Australian slaughterhouses have the potential to generate large volumes of solid waste, originating in a number of processing areas with key sources including paunch, manure, screenings (not rendered), DAF sludge, aerobic wastewater sludge, contaminated cardboard and condemned/dead animals. Current disposal methods for paunch and other solid wastes are largely based on composting, land disposal or landfilling, with highly variable costs – and importantly little ability of the processor to control these costs.

Smouldering is an innovative, sustainable and energy-positive technology designed for complete removal of organics and moisture from waste materials. Smouldering is able to achieve substantial reductions in waste volume (>90%) – with the added potential for targeted recovery of nutrients from the ash product. This project looks at adapting smouldering for application to paunch and manure wastes.

This project is a multidiscipline collaboration between the School of Civil Engineering and ACWEB at UQ, and builds on the larger meat processing research program conducted at UQ aimed at efficient waste management and value-adding to waste – particularly the recovery of energy, nutrient and water resources.


  • AMPC
  • Meat and Livestock Australia

Project Outcomes

The key purpose of this project is to:

  • Demonstrate proof-of-concept for smouldering in red meat processing applications.
  • Assess the business case for smouldering technology against current practice and other emerging solutions.
  • Develop an R&D pathway to commercial application of smouldering.

Project members

Associate Professor Paul Jensen

Associate Professor
Australian Centre for Water and Environmental Biotechnology

Other members

  • Dr Ilje Pikaar
  • Professor Jose Torero