Wastes to Profits

Project dates: 29/10/2018 - Ongoing

Australia’s animal industries produce significant quantities of wastes from on-farm production, intensive feed and processing sectors. The management of these wastes is a significant cost for these industries exceeding AUD$100-200 million per year. In addition, primary production and processing costs are rising and there is an ongoing need to improve productivity to maintain future industry profitability. There are significant opportunities to create new business models for improved management of wastes, unlocking new revenue streams for Australia’s animal industries.

The objective of the Project is to develop technologies and business models for the conversion of wastes from the red meat, dairy, pork and municipal waste industries into valuable products resulting in productivity and profitability improvements for primary producers. This will be achieved through:

  1. Assessing waste streams, developing business models and pathways to adoption;
  2. Developing technologies for the improved management of wastes including advanced anaerobic digestion;
  3. Developing technologies for the production of nutritionally-advantaged feeds; and
  4. Developing technologies for production of fertilisers, chemicals, plastics, and energy products.

The project brings together key stakeholders from across Australia’s animal industries and technology, research and development providers to deliver advanced technologies to convert wastes from intensive animal production (e.g. feedlots), food processing, and municipal water treatment into fertilisers, feeds, chemicals, and energy products for use in agriculture. The project consists of 4 areas with activities under each area;

Area 1 – Wastes assessments, business models and pathways to adoption

Area 1 addresses key information gaps on waste composition and quantity and investigates waste aggregation opportunities. Information from Area 1 will inform the broader project to ensure the project outcomes are identified, measured, and communicated across the sectors.

Area 2 – Development of technologies for improved waste management

Area 2 includes development of novel pre-treatment and waste processing strategies (such as mechanical, chemical algal and enzymatic) to prepare wastes for value-adding; ways of improving efficiency of anaerobic digestion (AD) processes from animal wastes to increase biogas yields and lower costs; opportunities to increase adoption of AD; utilisation of additives in AD to increase biogas yields and nutrient recovery; algae bioprospecting, cultivation, dewatering and conversion process design for effective AD effluent treatment.

Area 3 – Development of technologies for production of nutritionally-advanced feeds

Opportunities to produce new animal feed products from wastes, including nutritionally enhanced single cell protein, probiotics, algae and enzyme supplements, will contribute to a sustainable feedbase and deliver improvements in animal productivity which will be measured through feeding trials.

Area 4 – Development of technologies for production of fertilisers, chemicals, plastics and energy products

Area 4 involves the development of technologies for the production of new products incorporating protein-based bioplastics; technologies for the hydrothermal processing of animal wastes and digestates; algal treatment of AD wastes to produce algal fertilisers; market opportunities for fertilisers, soil amendment and compost products from animal industry wastes and residues of the technologies developed in this project; biosolids-derived organomineral fertilisers from anaerobic digestion digestate.

This project is supported by Meat and Livestock Australia through funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources as part of its Rural R&D for Profit program and the partners shown below.

Leadership Team

Partners

Australian Government – Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

Meat and Livestock Australia

Aduro Biopolymers Australian Lamb Company
Australian Meat Processor Corporation

Australian Pork
Barwon Water

Dairy Australia
Harvey Beef

JBS Australia
Murdoch University Queensland University of Technology
Queensland Urban Utilities Ridley Ridley
Teys Australia University of Queensland The University of Queensland
University of Southern Queensland

 


Funding / Grants

  • This project is supported by Meat and Livestock Australia through funding from the Australian Government - Department of Agriculture and Water Resources as part of its Rural R&D for Profit program.