Melbourne Water is launching a competition to find innovative ways of reducing or eliminating Scope 1 greenhouse gas emissions, such as methane and nitrous oxide, from its wastewater treatment plants.

This competition provides the opportunity to submit ideas to Melbourne Water to reduce emissions, with winners sharing in a pool of up to $200,000, allowing them to take the next steps in bringing their ideas to life.

Melbourne Water emits approximately 408,000 tCO2e (tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent) per year of greenhouse gas emissions and accounts for 51 per cent of the Victorian water sector total greenhouse gas emissions.

Greenhouse gas emissions are reported as Scope 1 emissions – emissions directly emitted by Melbourne Water’s operations, mostly from wastewater treatment, and Scope 2 emissions – emissions emitted from Melbourne use of grid electricity.

In 2016, the Victorian Government published its Climate Change Framework, which included a legislated commitment to achieving zero net carbon emissions across the state by 2050.

As a government-owned business and wishing to adopt a leadership position, Melbourne Water’s Board has endorsed a pledge that commits to reaching zero net emissions by 2030, over two pledge periods. Under the Victorian State Government’s Take 2 Program 2 and by the Statement of Obligations (Emission Reduction), Melbourne Water has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent by 2024/253 and to achieve net zero emissions by 2030.

Melbourne Water has in train a number of large projects to reduce Scope 2 emissions by becoming a self-supplier of electricity. However, there are currently limited identified opportunities to materially reduce Scope 1 emissions.

Melbourne Water is seeking innovative, workable and affordable ideas that will result in lower greenhouse gas emissions while treating Melbourne’s wastewater to a high standard, now and into the future. The Innovation Competition is about thinking creatively around how sewage is treated and what changes would result in reduced Scope 1 greenhouse gas emissions.

Through the Innovation Competition, Melbourne Water isencouraging ideas to be submitted that embrace the concept of sustainable emission reduction. Ideas are welcome in:

  1. Emissions measurement and modelling, for example, atmospheric measurement of emissions from the treatment or process modelling to identifying key influences on emissions
  2. Optimisation of existing wastewater treatment processes, for example, process covers, emission capture and treatment or real-time control system for process optimisation to minimise emissions
  3. Wastewater treatment processes of the future, for example, decoupling nitrogen removal from aerobic processes or algae treatment processes

Winning entrants may have the opportunity to work with Melbourne Water to further develop their ideas and bring them to life.

This is a two-stage competition that opens on 22 October 2018 and ideas must be submitted before 5pm on 3 December 2018 (AEDT).

All ideas will be assessed by the competition jury on merit according to the evaluation criteria. Shortlisted entrants will be announced in February 2019. These selected entrants will be invited to submit a detailed solution. The final winners will be announced in mid-2019.

For more information and how to apply please visit:

Lauren ‘LJ’ Butler is the Assistant Editor of Utility magazine and has been part of the team at Monkey Media since 2018.

After completing a Bachelor of Media, Communications and Professional Writing at the University of Wollongong in 2014, and prior to writing about the utility sector, LJ worked as a Journalist and Sub Editor across the horticulture, hardware, power equipment, construction and accommodation industries with publishers such as Glenvale Publications, Multimedia Publishing and Bean Media Group.

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