Dr Qilin Wang

Griffith University
Research Field: Sewage Treatment; Environmental Engineering

Sewage treatment is energy-intensive. Although sewage is rich in energy, the energy recovered from sewage is currently low. Therefore, maximizing energy recovery from sewage has been the goal of global water utilities. However, this goal is currently unachievable, and technologies being tested now incur substantial capital/operating costs.
Dr Wang has developed a cost-effective technology to increase energy recovery from sewage by 4~6 times in the form of biogas. This international award-winning technology relies on sewage waste treatment using free ammonia to enhance the conversion of sewage waste into biogas. A feature of this technology is that the key treatment agent free ammonia, rather than being an externally sourced product, is sourced from the sewage, thus providing a closed-loop technology. The technology only requires installing a small mixing tank. The energy recovered would completely offset the energy consumption for sewage treatment, creating energy-positive sewage treatment. This technology would enable the paradigm shift of sewage treatment from solely pollutant removal to simultaneous pollutant removal and energy recovery. This technology could potentially reduce sewage treatment cost by AUD$70~100 million and greenhouse gas emissions by 700~900 kilotonnes of CO2 every year in Australia. The potential energy generated by this technology would be 2000~2500 Terajoules per year.