Barwon Water’s Biochar to Batteries project, which aims to achieve an innovative use for biochar, has received the Australian Water Association’s Victorian R&D Excellence Award.
Biochar, created through a carbonisation process involving the high-temperature baking of organic waste, serves as a solid carbon sink, effectively sequestering carbon that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere during waste decomposition.
The research project is linked to the development of the Regional Renewable Organics Network, which will produce biochar from organic waste.
Barwon Water Managing Director, Shaun Cumming, said that thanks to collaboration with South East Water, the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action, the City of Greater Geelong, RMIT University and Deakin University, the Biochar to Batteries project had undertaken applied research that demonstrated the suitability of biochar derived from wastewater treatment, food, and garden organics for use in Sodium Ion Batteries and supercapacitors, both of which use highly conductive carbon to transfer energy.
“Both of these energy storage technologies rely on highly conductive carbon materials to efficiently transfer energy,” Mr Cumming said.
“By repurposing organic waste into high-value biochar, we will contribute to the circular economy, reduce waste, and turn what was once considered waste into a valuable resource.
“This research not only helps mitigate climate change impacts but also enhances Victoria’s position as a hub for innovation and research in sustainable technologies.
“The Biochar to Batteries project underscores the vital role that the water sector can play in producing critical resources for the circular and new energy economy.”
The project is now eligible to enter the national awards. For more on the awards, see https://www.awa.asn.au/upcoming-events/vicgala2023.
For more on the Regional Renewable Organics Network, see https://www.yoursay.barwonwater.vic.gov.au/RRON.
The biochar process. Image courtesy of Barwon Water.