Pollution prevention and profit from waste

We develop bioprocesses and environmental engineering based innovations for efficient waste and wastewater treatment and approaches for resource recovery.

The Challenge

Environmental discharge limits and increased treatment costs

Urban and industrial activities create a range of solid and liquid waste streams that threaten environment and human health. Coupled with this are more stringent environmental discharge limits, increasing treatment costs, declining ore grades and the potential scarcity of resources such as water and nutrients, posing major challenges to food security.

Addressing these challenges calls for technologies that facilitate efficient waste/wastewater treatment and the recovery of resources (value) from various domestic and industrial waste streams, such as sewage, mine waste and electronic waste.

Our Response

Innovative treatment and resource recovery technologies

In partnership with industry and universities, we develop biotechnological processes and environmental engineering approaches for efficient treatment of domestic and industrial waste streams and approaches to recover resources from waste.

We use phosphorous accumulating microorganisms, bioelectrochemical systems and other new bioprocesses, which can facilitate the recovery of phosphorus, nitrogen and energy from municipal and industrial waste streams.

Our research also includes optimisation of existing wastewater treatment plants for the removal of organic and inorganic impurities (e.g. phosphate, sulfate, nitrate, metals, acidity), and the recovery of metals from various metal-containing waste streams, such as electronic waste, battery waste, slags and acid mine drainage.

Our research includes:

  • Enhanced biological phosphorus removal and recovery
  • Biological removal and recovery of nitrogen from wastewater
  • Biodegradation of organic contaminants in industrial effluents
  • Biotechnical treatment of textile dye wastewater
  • Energy recovery from wastewater
  • Bioelectrochemical treatment of various waste streams including nitrogen deficient wastewater
  • Optimisation of activated sludge treatment processes
  • Optimisation of facultative wastewater stabilisation pond performance
  • Recovery of metals from metal-containing wastes and effluents.

The Results

Unlocking value from waste and improving environmental sustainability

Our research offers new options for waste management through the development of innovative bioprocesses and environmental engineering approaches.

These could make waste and wastewater treatment more sustainable and economically viable by demanding less non-renewable resources, maximising the efficiency and decreasing environmental footprint of the operations.

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