January Research News
Research Newsletter – January 2023
Welcome to our January 2023 research and innovation newsletter.
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 February 2023.
If you’ve stumbled on this newsletter and would like to receive future editions please click this link. Or if you know someone who really needs this: forward to a friend.
Industry Innovation and Resilience
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Making Waves Podcast Series

For First Nations People, water is a sacred source of life.


Making Waves is an independent podcast series, supported by the Australian water industry that seeks to amplify lesser heard perspectives on water.


The five episodes highlight the importance of water for First Nations people, identify some valuable resources available that are helping to change the way water is managed in Australia, and give an insight into the incredibly rich history and water knowledge that First Nations people have developed over thousands of years.


Check out the podcast at WSAA

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New Old Research on Water360

Research from Australian Recycled Water Centre of Excellence (AWRCoE) is now available on Water360.


The AWRCoE was a national research organisation that was established in 2009 and operated until 2016. Its mandate was to enhance the efficiency, expansion and acceptance of water recycling in Australia through industry, government and research partnerships.


The Centre produced a large number of excellent research outputs. You will be amazed at the breadth of the information available.


To start exploring the ARWCoE research click here.

water supply and security

Photo by Billy Huynh on Unsplash
Researchers Propose New Structures to Harvest Untapped Fresh Water
Researchers from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have suggested an investment in new infrastructure capable of harvesting oceanic water vapor.
The research evaluated 14 water-stressed locations across the globe for the feasibility of a hypothetical structure that would capture water vapor from above the ocean and condense it into fresh water.
The results seem to show that the process could be feasible for a number of water stressed areas across the globe.

Energy and the Circular economy

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New Method Uses Sludge To ‘Self Heal’ Cracked Concrete

A world-first project led by University of South Australia is trialling a novel solution to halt unprecedented levels of corrosion in the country’s ageing concrete pipelines.


The research is testing self-healing concrete, in the form of microcapsules filled with water treatment sludge. 


In the final stages of concrete mixing, a combination of alum sludge and calcium hydroxide powder is added to the mixture to resist microbially induced corrosion.


Read more at Water Online

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Liquid Air Could Solve the UK’s Energy Conundrum

Highview Power, a company based in London, have developed a method for storing renewable energy using cryogenic liquid air until its required.


The technology works by compressing air into a liquid and then cooling it to almost minus 200°C. The liquid air is then stored in an insulated tank at low pressure. When power is required, liquid air is drawn from the tank and pumped to high pressure, where the heat energy is released.


Read more at Yahoo Finance

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Cheaper Powdered Activated Carbon Regeneration

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences have proposed a more cost-effective strategy to regenerate powdered activated carbon (PAC).


The researchers constructed isolated iron (Fe) sites anchored on commercial PAC (i.e., Fe-PAC), regeneration the Fe-PAC in H2O2 more efficiently and cheaply.


Read more at Water Online

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Researchers Shed Laser Light on Water Treatment

Researchers from the University of Rhode Island have revealed new details about the chemical reaction that occurs when ferrate is exposed to visible and ultraviolet light.


On its own, ferrate is a reasonably strong oxidant, but when excited by light, it produces an even more powerful oxidant. This research used laser pulses to investigate and benchmark the properties of this new oxidant, Fe(V).


Ferrate-based purification systems are a promising option for smaller systems, where expensive and elaborate ozone systems aren’t practical.


Read more at InsideWater

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New Method to Destroy PFAS

Researchers at the University of California (UC) have reported a new method for supercharging the destruction of PFAS in water.


The method works by bubbling hydrogen gas (H2) through contaminated water to ionize the water molecules. This generates reactive species including hydrated electrons that then attack the strong bonds holding the PFAS together.


So far, the researchers have only tested their method on small volumes (500 ml) of tap water spiked with PFOA and PFOS. But they have achieved fast and near-complete degradation of the pollutants in these test batches using less electrical energy than earlier attempts.


Read more at Science Alert

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Poo-Eating Parasites Deployed into Auckland’s Wastewater
Watercare in New Zealand are trialling the use of Anammox (anaerobic ammonium oxidation) to help with wastewater treatment in Auckland by removing nitrogen and ammonium.
These slow growing bacteria use much less energy than current processes and could help to significantly reduce the carbon emissions from traditional wastewater treatment.
Liveability and health
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Novel Adsorbent Removes Microplastics from Water

Researchers from RMIT’s School of Engineering have produced a low-cost and sustainable adsorbent that removes microplastics from water using magnets.
The novel adsorbent was developed using nanomaterials that also contain iron – the powder is mixed into water to attract microplastics and dissolved pollutants, which are then easily separated from the water with the use of magnets.
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Snapshot ‘Grab’ Samples Show Their Limitations

Researchers from Rice University have shown that composite samples taken over 24 hours give a much more accurate representation of the level of antibiotic-resistant genes (ARGs) than snapshot samples.
The researchers reported seeing levels of antibiotic-resistant RNA concentrations 10 times higher in composite samples than what they saw in “grabs,” snapshots collected when flow through a wastewater plant is at a minimum.
Working with the community
Image by Nahil Naseer at Unsplash
Leafier Communities Mean Healthier Hearts
Researchers from the University of NSW and the University of Wollongong have found that urban reforestation may be used as a population-level intervention to protect cardiovascular health, especially for people living in houses.
While it is widely accepted that exposure to green space can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, this research compared the impact across people who lived in houses and those living in apartments.
The results: additional green space is better for you if you live in a house.
Some interesting things
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Papers and Patents are Becoming Less Disruptive Over Time
Researchers in the United States have used a range of methods to investigate whether recent research activity was intrinsically disruptive or consolidating.
What they found were declining levels of disruptive activity. 
This is an exhaustive study, and the article is well worth some of your time. 
Clearly, there are structural issues with the direction of research and the publication process: these are sorely in need of disruption.
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What is a Left Handed Molecule?

Who knew that most sugars are right-handed and most amino acids are left-handed?


It seems that being left-handed or right-handed—handedness—is a trait found not just in people. Many molecules, especially organic molecules, exhibit handedness as well.


New research from Caltech describes a new technique that allows for the precise selection of molecular handedness in chemical reactions.


Read more at PhysOrg

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Scientists Enhance Stability of New Material for Solar Cells

Researchers led by the University of Missouri have developed a new process to make hybrid perovskites. Perovskites are an intriguing combination of organic and inorganic semiconducting materials that can both harvest and emit light. They may offer exciting potential for technologies ranging from solar cells to TV and display screens.


The new technique helps to overcome a range of previous limitations in the application of the new materials. 


If you haven’t heard of perovskites, then you soon will.


Read more at Techxplore

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National Biosolids Conference – Champions for Sustainability.

Early Bird tickets close Friday 13th January


8 – 9th February 2023, Aerial, University of Technology, Sydney


The biennial Australian & New Zealand Biosolids Partnership’s National Biosolids Conference is returning to Sydney in 2023, with the theme Champions for Sustainability.


Held over two days, this conference will examine key developments in the industry with a focus on the role of industry, regulators and community as champions for sustainable biosolids management and end-use.


Register here

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2nd SWAN APAC Alliance Workshop

23 – 23rd February 2023, Metropolis Southbank, Melbourne


Join the leading, smart water event in Asia-Pacific


The first day of this conference will feature a full-day Workshop with keynotes, insightful panels and interactive roundtable discussions on the practical value of the smart water journey and how we can best support each other.


The evening will include a drinks reception with canapés. The second day will include organised utility study tours to Greater Western Water and South East Water (limited spots).


Register Here

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Early bird registration now extended until January 27th!


22 – 23rd February, Sydney Olympic Park

Your opportunity to hear from water industry professionals and academics from across Australia to discuss the next game-changing research.


WaterRA presents Australia’s leading scientific and technical conference on water research and innovation, Next Water’23, bringing together water industry professionals and academics from across Australia to discuss the next game-changing research.


This two-day conference will feature keynote and invited speakers, scientific and technical presentations, case studies, workshops and panel sessions to support our industry in ensuring public health and safeguarding the sustainability of our water resources.


Read more and register here


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

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