits by increasing the soil health of farm systems.

By converting human biosolids into biochar, pyrolysis offers not only a run-of-the-mill technical fix but disruptive innovation, one able to help address with water-energy-food nexus challenges. It promises to link the water sector with multiple other groups, giving the sector an opportunity to demonstrate intellectual leadership on shared problems, and helping foster new more interconnected, ambitious ways of thinking.

Key People

Lead researchers

Associate Professor Lauren Rickards

Associate Professor Lauren Rickards

Convener of Climate Change Transformations Program

Reducing climate risks and greenhouse gas emissions by transforming human biosolids into biochar

Kalpit Shah

Associate Professor

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Reducing climate risks and greenhouse gas emissions by transforming human biosolids into biochar

Sazal Kundu

Research Fellow

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Reducing climate risks and greenhouse gas emissions by transforming human biosolids into biochar

Srinivasan Madapusi

Srinivasan Madapusi

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Reducing climate risks and greenhouse gas emissions by transforming human biosolids into biochar

Jorge Paz-Ferreiro

Senior Lecturer

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Reducing climate risks and greenhouse gas emissions by transforming human biosolids into biochar

Gregory Griffin

Senior Lecturer

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Reducing climate risks and greenhouse gas emissions by transforming human biosolids into biochar

Aravind Surapaneni

South East Water

Related Content

Research Programs

Research Programs

Climate Change Transformations

Engaging with society’s climate change challenges