Welcome to our August 2023 Research and Innovation Newsletter.
There is everything you could possibly need to know in this newsletter. There is even an article about how to resuscitate worms. Yes, it’s true. Look below if you don’t believe me.
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 September 2023.
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Water Back: A Framework for Future Research Sovereignty
This is really interesting work from an international collaboration of researchers, including Ass. Prof. Bradley Moggridge from the University of Canberra.
This review of research by Indigenous and non-Indigenous writers traces the patterns of Indigenous Water relationships and rematriation across themes of colonialism, climate change, justice, health, rights, responsibilities, governance and cosmology.
The review reveals a range of, what for most of us is, new language and concepts developed to help reframe the discussion about water and the role of indigenous people in its management.
Rematriation, Indigenous Water Research Sovereignty, Land Back, Water Back. The list of recently developed concepts in this paper is long – but it’s worth the read.
Water Back, for instance, ‘means the return of Water and kin to Indigenous governance in a way that empowers the resurgent Indigenous Water relationships…’
These are important concepts, and this is important work.
New Technique Can Extract and Recycle Phosphorous from Municipal Waste
Researchers from the University of British Columbia have used a combination of heat, water and phase separation, to create a cost-effective method to concentrate and recover phosphorous from wastewater sludge.
The process converts organic components of the municipal wastewater sludge into a petroleum-like biocrude and concentrates the phosphorous into a solid residue called hydrochar. This hydrochar can have a total phosphorus about 100 times higher than that of raw sludge, making it comparable to the phosphate rock used in commercial fertilisers.
New Method Could Break Down PFAS Left on Water Treatment Filters
Researchers from the University of Missouri have demonstrated an innovative method using thermal induction heating to rapidly break down PFAS left on the surface of two solid materials.
The materials, including granular activated carbon and anion exchange resins had been used to filter PFAS from municipal water systems. The team’s goal is to clean the materials before they are properly disposed.
Researchers at the University of Missouri have developed new materials called nanoclays.
Nanoclays can form chemical layers that can be customised to perform specific tasks.
For instance, positively charged nanoclays can attract PFAS which are negatively charged. Meanwhile, if the nanoclay is made to be negatively charged, it can adhere to heavy metal ions such as the toxic cadmium.
Interesting research from the Green Science Project that found that most studies finding links between PFAS exposure and human health harms are published without a press release and receive little or no media coverage.
Papers without press releases included studies reporting significant links between PFAS exposure and risks of preterm birth, ovarian and breast cancers, osteoporosis, and gestational diabetes, received no or very little news coverage or social media posts.
Mental Health Impacts of Inadequate Drinking Water Services
Researchers from Aalto University in Finland have reviewed the existing published works assessing the psychological impacts of deficient drinking water services in low-income settings.
The review found that poor quality and quantity of water was one of the most important psychosocial stressors to users. Surprisingly, however, various kinds of water-service-related inequalities (e.g. between genders, communities or socio-economic groups) showed up as equally significant stressors.
The research also indicated that that insufficient drinking water services may predispose to common mental disorders particularly through external stress.
How Ultra Low-Cost Solar Can Unlock Australia’s Renewable Energy Superpower
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has launched a white paper on the potential of ultra low-cost solar (ULCS) for Australia and the world.
The paper details why ultra low-cost solar is critical for reducing electricity costs and decarbonising hard-to-abate sectors such as industry and transport, and how it can offer exciting green export opportunities for Australia.
Researchers in Sweden have built a transistor out of a plank of wood by incorporating electrically conducting polymers throughout the material in a way that retains space for an ionically conductive electrolyte.
The new technique makes it possible, in principle, to use wood as a template for numerous electronic components.
The researchers stress that they didn’t develop the wood transistor with any specific applications in mind. “We did it because we could,”
Held every two years, this event showcases new research advancements and provides a forum for water supply managers, health officials, ecologists, modellers, toxicologists and research experts in cyanobacterial identification and management to meet and discuss all things cyanobacteria.
Aerial Function Centre, University of Technology Sydney
Extended abstract submission deadline: 2 July 2023
The Circular Economy For Climate and Environment Conference will be held in Sydney in September 2023. Held over two days, the conference will explore recent advances in technologies and industrial approaches with a focus on Nutrient recovery and reuse for sustainable futures.