Circular economy potential within the Australian and NZ water sectors

Optimising the circular economy potential of organic waste co-digestion within Australia's water sector

Jurgen Thiele, Ragini Prasad, Adele Faraone, Calibre Group, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

This paper goes to showcase just how the Australia Water Sector can realise a number of benefits relating to the circular economy. Specifically it shows that there is significant scope to increase biogas production, reduce waste going to landfill while also demonstrating improved biodegradation of the biosolids and generating products with greater marketability. This is shown to be achieved in a relatively cost effective manner using existing digester infrastructure and therefore operational resources while drawing on a number of organic waste streams. Through the collaboration of the water and waste sectors there is significant opportunity to minimize environmental harm while improving commercial outcomes for both sectors.  Read full document

Opportunities for embedding circular economy principles in Australia's water sector

Ragini Prasad, Dr Jurgen Thiele, Robert Saunders, Dr Neil Thompson, Calibre Professional Services, Melbourne, Australia

This paper explores specific ways in which the Australian water sector can start making this transition and through using anaerobic digestion, explores how value can be derived from the whole value chain of wastewater. Some of the key opportunities include carbon sequestration through biochar, embedding hydrogen technology and market based solutions where the water sector can partner up with industry and agriculture to create a regional methane economy.  The Australian Water Sector has long been operating under a ‘take-make-consume-dispose’ model and the need to shift to a circular economy is rapidly becoming apparent with the impending challenges of climate change, population growth and increased costs. Radical solutions are necessary to facilitate this transition. Read full document

Pathways to a carbon neutral water industry

Jurgen H Thiele, Calibre, Christchurch, New Zealand

Simple, proven and affordable decarbonisation tools for the water industry are important to address the rapidly growing challenges of climate change. Using the New Zealand water industry and municipal WWTPs as examples, this paper demonstrates a range of modern waste to energy solutions that render municipal treatment plants energy self sufficient, have rapid financial payback and ultimately achieve nett zero carbon emission performance for the water industry (= carbon neutrality). We show the results of model calculations and implementation scenarios to demonstrate the pathways. Typical investment payback periods at current carbon prices are less than 4 years.  Read full document

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