May Research News
Research Newsletter – May 2024

Welcome to our May 2024 Research and Innovation Newsletter.


There are an army of researchers out there looking for solutions to make our economy more circular, find creative uses for our waste and provide a food grade product to our kitchen taps. 


It is astonishing how much research they produce from month to month. This month is no exception. Read on to see what they have been up to.

If you’ve stumbled on this newsletter and would like to receive future editions please click here to subscribe.

Industry Innovation and Resilience
Image from website
National Water Reform 2024: interim report

The National Water Reform 2024, interim report finds that the 2004 National Water Initiative (NWI) has served Australia well, but there is an urgent need for renewal, due to climate change and changing water demand.


The interim report also sets out the Commission’s preliminary assessment of jurisdiction’s progress towards meeting the outcome and objective of the 2004 National Water Initiative.


Read more at the Productivity Commission

Image from article on WaterWorld
New Maximum Contaminant Levels
for Six PFAS
The US EPA has announced new regulations for PFAS that include establishing Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCL) for six PFAS contaminants. In addition, the US government has made available US $1 billion through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help states and territories implement PFAS testing and treatment.
Public water systems have five years (by 2029) to implement solutions that reduce these PFAS if monitoring shows that drinking water levels exceed these MCLs.
Some in the water industry have a different perspective.
Image from article
UK Set to Ban Wet Wipes Containing Plastic

The UK Government is introducing new world-leading legislation to ban wet wipes containing plastic. 


Wet wipes containing plastic break down into microplastics over time, which research shows can be harmful to human health and disrupt our ecosystems.


Responses to the public consultation showed overwhelming support for the proposed ban.


Read more at Smart Water Magazine

Energy and the Circular Economy
Image from DALL.E
New Framework to Measure Plastic Emissions
Researchers at the University of Toronto have developed a framework for measuring plastic pollution emissions – not unlike the global standard for measuring greenhouse gas emissions.
Using Toronto as a model, the first-of-its-kind framework suggests that, in one year alone, Canada’s largest city emitted nearly 4,000 tonnes of plastic pollution.
Image from DALL.E
Tyre Toxicity Faces Fresh Scrutiny
Researchers led by scientists at Washington State University have found that a chemical linked to the wear of car tyres is responsible for significant die-offs of coho salmon in Seattle area creeks.
A startling statistic is that car tyres emit 1 trillion ultrafine particles per kilometre driven.
Image from article on AquaTech
New Lateral Flow PFAS Detector
Researchers at MIT are developing a sensor for PFAS based on lateral flow technologies similar to the test used to detect Covid-19. 
Researchers at MIT are currently working on improving the sensors further, in ways that potentially could see their use extended to larger industrial settings.
Carollo Engineers Introduces XBAT: a New Approach to Water Purification
Engineers from Carollo have developed a new technology called XBAT that they claim will reduce salinity and total organic carbon without reverse osmosis, empowering communities to embrace potable reuse.
XBAT also has the capacity to remove anions, such as nitrate, phosphate, and bromide, thus solving a wide range of pervasive and previously intractable water quality challenges.
Image from paper
More Efficient Filters Based on Cellulose Waste
Researchers at Vienna University of Technology have developed a special nanostructure to filter a widespread class of harmful dyes from water.
A crucial component is a material that is considered waste: used cellulose, for example in the form of cleaning cloths or paper cups. The cellulose is used to coat a fine nano-fabric and create an efficient filter for contaminated water.
Image from article
Novel Hydrogel Removes Microplastics From Water

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) claim to have designed a sustainable hydrogel to remove microplastics from water.


The novel hydrogel consists of three different polymer layers – chitosan, polyvinyl alcohol and polyaniline – intertwined together, making an Interpenetrating Polymer Network (IPN) architecture.


The team infused this matrix with nanoclusters of a material called copper substitute polyoxometalate (Cu-POM). The combination of the polymers and nanoclusters resulted in a strong hydrogel with the ability to adsorb and degrade large amounts of microplastics.


Read more at WaterOnline

Image from article
New Material Could Transform the Plastics Industry

Researchers from the University of Tokyo claim to have created a novel and eco-friendly plastic which has superior strength and elasticity compared to regular plastic while also demonstrating shape memory, self-healing properties, and partial biodegradability.


The researchers claim that the material is over five times as resistant to breaking as a typical epoxy resin vitrimer and repairs itself 15 times as fast, can recover its original memorised shape twice as fast, and can be chemically recycled 10 times as fast. It even biodegrades safely in a marine environment.


Read more at TCD

Image of gloved hand
New Approach to Monitoring Freshwater Quality

Researchers at the University of Cambridge and Trent University, Canada have developed a new approach to water quality analysis.


The approach uses a technique uses high-resolution mass spectrometry to analyse water samples. Within an hour this provides a comprehensive overview of all the organic molecules present.


Microparticles from car tyres, pesticides from farmers’ fields, and toxins from harmful algal blooms are just some of the organic chemicals that can be detected using the new approach, which also indicates the impact these chemicals are likely to have in a particular river or lake.


Read more at WaterOnline

Image from DALL.E
Microbes Could Detoxify Scottish Water Sources

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, are sequencing the DNA of bacteria found in areas polluted by acid mine drainage.


The researchers claim that bacteria not only survived these conditions but had the potential to detoxify the environment by removing polluting heavy metals.


Read more at WaterOnline

Image from WikiPaedia
New Bacterium Holds Promise for Improved Wastewater Treatment
New research from Radboud University in the Netherlands has revealed a new bacterium, comammox, that has been shown to create favourable conditions for the anammox bacterium to operate.
Anammox is a bacterium that can convert nitrogen directly into nitrogen gas without oxygen. However, these bacteria are exacting. Anammox bacteria need the correct nitrogen-nitrite ratio. 
Comammox has the ability to ensure the right ratio for the anammox bacterium, which, in turn, means the anammox bacterium can carry out its job more efficiently.
Image from article
Ice Stupas Work in the Himalayas, but Can They Work in Chile?
A group of Chilean engineers is attempting to build ice stupas in Chile. Ice stupas are a popular water management tool in the Himalayas. 
Every winter across the Himalayas for decades, human-made reservoirs have been capturing glacial meltwater from streams and preserving it in the form of ice.
The Chilian engineers are attempting to transfer this technology to their country’s high mountain glaciers.
Some interesting things
Image from article

New UK Underground Asset Register

In the UK, a new National Underground Asset Register (NUAR), a digital map of utility assets under the ground, promises to make planning and executing excavations much easier for underground asset owners and save the UK economy billions.
The concept was initiated during Northumbrian Water Group’s Innovation Festival in 2018 and has since been developed by a number of partners and turned into a reality by the Geospatial Commission.
Image from article
Internet Can Achieve Quantum Speed with Light Saved as Sound

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute have developed a new way to create quantum memory: A small drum can store data sent with light in its sonic vibrations, and then forward the data with new light sources when needed again.


The results demonstrate that mechanical memory for quantum data could be the strategy that paves the way for an ultra-secure internet with incredible speeds.


Read more at PhysOrg

Voices from the Bush Conference 2024

10 – 11 September 2024, Alice Springs


This conference has been created as a dedicated space for open dialogue on the pressing matters affecting regional and remote Australian communities. The focus is on sharing, connecting, and promoting thought leadership, acknowledging the particular significance and challenges relating to water in the lives and livelihoods of our rural and remote communities.


Read more here

Image from website
International Cleanup Conference – Adelaide 2024

15 – 19 September 2024, Adelaide


The 10th International Contaminated Site Remediation Conference incorporating the 4th International PFAS Conference.


Join delegates from Australia and around the world to help build professional skills on PFAS management, human health risk assessment, bioremediation and more.


More Information Here

Circular Economy for Climate and Environment

Sep 29 – Oct 2, University of Technology Sydney


This conference aims to serve as a dynamic platform, bringing together researchers from academia, industries, government, and NGOs on a global scale.


The conference’s thematic scope extends across circular economy applications in water, energy, environment, waste, resource recovery, and climate change.


Read more here

Global Nature Positive Summit

Australia will host the first Global Nature Positive Summit at the International Convention Centre in Sydney on 8-10 October 2024.

The Summit will bring together delegates from around the world including ministers, environment groups, Aboriginal peoples, business, scientists and community leaders, to consider how to supercharge investment in projects that repair nature.


The Global Nature Positive Summit is an invitation-only event.

To register your interest in hearing more about the Summit, please go to:


If you see any interesting articles, projects or news about new research that others might be interested in, please send to [email protected] – it could even make the next newsletter due in May 2024.

Research Data Australia

Find, access, and re-use data from over one hundred Australian research organisations

Australian Government – GrantConnect
Forecast and current Australian Government grant opportunities

Amazing Trove of Water Industry Research!

UK Water Industry Research have made their trove of research available without charge.


Click here to go to the UKWIR library


Click here to start your journey