Innovative wastewater tech vital in Luggage Point WWTP’s operations

The Luggage Point WWTP was designed to treat secondary effluents, which is then used to produce 70ML of water each day, in a quality fit to supplement supplies of potable water. The plant is part of the Western Corridor Recycled Water (WCRW) project – one of the largest recycled water schemes in Australia.

Director of Hydroflux HUBER John Koumoukelis says they provided Luggage Point WWTP with three model RoS2 Size 4L units to replace some of the plant’s older conventional drum screen technology. There are over 1000 HUBER thickeners already installed worldwide, including many in Australia.

“Hydroflux provides world-leading wastewater technology and processes to a wide range of Australian water authorities and councils, and Luggage Point is just one of many such sites that use our leading-edge technologies,” Koumoukelis said. Read more

City of Melbourne to turn cigarette butts into plastic products

The City of Melbourne has partnered with Enviropipes, who collect the cigarette waste; and TerraCycle, who convert the butts into plastic products.

As part of the initiative, the City will recycle binned cigarette butts – which are not biodegradable and break down slowly – into practical items such as shipping pallets and plastic furniture.

The City collects more than 200,000 cigarette butts each week from 367 cigarette butt bins across the city – litter that may otherwise end up being washed down drains and into the Yarra River. Cigarette butts are commonly mistaken for food by marine life and have been found in the stomachs of fish, birds, sea turtles and other marine creatures. Read more

WaterGroup partners with Thinxtra to deliver major water savings

This will be achieved by connecting WaterGroup’s leading-edge IoT-based smart water meters with the Sigfox Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN). The Sigfox network will cover 95% of the Australian population by the end of the year. Currently, the network covers 71%.

WaterGroup managing director Guenter Hauber-Davidson says they spent 18 months researching and developing multiple LPWAN wireless technologies to find out which will work best with its smart water metering systems.

“In the past, the cost of connectivity to a network such as this has been a constraint,” Hauber-Davidson said. Read more

Ethical and responsible investments continue strong growth in Australia

Released by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA), the report shows ‘core’ responsibly invested Australian share funds and balanced multi-sector funds have outperformed their equivalent mainstream funds over three, five and ten-year periods.

RIAA CEO Simon O’Connor believes one of the biggest drivers of this has been that more Australians want to see their investments and savings invested in line with their values and their beliefs, and this has caused a significant shift on the financial markets to be more ethically minded.

“It’s really helping superannuation funds, banks, and fund managers to prioritise their focus on sustainability related and ethical investments, and we’ve seen in the last couple of years a noticeable jump in funds going into what we would traditionally see as ethical and socially responsible investment options,” O’Connor said. Read more

Brooklyn microgrid set to be replicated in South Australia

The significant deal will create South Australia’s first local energy marketplace and could be the start of an industry-changing renewable energy sharing revolution, enabling customers buying renewable energy to set their own price, rather than being beholden to the grid.

LO3 Energy, which has created a secure way of trading energy, battery storage and demand peer-to-peer using blockchain technology, plans to disrupt the existing market by making it possible to sell and buy energy within local virtual microgrids.

The new TransActive Grid project in South Australia will see up to 6MW of distributed solar generation made available on a local energy marketplace using LO3’s peer-to-peer trading platform, and is the first step towards developing a full-scale transactive energy market.

This will all be underpinned by the blockchain-based software, which allows a decentralised, secure, peer-to-peer marketplace to function and involves adding a meter onto a business or household that manages all energy inputs and outputs, giving participants access to cheaper electricity.

The solar power will come from six locally built solar PV plants ranging from 200kW to 1MW in size – with two having already been constructed – that are being sited on redundant farmland in SA’s Riverland region.

The PV plants will be built by Yates Electrical’s renewables offshoot Redmund Green Energy, with financial backing from Chinese investors. Eventually, each solar plant will also be coupled with battery storage.

LO3’s director of Australian operations Belinda Kinkead says this is a significant agreement and shows there is great interest in the concept of putting energy choice in the hands of consumers.

“Our systems enable people who generate renewable energy – from small scale houses to larger industrial projects – to get more income by selling direct to consumers rather than to the grid,” Kinkead said.

“They also offer a unique way to integrate distributed energy resources into communities, creating a reliable and secure energy supply that protects from power outages that have been an issue across Australia.

“We believe this partnership with Yates Electrical Services will help us accelerate our set-up process over here and take the local energy marketplace concept one step closer to an Australia-wide consumer reality.”

Working with Yates Electrical Services in South Australia has the potential to open up more than 1000 homes and businesses across the Riverland already fitted with solar energy to operate on an LO3 transactive microgrid.

The SA microgrid will begin with a ‘discrete’ market using Yates Electrical Services’ Small Generation Aggregators Licence, and at least two of their associated commercial or industrial customers, who will bid on solar electricity supplied by the firm.

This will enable Yates to get the best price possible, while giving the participating customers the opportunity to buy their electricity at a cheaper rate than wholesale.

According to LO3 founder and CEO Lawrence Orsini, it really is a win-win situation.

“The technology involves adding a simple meter into the household, which manages all energy inputs and outputs – and with the Internet of Things, it’s even possible to get paid to switch your lights off,” Orsini said.

“Brooklyn has also demonstrated that using a small network of distributed renewables rather than relying on large installations is far more efficient and secure, and we know that is particularly important in Australia.

“We are expanding this exciting new energy solution across the world right now, and we are excited that Australia appears to have embraced it and is now set to become an early adopter of this cutting-edge technology.”

The team over at Yates Electrical Services believe this is a significant step forward for them, as they further integrate new and innovative technologies into their business model.

“We look forward to a future of clean energy with the end user having the control over their own energy consumption,” a Yates Electrical Services spokesperson said.

“The TransActive Grid meter, which enables communication to the TransActive market using blockchain technology has now been installed on one of our solar farms, with more currently being retrofitted to accept the devices.

“With the rapidly rising cost of electricity and huge increases in both blockchain and renewable technology over the past few years, it’ll be exciting to see how this test goes and how much LO3 are able to grow it over the coming years.”

TransActive Grid being installed on site


Eco-conscious businesses regaining momentum

According to research conducted by the State of the Environment report in 2016, being eco-conscious has been an increasing concern among Australians with 57% of all Australian businesses making use of more eco-conscious practices in day-to-day operations since 2012.

According to Dominique Lyone, general manager of Australian-owned and operated national office products company COS, a growing number of businesses are focusing more on their environmental impact and ethical conduct than ever before.

“Businesses are driving it now on an international level and are beginning to take it upon themselves to be more environmentally-minded,” Lyone said. Read more

Pushing for phosphate-free detergents in two years

A new report has found alarming levels of phosphates in 62% of the auto dishwasher tablets sold in Coles and Woolworths stores nationally over the last 12 months.

Back in 2010, Jon Dee – co-founder and managing director at DoSomething – launched a campaign to get laundry detergent manufacturers to voluntarily phase out the use of phosphates in laundry detergents, in both powders and liquids.

He was successful in this and as a result of the campaign 2.3 billion laundry detergents a year in Australia is now phosphate-free. Though the success wasn’t complete as he began to see some people “dragging the chain” in this space. Read more

Redback Technologies in NZ for Virtual Power Plant trial

Redback’s Smart Hybrid System will be used as part of a two-year solar and battery technology trial designed to support Wellingtonians in the event of a natural disaster.

The technology will allow residents to access energy from solar power generation and battery storage when the electricity grid is under pressure during peak times or is compromised due to outages.

Tim Latimer, director of sales for Oceania at Redback Technologies, says that Redback began talks with Contact Energy at the beginning of the year after Contact employees saw their product at a show. Read more

Batteries paving the path to a cleaner and greener future

Batteries paving the path to a cleaner and greener future

The report showed 87% of power generated in Australia comes from fossil fuels while just 13% is generated from renewables.

While there has been a greater effort to integrate renewables into the grid, there is huge potential to make both renewables and fossil fuel powered systems significantly more efficient.

To reduce the strain on the grid during peak power use periods – in the early evening and in the morning before standard work hours – utilities have started to explore the idea of energy storage in batteries as a means to balance the grid. Read more

ReNu Energy & SCA Property partner for major solar development

ReNu Energy & SCA Property partner for major solar development

Shopping centres are major users of energy, with large indoor centres requiring a substantial amount of energy for heating and cooling, lighting systems, displays, point of sales systems, cinema projectors, cooking equipment and countless other appliances.

The agreement will reduce the energy costs and improve the green credentials of the shopping centres that are located in regional areas of New South Wales and South Australia. Read more