Melbourne Water has announced the winner of their highly competitive local and global Innovation Competition. Competition entrants submit innovative ideas about how Melbourne Water can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

The Cranfield University/AECOM/RMIT pitch – which was a method to lower greenhouse gas emissions from sewage treatment by a whopping 90 per cent – was selected.

From a quality field of proposals, the Cranfield University/AECOM/RMIT group was assessed as the best overall detailed solution, offering potential for both a high degree of reduction in direct emissions and also improving energy efficiency, relative to conventional treatment processes.

General Manager Integrated Planning, Chris Williams, said the quality and diversity of the submissions was impressive.

“The aim of the competition was to spark innovative ideas for measuring or reducing greenhouse gas emissions from sewage treatment processes,” Mr Williams said.

“The competition encouraged a creative approach to how sewage is treated and what changes could achieve reduced greenhouse gas emissions.”

The detailed solution from the Cranfield University/AECOM/RMIT group included some unit operations which are established and mature technologies, and combines these with newer elements in a way that reduces dependency on biological processes that are more prone to greenhouse gas emissions.

AECOM’s Technical Director, Peter Hillis, said the group is excited to be moving into the next phase of work.

“On behalf of the group, I would like to thank Melbourne Water for the opportunity to develop our approach and a new paradigm in wastewater treatment,” Mr Hillis said.

The competition prize was co-funded by Liveability Victoria and will be used to further develop and test key elements of the proposal at lab scale.

This is expected to take around eight months. Beyond this, further design and pilot scale testing work would be required to assess potential feasibility for larger scale implementation.

Siobhan Day is the Assistant Editor of Utility magazine and Pump Industry magazine, and has been part of the team since early 2019. With a background in management in the non-profit sector, Siobhan has extensive experience in communications, professional writing and client management. She holds a Bachelor of Business and Communications and is currently completing a postgraduate degree.

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