Generating recycled raw materials and energy from food industry wastes

Saturday, 02 October, 2004

Organic materials from food industry waste streams will be converted into energy and value-added products such as biodegradable plastics and hydrogen using innovative technologies being developed at the University of South Australia.

Taking the leading role in setting up and managing UniSA's Water Environment Biotechnology (WEB) group is Senior Research Fellow, Dr Bo Jin, who recently joined UniSA from the University of Queensland.

The aim of the WEB group is to develop an integrated production and treatment process using industry wastes to regenerate valuable bio-products such as lactic acid and biodegradable plastics. This integrated process will be the key to a green circle program in the WEB group.

"Another project involves the use of nano-materials/technology for wastewater treatment and re-use. A nano-photocatalysis process developed with University of Sydney researchers removes organic pollutants and micro-organisms in treated wastewater. These nano-materials improve the oxidation efficiency and quality of treated wastewater, making it suitable for re-use," Dr Jin said.

"Through our research we have been developing a strong collaboration with national and international institutions, government organisations and industries including the South Australian wine industry, which is keen to find effective solutions for its waste problem."

Dr Jin believes that the commercial applications of this processing technology will have huge potential for industry and the university. "It will enable us to recycle raw materials very cost-effectively for food production and other value-added products.

"We are confident that our biotechnological processing capability will lead to an environmentally friendly and economically sustainable new technology for the food industry," Dr Jin said.

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