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USQ expertise applied to national wastewater project

The University of Southern Queensland has been named as a research partner in a new $2million Industrial Transformation Research Hub that aims to reshape how wastewater infrastructure is built in the future.

The ARC Research Hub for Nutrients in a Circular Economy will be led by the University of Technology Sydney, with the University of Southern Queensland’s Centre for Agricultural Engineering taking the lead on an industry evaluation project.

Chief Investigator Professor Bernadette McCabe said the University would work with industry to evaluate the value and impact of urine-derived fertiliser on soil and plant production.

“We’ll be collaborating with Queensland Urban Utilities, Department of Environment and Science, as well as the Parklands Service from Brisbane City Council to do this work, which also includes trialling the fertiliser in different land applications, from horticulture and agriculture to parks and gardens,” Professor McCabe said.

“Designing resilient wastewater infrastructure to tackle the pressures of urban intensification, waterways pollution and climate change is so important on both a national and global scale, and it speaks to the University of Southern Queensland’s expertise in this area that we are involved in a project with the potential to be so transformational.”

The ARC Research Hub for Nutrients in a Circular Economy aims to change the wastewater industry with an unprecedented, city-scale circular economy of nutrients based on urine separation and processing at building level, to produce safe and effective liquid fertilisers.

The Hub also expects to bring two urine processing technologies to commercial readiness, and to produce new regulations and business models for the circular economy to add resilience to the wastewater and urban farming industries and create market opportunities for new Australian technologies.

Other Hub research partners include University of Technology Sydney, University of Melbourne, Western Sydney University and Griffith University.

woman standing in field
Professor Bernadette McCabe (USQ Photography)