Tim Flannery advocates for RegenAqua, the climate tech tackling toxic runoff in the reef

Tim Flannery advocates for RegenAqua, the climate tech tackling toxic runoff in the reef

Prof. Tim Flannery (right) and Sydney Water's Emma James inspect the water quality after RegenAqua treatment during trials at the Picton Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Renowned conservationist Professor Tim Flannery has been announced as the ambassador for RegenAqua, an innovative water treatment solution that uses endemic seaweed and river grass to strip wastewater of environmentally harmful pollutants before they enter the ecosystem.

The technology, developed by Pacific Bio in collaboration with James Cook University, is currently being rolled out in the construction of a world-first wastewater bioremediation treatment facility at the Ayr Wastewater Treatment Plant in North Queensland.

"Burdekin Shire Council have shown true climate change leadership in collaborating with Pacific Bio to trial RegenAqua and make this wastewater treatment a reality," says Flannery, who was awarded Australian of the Year in 2007 for his work and advocacy on environmental issues.

"A significant amount of nutrients that are damaging the Great Barrier Reef are coming from poor sewerage plants in regional Queensland and agricultural runoff. 

"If we can implement this technology in the highest volume sewerage treatment plants along the Queensland coast, this will remove tonnes of nitrogen and phosphorous currently discharged into the Great Barrier Reef catchment."

Flannery says his partnership with RegenAqua will enable him to demonstrate how leadership can effect change, while highlighting the importance of water quality on the reef and across many Pacific Island nations who are in dire need of effective wastewater solutions.

"I’ve had a long association with Pacific Bio, and they really are climate leaders, taking risks to develop technology that is going to be globally significant," he says.

"I’ve seen the innovation and determination that’s gone into the development of RegenAqua, and it is now well placed to start making a difference in treating wastewater in an environmentally sustainable way."

The climate activist says Pacific Bio's simple technology is not only remarkably efficient at treating wastewater, but creates a powerful biostimulant, PlantJuice, which can be used in place of synthetic fertilisers to support farmers to produce better crops. 

"What is also incredible is that Pacific Bio has undertaken research to show that river grass used in RegenAqua, can also be converted to drop in liquid fuels," he says.

"Pacific Bio has developed a process that can turn the river grass into biocrude and then further refine it to make high quality Sustainable Aviation Fuel."

Flannery is currently driving the search for leadership on climate change in his documentary Climate Changers, to be released nationally on 17 September.  

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