Wastes to Profits Newsletter – Sept 2019


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Newsletter – September 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; and
  • Area 4: Developing technologies for production of fertilisers, chemicals, plastics, and energy products – featured in this newsletter.

Area 4 is featured in more detail in this newsletter below, for more information on each area please visit the website or contact us. The summary of  the Wastes to Profits latest progress report Dec 2018 – July 2019 can be found on the website soon.

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: Potted plants

Area 4: Development of technologies for production of fuels, energy, chemicals, and fertiliser products

Area 4 is led by Queensland University of Technology researcher Doctor Mark Harrison. Global consumers are increasingly choosing products that are considered sustainable and environmentally-friendly. As a result, being ‘clean and green’ is likely to become less about attracting a premium in the market and more about market access. Australia is a net exporter of agricultural products and will face increasing pressure to demonstrate the sustainability of its production systems, including red meat production.

Research teams in Area 4 are collaborating with the meat processing sector and emerging anaerobic digestion sector to convert bloodmeal, paunch, dissolved air flotation sludge, and anaerobic digestate into:

  1. Renderable bioplastics that can be used in meat processing facilities without contributing to extraneous matter in rendered products;
  2. Bio-crude oil that can be upgraded into renewable diesel, jet fuel, and marine fuel, and nutrient concentrates for agricultural application;
  3. Fertilisers, soil amendments, and compost products of defined nutritional value that are compatible with standard farm equipment; and
  4. Novel, biodegradable biocomposites with broad application in agriculture.

Area 4 will develop new commercial products that add value to anaerobic digestate and waste streams from the meat processing sector. These products will help underpin the long-term economic viability of meat production in Australia and reduce the environmental impact of the industry, thereby enhancing its domestic social ‘license to operate’ and its reputation internationally as a ‘clean and green’ industry producing safe, high-quality meat and meat products. The outcomes of Area 4 will be measured through profitability increases achieved using new technologies, reduced input costs, and improved productivity. 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: Dr Mark Harrison.

Dr Mark Harrison is a biochemist with extensive basic, applied, and commercial research experience. He is a Senior Research Fellow and foundation member of the Queensland University of Technology Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities. Mark also provides consulting services to the Australian food and bio-industrial sector.

Mark leads collaborative research teams focused on the conversion of agricultural residues into more valuable food, feed, fibre, fine chemical, and fuel products (https://research.qut.edu.au/biorefining/), including fibre modification to enhance digestibility in ruminants and non-ruminants, production of soluble sugar products from plant biomass, production of single cell protein using crop residues as substrates, isolation of natural plant products, bioactives, and nutraceuticals, biomass pretreatment chemistry, and development and integration of alternative biorefinery crops (sweet sorghum and agave).

Mark is passionate about engaging with a wide range of industry partners across the agricultural sector, getting to understand the challenges they face at specific sites and across their industry sector, and identifying opportunities for research to deliver technology solutions to those challenges.

Engagement and Collaboration

In this section we highlight specific events, engagement and collaboration activities of the Wastes to Profits team. If there are specific meetings, events or sites that you would like to see the team present or attend – please contact us.

Northern Beef Research Update Conference 2019

In August, Wastes to Profits team members attended the NBRUC 2019 meeting held in Brisbane. It was the perfect opportunity to network and learn latest results and technical information about key areas of beef cattle research and management in northern Australia.

Media Release – Murdoch University

Wastes to Profits project partner Murdoch University released a media article on the Area 3 sub-project which focuses on the use of microaglae to reduce nutrients in water and produce biomass for animal feed. Pictured is of Prof Parisa Bahri and A/Prof Navid Moheimani, you can read about the the media release here.

Wastes to Profits –  Posters

Prof Bernadette McCabe from the University of Southern Queensland and collaborator Dr Dio Antille from CSIRO presented two Wastes to Profits posters at the ASABE conference in July 2019. The posters presented the opportunities for organic waste aggregation for co-digestion and development of organomineral fertilisers form Anaerobic Digestate respectively.

AMPC Network Industry Forum Meetings

AMPC has put together a series of new events between July and November to enable better communication between the meat processing sector, research providers, industry bodies and regulators. A representative from the Wastes to Profits project will be presenting an overview at each event.

ARA 15th International Symposium

In July, Dr Mark Harrison attended the Australian Renderers Association 15th International Symposium in Hobart Tasmania. It was a great opportunity to engage more broadly with the rendering industry and discuss the potential opportunities to add value to current products and explore new products.

National Innovation Games – Waste Management & Australia’s Landfill

The Wastes to Profits project was privileged to participate in the National Innovation Games series launch hosted by Karen Andrews MP on 21st August in the Gold Coast. Over 70 students and graduates partnered with 10 local small to medium businesses to innovate solutions to better mange waste and reduce Australia’s Landfill. A Wastes to Profits project partner participated as one of the local businesses, and the Wastes to Profits project manager, Lisa van den Berg, participated as a Challenge Lab Mentor and was part of the Judging Panel.

In partnership with the Hon. Karen Andrews, MP, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, the Federal Government of Australia and COSBOA (Council of Small Business Australia), Paddl Co. will deliver thirty innovation challenges over the next two years nationwide.

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.

2019 WasteQ Conference
15th – 17th Oct 2019, The Annex, Toowoomba, QLD

Australia New Zealand Biochar Conference & Study Tour 2019
20th – 26th Oct 2019, The Green Triangle & Melbourne, 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 Nov 2019, Brisbane, QLD.

The Asia-Pacific Bioeconomy Policy Summit 2019
15th Nov 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

ANZBP/Water Corporation WA Roadshow and Site Tour
19th Nov 2019, Water Corporation, Leederville, WA

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

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

2020 AWA and IWA Young Water Professionals Conference
12th – 13th Mar 2020, The Hotel Grand Chancellor Brisbane, QLD

2020 National Sustainability Conference
27th – 28th April 2020, The Callie Hotel, Brisbane, QLD

Ozwater 2020
5th – 7th May 2020, Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide, SA

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.