Pilot-scale production of enhanced-value anaerobic digestion waste-derived bioproducts on the Darling Downs
As a result of population growth, volumes of biodegradable wastes including food and wastewater sludge will continue to increase in Australia. Disposal of these to landfill is not sustainable from either an environmental or resource-recovery perspective and anerobic digestion is recommended.
Breaking down food waste and sludge through an anaerobic digestion process to make biogas has the advantage of producing a biofertiliser which enables the nutrients from the food to be put back into the environment, rather than being lost to landfill. This digestate is a nutrient-rich substance that can be used as a fertiliser for agricultural applications.
There are currently logistical and practical difficulties that need to be overcome for digestate to be acceptable to the farming community, including balancing the chemical composition of the end product. There are also physical properties of this end product that do not currently meet the requirements of modern farming practices and farm equipment, which need to be addressed to enable wide-spread utilisation of digestate.
Addressing these issues will help farmers to supplement or replace their current mineral fertilisers with fertiliser from organic waste, while helping to reduce Australia’s food waste problem.
This project will utilise a pilot scale granulator to process digestate derived from anaerobic digestion of food waste and sewerage sludge (biosolids) to produce an enhanced, practical, usable biofertiliser. New products from the digestate will be developed to ensure it meets the requirements of modern farm equipment and the nutritional needs of the crops.
The development of a value-add product from digestate will open up the market for anaerobic digestion, helping to significantly reduce the amount of food waste and other organic matter being sent to landfill and also improve resource use efficiency. Both growers and the wastewater industry and municipalities will realise tangible benefits through reduced reliance on mineral fertilisers and the reduced cost of disposal, while at the same time improving the economic returns from anerobic digestion.
This project will increase the uptake of biofertilisers through significantly improving the quality of the material through appropriate product design and utilisation of processing equipment.
As this project progresses and achieves its milestones, we’ll share the good news on this page by adding information, links, images, interviews and more.
October 2020 – October 2021