In broad terms, biotechnology may be considered as any technology based on biology, for example technologies that harness microbiology and biomolecular processes to reduce or prevent environmental pollution (Environmental biotechnology) or generate new and sustainable value-add products (Industrial biotechnology).
Environmental biotechnology is a strength at AWMC and has already had a long and successful history in wastewater treatment. Common technologies utilising microorganisms include biological nutrient removal, anaerobic digestion for removal of organic contaminants and biological filters for odour management. While effective, these technologies can be energy intensive and tend to focus on removal or stabilisation, rather than recovery.
AWMC researchers are advancing environmental biotechnology through development of more efficient operating strategies able to utilise existing infrastructure and alternative processes including high rate activated sludge, mainline anammox, anaerobic membrane bioreactors, and photobioreactors.
At the same time AWMC is driving a paradigm shift from waste treatment to resource recovery using the latest genomic and transcriptomic approaches to inform process design. This innovative approach combined with the latest research tools will enable the next generation of wastewater treatment for full resource recovery, including existing and emerging value-add products such as microbial protein, biopolymers, bioenergy, biofertilizers and commodity chemicals.