Wastewater from intensive agriculture has always been thought of as an expense, too dirty to reuse for anything practical and too hazardous to be dumped as effluent.
Now, an Australian engineering first is hoping to change that perception, recycling waste into clean, useable water and turning it into profit.
Syngineering's Vibratory Membrane Technology (VMT) is a filtration system that turns water you have into the water you want. The world first vibrating membrane separation system applies vibratory shear waves at the membrane surface, separating clean water and protein concentrate from stick water that can be put back into production line.
Speaking at the Protein 2021 conference in Dalby last week, Syngineering managing director, Shane Matthews showcased case studies of water efficiency across intensive agriculture and challenged industry to change its perception of wastewater.
"We're turning a wastewater problem into a profit instead of an expense, this is a good deal for the bosses," Mr Matthews said.
The protein extracted from the VMT machines can be sold as pet food or turned into feed stock, turning what would be waste into product.
Once the protein is extracted the water can be used as wash down water or irrigation water.
Mr Matthews said the system pays for itself.
"This is pure money, the payback for this program has been about one, to one-and-a-half years.
The introduction of a Reverse Osmosis system can clean water even further, making it drinkable.
"Reverse Osmosis is a further enhancement of the system, and it's applicable to all meat processing factories in the world."
"We want to improve production volumes and improve product quality in Australia while reducing waste."
"Some creative thinking and the right application of technology has turned an expense into a profit. Let's stop thinking about how we can dump wastewater, that's not smart thinking and it's not good for the environment."
A case study of landfill in New Zealand show cased the potential of VMT systems. When waste is placed in landfills, over time that waste decomposes and sweats creating a thick liquid known as leachate.
Through VMT application the landfill leachate an estimated 60% permeate comes out of the landfill that can be used as irrigation source.
"There may be a little bit of concentrate left there but the water is suitable for irrigation or cattle."