A Sydney scientist has developed a revolutionary sewage recycling technology for homes and apartments that are a spin-off from nuclear research at Lucas Heights to develop antibiotics and environmental repair technology. Dr Tony Taylor, a microbiologist for the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) has developed technolgy that uses bacteria and fungi to convert sewage into water fit for gardens, flushing toilets and cleaning. :::[SMH]
A home would need a unit, costing about $2000, fitted with 40 to 50 gills - membranes, or panels - each about one metre by 1.5 metres. Sewage flowing down the middle of each gill would seep through, feeding bacteria and fungi growing on the outside.The running costs of the 'nano-particulate membrane bio-reactor' are about $A1.30 per kilolitre, the current cost of Sydney town-water.
The bacteria and fungi would eat the waste, using oxygen from the air to remove nutrients and toxins. So, it was also "a stomach and a lung". "We are aiming at reducing water consumption at the house by 40 to 60 per cent. You would still have sewage leaving the house, but it would first go around two or three times."
While existing sewage treatment plants already use bacteria, the new technology was significantly more efficient, and a fifth the cost.
Conventional treatment systems also use oxygen, creating bubbles in the sewage. "But bubbles are very expensive to make," Dr Taylor said. "They use a lot of electricity, producing lots of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels."
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