Research Value Highlighted at Innovation Awards

Article excerpt

Passion, dedication and the rich return to Australia from investment in scientific research were the major themes at the recent 2006 Academy of Technology, Science and Engineering (ATSE) Clunies Ross Awards, where six noted scientists were honoured with prestigious national recognition of their outstanding achievements in the application of science and technology for social and economic benefit.

Environmental Scientist Dean Cameron, founder and Managing Director of Biolytix Technologies, was rewarded for his vision and tenacity in developing the Biolytix[R] Waste Treatment System, with the help of GHD Engineers and the University of Queensland.

Acting on curiosity and a hunch that domestic waste treatment could be done more efficiently via nature's processes, Mr Cameron endured naysayers and significant personal sacrifice to develop his now multiaward winning system (see Ecos 129).

This new approach uses worms, beetles and microscopic organisms to more quickly and efficiently recycle sewage and household waste into safe irrigation water and compost, with the waste itself acting as a 'filter. Biolytix systems can also be connected into networks (Biowater) that provide irrigation for gardens, parks and horticulture, halving sewerage infrastructure costs, potentially reducing rubbish collection costs by up to 75 per cent, and using one-tenth of the energy of conventional sewerage.

Accepting his award and endorsement, Mr Cameron drew attention to the clear potential for his research to advance waste treatment in developing countries, helping to alleviate extreme poverty by reducing disease and recycling precious water.

Approved for commercial use in all states and with growing international sales, the Biolytix system is another outstanding Australian research success.

CSIRO cotton research scientists Danny Llewellyn, Greg Constable and Gary Fitt were jointly awarded for their pioneering team effort to develop Australian cotton plant varieties that are resistant to the devastating impact of the moth Helicoverpa armigera. …