Wastes to Profits Newsletter – Jun 2019



View this email in your browser

Newsletter – June 2019

The Wastes to Profits Project Overview

The Wastes to Profits project aims to capture a potential market opportunity for the livestock sector in excess of AUD$100 million per year by converting wastes into valuable products.

The Wastes to Profits project brings together stakeholders from across Australia’s animal industries with technology, research and development providers. The project delivers advanced technologies to convert wastes from livestock production and municipal water treatment into fertilisers, feeds, chemicals, and energy products for use in agriculture. The overall aim of the project is to improve productivity and enhance profitability for primary producers.

The project focuses on the following 4 areas;

  • Area 1: Assessing waste streams from the livestock sector, developing business models and pathways to adoption to promote commercial application of project outcomes;
  • Area 2: Developing technologies for improved management of wastes with a key focus on anaerobic digestion as a platform for energy production from waste;
  • Area 3: Developing technologies for the production of nutritionally-advanced feeds – featured in this newsletter; and
  • Area 4: Developing technologies for production of fertilisers, chemicals, plastics, and energy products.

Area 3 is featured in more detail in this newsletter below, for more information on each area please visit the website or contact us. We will provide more detail on the other project areas in future newsletters.

We welcome your interest, involvement and feedback throughout this 4 year project from 2018 to 2021. Please make sure to visit the website, sign up to the newsletter and encourage your colleagues to do the same. If you need more information or want to become actively involved in the project, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Project Research

Each newsletter in 2019 we will provide an overview of the Wastes to Profits Project research Areas.

Picture: Feeding fish in aquaculture farm

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

Area 3 is led by Queensland University of Technology researcher Associate Professor Robert Speight.
Globally the demand for sustainable, lower cost and more effective animal feeds is growing. Nutritious animal feeds maximise animal performance and efficiency, influencing the sustainability of animal production. Animal health and performance is reliant on a targeted diet of carbohydrates, protein, fat, minerals, vitamins and water as well as optimised supplements.

In Australia, drought is affecting the availability and costs of animal feed. The addition of protein, amino acids, vitamins, probiotics, enzymes and other nutritional additives may be required to maintain productivity and health. Area 3 offers a suite of biological waste conversion processes to produce new sustainable nutritious animal feed products.  The processes contribute towards “zero waste” goals in the industry and could provide potential new revenue streams in the order of $80 million per year.

In collaboration with the meat processing and animal feed industries, various solid, liquid and gaseous waste streams will be converted using a range of processes based on different biological systems to produce animal feed products. Area 3 currently includes four activities which are focused on delivering cost-effective and scalable production processes for products that will improve nutritional performance:

  1. Microbes will convert solid and liquid wastes to feed protein that is optimised for the co-production of other important nutrients, therefore significantly enhancing the value.
  2. Microalgae will be used to convert liquid wastes, including from anaerobic digestion, into algal products and clean water that could be reused on site.
  3. Novel engineered co-cultures of microorganisms will be investigated to convert crude biogas from anaerobic digestion into nutritional feed protein.
  4. Biological and enzymatic conversion processes will be used on wastes to produce high-value nutritionally enhanced feed protein and bioactive peptides.

Area 3 will develop technologies at laboratory and transferred to pilot scale so that the processed can be assessed for economic feasibility and the products can be tested for safety and efficacy in livestock feeding trials. The feeding trials will be focused on assessing the feed performance to build a business case for their use and provide initial data for regulatory approvals. Please contact us if you would like more information or to participate in the work.

Our People

Each newsletter we will feature part of the Wastes to Profits Project team, which could be any individual or team from the 17 Project Partners.

Picture: QUT Industrial Biotechnology team, A/Prof Robert Speight pictured right hand side top row.

Associate Professor Robert Speight is an established industrial biotechnology researcher focused on microbial biotechnology, enzyme engineering and protein production systems for industrial biotechnology applications. He previously co-founded and helped build UK biotech company, Ingenza, which provides efficient, scalable bioprocesses for the manufacture of chemicals, biologics, pharmaceuticals and biofuels from sustainable sources.

Rob is involved with collaborative transdisciplinary projects around converting waste to value, including how to make sugarcane waste (bagasse) more nutritious and digestible as animal feed by adding new supplements such as microbial protein, probiotics and enzymes. The work extends to the scale-up of supplement production and livestock testing to accelerate the path to market. He is also leading a project examining how to close the loop on fashion waste by identifying how to separate and extract fibres from mixed fabrics to produce reusable single component yarns.

Rob believes by working together with key industry partners and funding bodies, we can move research up the ‘technology readiness scale’ by optimising scale-up and conducting field testing to address regulatory and safety barriers to commercialisation.

Engagement and Collaboration

If there are specific meetings, events or sites that you would like to see the team present or attend – please contact us.

Wastes to Profits Annual Workshop

The Wastes to Profits project partners and researchers attended the Annual Workshop on 29 March 2019 at QUT Gardens Point Campus in Brisbane. Over 50 people attended, great representation from all partners allowed for productive design-led innovation approach to identify key success factors for the Wastes to Profits project.

Wastes to Profits Meet & Greet – June 

Our June 2019 Meet and Greet was held at Queensland Urban Utilities Luggage Point STP with over 40 representatives from the projects researchers and industry partners. We had an excellent site tour in groups and presentations on the progress made in the Wastes to Profits project, including relevant past and present research.

Collaboration across the Country

Project Manager, Lisa van den Berg whilst in Western Australia travelled 140km south of Perth to visit project partner Harvey Beef. In 2019 Harvey Beef celebrates 100 years of supplying Western Australian beef. Harvey Beef works closely with WA cattle farmers and is committed to sustainability from paddock to plate.

WA Bioenergy Symposium – May

The WA Bioenergy Symposium provided great opportunity for networking and presented real commercial examples of projects across Australia. Site tours were offered for the pilot scale gasification, pyrolysis and separation facilities at Curtin University and Biogass Richgro Plant Anaerobic Digestion facilities.

Engaging with the Dairy Industry

Thank you to Dairy Australia and the Dairy Manufacturers Sustainability Council for the opportunity to present at “Gaining further value from Dairy processing by-products and organic waste streams”. Prof Ian O’Hara presented at the March 2019 meeting in Melbourne.

North Australia Beef Research Council

Dr Mark Harrison attended the NABRC March 2019 meeting in Townsville which provided opportunities to engage directly with the northern beef industry. The Wastes to Profits project was presented at the May 2019 Southern Queensland Regional Beef Research Council meeting in Dalby.

Sample collection from regional sites

In April, one of the Wastes to Profits project partners, Teys Australia, welcomed some of the research team to one of their regional Queensland sites. The team were keen to collect samples for research and learn more about the companies innovative processing and by-product management.

Awarded for Research Innovation

Congratulations to our Wastes to Profits project partners Queensland Urban Utilities and the University of Queensland U-GOLD team on being awarded a Highly Commended in the Australian Water Association Research Innovation awards at the OzWater19 conference in Melbourne. To learn more click here.

Upcoming Events

Each newsletter we will feature upcoming events that are relevant to the project. If there are events that you would like to see the team present or attend – please contact us.

Australian Agriculture Immersive Technology Conference
10th – 11th July 2019, Melbourne Exhibition and Conference Centre, Victoria

Australian Renderers Association, 15th International Symposium (Bi-Annual)
23rd – 26th July 2019, Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart, Tasmania

Food Tech QLD 2019
28th – 30th July 2019, Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Queensland

2019 National Fodder Conference
29th – 31st July 2019, Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, NSW

Australian Clean Energy Summit
30th – 31st July 2019, ICC Sydney, NSW

Northern Beef Research Update Conference
19th – 22nd August 2019, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, QLD

13th International Congress on Engineering and Food, ICEF13
23rd – 26th September 2019, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, VIC

Co-located events 23rd – 24th Oct 2019, Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre, VIC:

Australasian Waste and Recycling Expo 2019
30th – 31st Oct 2019, International Convention Centre, Sydney, NSW

TropAg: Shaping the science of Tomorrow
11th -13th Nov 2019, Brisbane, QLD

Bioenergy STRONG 2019
13th -14th November 2019, Brisbane, QLD.

The Asia-Pacific Bioeconomy Policy Summit 2019
15 November 2019, Brisbane, QLD.

APSA Australasian Pig Science Association Conference
17th – 20th Nov, Hilton Adelaide, SA

Red Meat 2019 & MLA AGM
18th – 21st Nov 2019, Tamworth, NSW

WEC – World Engineers Convention Australia 2019
20th – 22nd Nov 2019, Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre, VIC

Australian Waste to Energy Forum
18 – 20 February 2020, Mecure Ballarat, VIC

Key Contacts

Chair, Wastes to Profits Steering Committee
Doug McNicholl
Relationship Manager, Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA)
e: dmcnicholl@mla.com.au
p: 0439 275 794

Chief Investigator, Wastes to Profits
Prof Ian O’Hara
Principal Research Fellow, Queensland University of Technology (QUT)
e: i.ohara@qut.edu.au
p: (07) 3138 1551

Project Manager, Wastes to Profits
Lisa van den Berg
Queensland University of Technology (QUT)
e: lisa.vandenberg@qut.edu.au 
p: 07 3138 1415





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