Food-Energy-Water Nexus

This mini symposium and panel discussion will explore the unique synergy between each of the three critical asset areas.
Food-Energy-Water Nexus

In this mini symposium our speakers will explore the unique synergy between each of the three critical asset areas with a view to optimise value in each through resource recovery. Topics will cover the production of biogas energy from waste food and water, and will highlight techniques implemented by industry, government and academic institutions in reducing loss and recovering value from each process streams.


‘Breaking Silos - The Nexus Thinking’

Dr Shirin Malekpour
Monash Sustainable Development Institute, Monash University

Around the world, cities are facing the impacts of growing populations, rapid urbanisation, climate change, resource scarcity, and limited environmental capacity to absorb pollution and waste. These global trends imply that we need to do more with less when it comes to resource management, and that the conventional production and consumption of food, energy and water needs to shift toward more sustainable practices. There have been significant attempts to realise this shift, of which hydroponics, renewables and water recycling are just a few examples. These sectoral endeavours, while highly valuable, often overlook the massive interlinkages between food, energy and water systems.

This presentation will explain a different perspective—the Nexus thinking—which tries to understand the interdependencies between the three systems, to maximise synergies and minimise trade-offs toward more responsible consumption and production. It will also introduce an interdisciplinary initiative at Monash University—the Food-Energy-Water Nexus. The initiative aims to mobilise research across disciplines and in partnership with industries, businesses, governments and communities, identify key challenges and generate solutions for cross-sectoral impact. In the absence of scalable food-energy-water nexus solutions, the initiative tries to enable projects through which we can experiment with the interdependencies between the three systems and develop proof of concept for transformative solutions.

About the Speaker

Dr Malekpour is a researcher and interdisciplinary research coordinator at Monash Sustainable Development Institute. Trained as a civil engineer, she started her professional career in the private sector, working in large infrastructure projects across Africa and the Middle East. Her passion for bridging physical and social sciences to enable sustainable development drove her to do a PhD at Monash University, where she studied long-term policy analysis and strategic planning under deep uncertainty. Currently based at Monash University, she has developed and is leading two initiatives: Futures Studies, and Food-Energy-Water Nexus.


‘Aurora Waste to Energy - A New Perspective on Energy Recovery’

Mr Ian Donald
Project Manager, Yarra Valley Water

Yarra Valley Water has established a Waste to Energy facility next to an existing treatment plant. The facility accepts trucked food waste and uses anaerobic digestion to create biogas for generating electricity. The facility takes advantage of synergies between the wastewater and organic waste management industries, helping Yarra Valley Water to keep our customer bills lower and meet our environmental objectives. The facility is the 2017 winner of the Banksia Award for Leadership in the Circular Economy. Yarra Valley Water would like to share the some of the insights from their experience in developing and implementing Waste to Energy.

About the Speaker

Ian Donald has worked as a Project Manager at Yarra Valley Water since 2010, and has been involved in delivering key innovative projects including new sewerage services in Warrandyte, Park Orchards and Donvale, and the Kalkallo Stormwater Harvesting Scheme. Ian has qualifications in sustainable energy engineering from the Australian National University and was tasked with delivering Yarra Valley Water’s Waste to Energy Facility.

‘Coles Recycling and Waste Minimisation Strategies’

Ms Kathryn Franklin
Sustainability Manager, Coles

Coles supermarket is one of Australia’s largest food retailers. It provides fresh food, groceries and general merchandise through a store network of more than 800 supermarkets and online channels nationally, recording an average of 16.4 million customer transactions per week. Coles is constantly exploring ways to protect the environment and invests in important environmental projects and partnerships to reduce its environmental impact. This presentation will highlight some of the work Coles is doing in recycling and waste management, particularly in food diversion through its partnership with SecondBite and initiatives to reduce and recycle plastic across its value chain.

About the Speaker

Kathryn Franklin joined Coles as Sustainability Manager, Corporate Affairs in July 2017. She has responsibility for driving sustainability strategy and engages with people across the business to champion Coles’ sustainability work internally and externally.
Before joining Coles, Kathryn was a Director at Ernst and Young (EY) where she led the sustainability reporting and communications team, working with clients to understand their material sustainability issues, developing strategies to respond to these issues and preparing sustainability reports and disclosures. Prior to her consulting work, Kathryn worked in the energy industry for more than ten years in sustainability and corporate affairs roles.


Please Note:

5:30 PM arrival for a 6:00 PM start. 

11 / 04 / 2018 - 06:00 pm to 08:30 pm
Registration Closes
11 / 04 / 2018 06:00 pm
Engineers Australia
Level 31, 600 Bourke Street
  • EA, IChemE and SENG Member Rate: $0.00 ($0.00 excl. GST)
  • Other Society Member Rate: $30.00 ($27.27 excl. GST)
  • Student Member Rate: $0.00 ($0.00 excl. GST)
  • Non-Member Rate: $30.00 ($27.27 excl. GST)
JVCEC, Water and SENG
Event Contact
  • Contact:
    Engineers Australia Member Services
  • Phone:
    1300 653 113
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Maximum CPD Hours