Advanced Water Management Centre

Keynote Speaker

Mike Johns

Johns Environmental

Nutrient Mining from Agri-Industry Wastes

Agriculture for the production of food for humans and animals consumes huge quantities of nutrients, particularly nitrogen and phosphorus.  These nutrients are commonly released to the environment as liquid and solid wastes during further downstream activities, especially intensive livestock operations and food processing.    The potential to capture and beneficially recycle these nutrients has been a long sought after goal.  This paper will overview the opportunities for nutrient recovery in agri-industries world-wide with a focus on both proven and emerging recovery technologies and products.  This will be illustrated using a recently completed technical and economic assessment of struvite processes to recover phosphorus from slaughterhouse wastewater.  The presentation will also examine the specific challenges of de-risking the application of capital-intensive recovery technology in the agri-industry sector, where company profitability can be volatile and dependent on factors such as seasonality and supply/demand constraints.

Mike is the Director of Johns Environmental Group based in Brisbane, Australia which specialises in industrial waste treatment, particularly in the agrifoods sector. 

Mike has a lifetime of experience in both academic and business circles working with these industries on the removal and recovery of nutrients from wastes to maximise sustainable outcomes. From 1993 to 2011 Mike was the technical adviser to the Australian red meat processing industry’s environmental R&D program.  This program was responsible for markedly improving the environmental performance of the industry, especially in terms of nutrient management and the acceptance and adoption of modern treatment technologies by industry players. He brings a profound understanding of the challenges involved in the adoption of novel technologies for nutrient recovery and removal by the agrifoods sector and the strategies which can derisk the process.

Mike’s formal qualifications include a Bachelor of Technology and PhD in biochemical engineering from Massey University, New Zealand.  He was Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at The University of Queensland until 2000 and conducted research into biological nitrogen removal from wastewater, microalgal processes and industrial crystallisation technologies including struvite and bulk protein recovery working with Genencor (US).

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For further information about this conference, please contact:

Sharon James
Conference Secretariat

p: +61 7 3346 7205
e: nrr2018@awmc.uq.edu.au