Project summaries - 2009 Environmental Research - seeding grants
Remote sensing of water temperature and salinity profiles
A new optical approach to measuring water temperature and salinity depth profiles in waterways and catchments is proposed, based on the well-known technique of Raman spectroscopy, which offers potential for land, boat or aircraft-based measurements. This seeding project will be laboratory-based, and will provide a proof of principle evaluation of the approach in terms of accuracy and depth resolution in a range of water samples. The ultimate outcome from the project will be the specification of a practical system for collection of temperature and salinity depth profiles which could form the basis for much larger projects.
This project develops a novel laser-based sensor for car exhausts which can very rapidly measure emissions while the vehicle is being driven. This will be the first device of its type capable of making on-road measurements under Australia's unique driving conditions, and will provide completely new information about how vehicle emissions change as cars age. The sensor can produce thousands of measurements each second, and will show the performance of each cylinder in an engine separately, something that current technology cannot achieve. Also, the sensor can be moved from one vehicle to another, therefore a sample can be taken from a large range of vehicles under real driving conditions such as, for example, the NSW Government car fleet.
University of Sydney
A new tool for assessing ecological integrity in urban landscapes
The ecological integrity of remnant vegetation in cities is compromised by extensive anthropogenic pressures. The project will identify how the dominant animals of these landscapes, ants, can be used to identify and assess ecological declines that contribute to the decline of urban ecosystems. The project will survey ant communities and undertake trials that describe how urbanisation compromises the seed dispersal, a critical ecological interaction in remnant bushland. In addition, to developing a new tool for assessing ecological integrity, this work will identify realistic targets for assessments of restoration and reveal how urbanisation compromises the long-term future of vegetation in remnant landscapes.
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University of Sydney
Community-based solutions for sustainable water systems
The expected outcome of this project is the development of a prototype dehumidification system to generate fresh water from ambient air and to provide a sustainable renewable fresh water source for regional and urban communities. The system will be designed to operate automatically only when the climatic conditions are viable to generate fresh water at competitive price. To further enhance the system's economic and environmental sustainability, it will be integrated with rainwater harvesting tanks, on-site wastewater recycling unit and will be operated using renewable energy technology.
University of Wollongong
Novel approach for on-site landfill leachate treatment
Landfill is currently one of the most widely employed methods for the disposal of municipal solid waste. The degradation of the wastes in combination with percolating rainwater leads to the generation of a highly contaminated liquid called "leachate". Given its toxic nature, direct discharge of landfill leachate to the sewer or the environment is of significant environmental and ecological health concern. This research will investigate a novel hybrid-process consisting of electrocoagulation, nanofiltration, membrane distillation and ion exchange resin for the treatment of landfill leachate capable of producing high quality treated effluent for a range of non-potable reuse purposes.
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Page last updated: 27 February 2011