April Research News
Research Newsletter – April 2024

Welcome to our April 2024 Research and Innovation Newsletter.


There is some great research in this month’s newsletter, but I’ve snuck in an item about the Florida Museum’s achive of natural history imagery. Why? Because it’s beautiful. Check it out below.

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

Industry Innovation and Resilience
Image from WSAA

Water Supply Code of Australia

South East Queensland

Service Providers Edition Version 1.4 (March 2024)

WSAA is pleased to announce that, following an enormous amount of work by our partners, we have released the Water Supply Code of Australia South East Queensland Service Providers Edition Version 1.4 (March 2024).


The version of the Water Supply Code addresses the planning, design, construction, testing and commissioning of drinking water and non-drinking water supplies relevant to South East Queensland.


The Code is now available to purchase with discount for eligible members.


Click here to find out the details

Image from article
Using Smart Network Technology to Help Protect Platypus Populations

Melbourne Water and the University of Melbourne are leading a project to use Smart Network Technology to monitor and support platypus poputations in Melbourne’s Monbulk Creek.


The really interesting thing about this project is the unique matching of our knowledge about platypus and their habitat, our knowledge and capacity to manage catchments and streamflow,  and our growing technical capacity to monitor key elements of an ecosystem.


Read more at the AWA

Energy and the Circular Economy
Image from paper
Removing Microplastics from our Water with 94 Per Cent Efficiency
Researchers from the University of Waterloo claim to have created a new technology that can remove microplastics from contaminated water with 94 per cent efficiency.

Using a process called thermal decomposition, the technology converts epoxy into activated carbon, a material capable of removing nanoplastics. The researchers then used the activated carbon to treat water contaminated by nanoplastics.


Read more ath WaterOnline

Image from article
Novel Approach Reduces Wastewater Emissions

UK water utility Anglian Water is collaborating with OxyMem™ and Cranfield University to build a demonstration plant to trial a novel approach to treating wastewater.


By coupling an electrolyser and MABR (Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactor), Anglian Water aims to achieve a ‘triple carbon reduction’, in line with the aims of the Water UK Net Zero 2030 routemap, while producing green hydrogen as a renewable energy source.


Read more at AquaTech

Image from Inside Water
Energy from Evaporating Water – Have We Found the Answer?

Researchers from EPFL claim to have discovered that nanoscale devices harnessing the hydroelectric effect can harvest electricity from fluid evaporation. 


The researchers also found that hydrovoltaic devices can operate over a wide range of salinities. Which contradicts prior understanding that highly purified water was required for best performance,


Read more at Inside Water

Image from article
Low Cost Microsensors: the Future of Water Quality Monitoring
Researchers at the University of Minnesota are part of a team working on a low-cost, compact, easy-to-use, rapid water quality sensor platform enabled by artificial intelligence.
The ambition is to create sensors that are able to be deployed remotely and collect continuous, real-time data.and are integrated in an end-to-end system for the user that would include management of the data and data analytics incorporated into the entire sensor technology design.
Image produced by Gemini
Metal-Organic Framework Used to Remove Glyphosate from Groundwater
Researchers from Oregon State University have developed a method for removing glyphosate from groundwater.
The metal-organic framework, or MOF, has demonstrated an ability to completely remove and break down glyphosate when exposed to light for just five minutes. 
Image from article

New Method to Remove Organic Chemicals from Industrial Waste

Researchers from Flinders University claim that they have discovered a novel way to degrade and potentially remove toxic organic chemicals such as azo dyes using chemical photocatalysis powered by ultraviolet light.
The process involves creating metallic “clusters” of just nine gold atoms chemically “anchored” to titanium dioxide, which in turn drives the reaction by converting the energy of absorbed UV light.
Image created by Gemini
New Insights into Silica Scaling in Water Treatment
Researchers from Yale University and the US Department of Energy have conducted the first systematic investigation into the role of molecular structures and functional groups of polymeric antiscalants in stabilizing oversaturated silicic acid solutions.
The researchers synthesised a series of nitrogen-containing polymers as silica antiscalants and tested their performance in an oversaturated silicic acid solution. They discovered enormous differences in effectiveness among similar types of antiscalants.
Image from article
Researchers Produce Green Hydrogen From Wastewater 14-times Faster

Researchers from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology have created what they describe as an “ultra-fast” green hydrogen production method using municipal wastewater.


The research team tested a modular forward osmosis-water splitting (FOWS) system that integrated a thin-film composite FO membrane for water extraction with alkaline water electrolysis.


REad more at ProactiveInvestors

Image generated by Gemini
New Sensor Detects PFAS
Researchers from MIT have designed a sensor that detects tiny quantities of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as low as 200 parts per trillion in a water sample. 
As well as industrial applications, the researches hope that the method could allow consumers to test their drinking water.
The sensor is based on lateral flow technology — the same approach used for rapid Covid-19 tests and pregnancy tests. Instead of a test strip coated with antibodies, the new sensor is embedded with a special polymer known as polyaniline, which can switch between semiconducting and conducting states when protons are added to the material.
PFOS Removed From Water With New Electrocatalysis Method

Researchers from the University of Rochester have developed new electrochemical approaches to removing a specific type of PFAS called Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) from water.


The novel approach uses laser-made nanomaterials created from nonprecious metals that may lay the foundation for globally scalable remediation techniques.


Read more at WaterOnline

New Catalyst to Combat Environmental Pollution
Researchers from Bohai University in China have designed and synthesised a bifunctional catalyst that may solve the environmental pollution caused by mustard gas and phenolic compounds.
The researchers synthesized this bifunctional catalyst, a new three-dimensional polyoxovanadate-based metal-organic framework, under hydrothermal conditions.
Image from article
Using Clay to Improve River Water Quality
from Healthy Estuaries WA have applied a specially manufactured clay-based treatment to a drain in the catchment of the Peel-Harvey estuary (Bindjareb Djilba). The clay successfully bound up to 95 per cent of phosphorus at the treatment site, preventing it from fuelling algal growth in the downstream waterways.
The novel clay known as Hydrotalcite clay, or HT clay is made from a natural bentonite clay modified with hydrotalcite. The manufacturing process involves mixing several raw ingredients, causing chemical reactions where the clay becomes coated in the phosphorus-binding material.
Some interesting things
Image from article in Physics World
Spectacular Scans of Thousands Of Vertebrate Specimens Released

Researchers in the US have created a freely available repository of thousands of natural history specimens stored at the Florida Museum.


The specimens were scanned between 2017 and 2023 and allow researchers to examine them without having to dissect or sample their tissues.


There are some fantastic images and it’s worth spending a few minutes looking at this mind boggling archive.


Read some background at PhysicsWorld


Access the imagery the Florida Museam

Image from article
The World’s Largest Ocean-Based Carbon Dioxide Removal Plant

Following two successful pilot projects, Singapore national water agency, PUB and Equatic are building the world’s largest ocean-based carbon dioxide removal plant in Tuas, Singapore to demonstrate and test the technology’s effectiveness and potential future scalability.


The process removes carbon dioxide from seawater using a form of electrolysis, producing clean hydrogen and solids as by-products.


The first module will be commissioned in mid-2024, with the demonstration phase expected to last 18 months.


Read more at AquaTech

Image from paper
New Yeast Could Help Recycle Common Plastics

Researchers from have discovered that a yeast species called Yarrowia lipolytica can use the hydrocarbons found in polyolefin plastics as a food source.


To do this, the yeast alters its metabolism, focusing on energy production and the formation of lipids. The yeast also produces byproducts like citric acid, which can create biodegradable plastics like polyesters and polyurethanes.


Read more at Interesting Engineering


Read the paper here at ASM Journals

Image from article

Water Droples Dance When They Condense on Oily Surface

Researchers from KAUST in Saudi Arabia have observed that when water droplets condense from the air onto a cold surface coated with oil, the droplets commence a complex dance.
Akin to a process known as the Cheerios effect, where the floating cereal tends to cluster due to surface tension, could help to speed up the harvesting of water from the atmosphere.

Ozwater’24 is now open for registration!

First held as the Federal Convention in 1964, Ozwater is now Australia’s premier water event and the largest water conference and exhibition in the Southern Hemisphere.


Ozwater supports a program of speakers, papers, and workshops by and for people working with water to promote excellence, networking and international engagement.


Register 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

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: www.dcceew.gov.au/naturepositivesummit


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