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Environmentally friendly technology awarded Tarac’s 2007 environment future fund

The Tarac Environment Future Fund (TEFF) was established in 2005 to assist with the development and commercialisation of innovative ideas focused on environmental sustainability that benefit the wine industry, in line with Tarac’s strategy to ‘rethink, recycle, reformulate and revalue’.

TEFF encourages individuals, companies, organisations and associations to increase the body of knowledge about winery waste management.

With the industry currently facing several environmental challenges, the scope of the 2007 round of the Fund was expanded to included projects which provide environmental management solutions to the wine industry.

The recycling of waste water is very topical, particularly due to the water restrictions brought upon by the current drought conditions. A project that is aiming to increase the reuse of winery wastewater, through a novel approach to desalination, is the winner of the 2007 TEFF.

The project is being undertaken by the Materials Science and Nanotechnology Section of University of South Australia’s Ian Wark Research Institute in partnership with Fosters Group. Its key objective is to explore the use of surface Engineered Silica (SES) for the removal of the high salt content of winery wastewater. Available technologies are not only expensive and energy thirsty but also result in the production of highly concentrated brine which can be difficult to dispose. The main advantages of the proposed technology are that the treatment can be performed without the need for additional thermal or electrical energy, no brine is produced and the technology is easily scalable, transportable, and very low maintenance.

Speaking on behalf of the successful applicants, Prof Peter Majewski, Dean Research Education at the Institute said ‘the significance of this project to the wine industry lies in the fact that the use of SES would provide a technology that not only reduced the uptake of mains water but also had high environmental, ecologic and economic benefits. Additionally its use would not be limited by the size of the winery’.

The outcomes of the project are expected to be widely shared with the wine industry though various avenues.

Tarac Technologies, along with the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia and the Grape and Wine Research Development Corporation congratulate the successful team and thank all unsuccessful applicants for their participation in the Fund.

TEFF project manager Dr Ira Pant said that the selection process was tight with the panel being very impressed with the high number of innovative applications received.

“There are so many environmental issues confronting the wine industry and I am sure, just as many solutions” she said. “I encourage more people to submit their ideas to future rounds of the Fund”.

Tarac Technologies is committed to the environmental sustainability of the wine industry and the TEFF reflects Tarac’s environmental credentials. Round 4 of the fund will be launched around July 2008.

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