Advanced Water Management Centre

AWMC Director’s Report December 2018

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

2018 has flown by and has been a busy and successful year for the team, but we are now starting to slow down and take some well-deserved leave. Prof Zhiguo Yuan is currently in China and East Asia and sends his warmest wishes for the season.

The last quarter saw a number of major grant successes, with announcement of funding outcomes by the Australian Research Council in the last week of November. The AWMC achieved a number of major project successes, including Dr Guangming Jiang’s discovery project into real-time pathogen detection, and Prof Damien Batstone’s (and Tim Huelsen amongst others) discovery project on producing plastics from gas through purple bacteria.

The latter adds to Tim Huelsen’s Advanced Queensland Industry Fellowship with industry partners GHD, Aquatec Maxcon, Ridley and Inghams. Prof Jurg Keller was a leader (with Swinburne University of Technology) in establishing iHUB, an ARC funded virtual research institute to support smarter urban planning, design and management. This in addition to the new major funding initiatives with Seqwater, CRCs and PFAS earlier in 2018, has ensured a strong and diverse research program for the coming year.

February 2019 is also exciting as we will see the first intake of students in our newly launched Masters of Urban Water Engineering, a collaborative program with School of Chemical Engineering, School of Civil Engineering and AWMC. A huge congratulations to the teaching team and especially Dr Gilda Carvalho who only joined the team this year. We have a pleasing national and especially international interest in the program with strong support from industry, especially Trility, Aquatech Maxcon and Queensland Urban Utilities.

We also had a number of major outreach events in 2018, culminating in the AWMC hosting the IWA Nutrient Removal and Recovery conference in Brisbane, 18-22 November 2018, which was attended by over 285 delegates from 27 countries, with 78 presentations and 79 posters. This was a major event, with focus themes on low energy nutrient removal, as well as resource recovery.

This area is currently undergoing a major technological shift, and significant international capital investment, and the conference was critical in clarifying drivers, technologies, and potential solutions to the emerging challenges of sustainable nutrient management.

See later in the newsletter for a wrap of the awards and causes for celebration but this quarter we had success at the NRR conference with PhD students Paula Andrea Hernandez (Best Poster) and Sam Stegman (Runner up Best Paper) receiving awards, our Greenhouse Gas research team picked up an AWA award with SA Water and our UGOLD project recognised by AWA and Queensland Urban Utilities.

Also this quarter saw AWMC making an impact at the IWA World Water Congress and Exhibition and Prof Zhiguo Yuan recognised for his leadership, receiving a Distinguished Fellowship and Adjunct A/Prof Eva Abal, International Rivers Foundation, receive a Fellowship.

Prof Jurg Keller was re-elected to the Australian Water Association Board of Directors and Dr Sandra Hall was elected for the 2019-2021 term. As you can see a lot to be thankful for and to celebrate.

On behalf of the whole AWMC team we wish you and your families a wonderful summer and a very happy start to 2019.

Damien Batstone (Acting Director) and Sandra Hall (Operations and Business Development)