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.
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.