Smart tech reduces risk of fire during organics processing

A Victorian council is piloting new smart technology designed to reduce the risk of fires in organics processing facilities.

Peter Murihy

Geelong company Sequence Digital this month launched a fleet of its new 4G, weather-proof, solar-powered temperature sensors in the program being run at the City of Greater Geelong’s Garden Organics Processing Facility in Anakie.

The devices, which can remotely measure and log the temperature of organic material, will monitor 10,000 cubic metres of garden organics – the equivalent of four Olympic-sized swimming pools – collected from household green bins across Greater Geelong.

Safer, more efficient processing

The initiative is an example of creative ways of deploying smart technology to support better outcomes for the environment and community, says Mayor and chair of the Innovative Solutions portfolio Peter Murrihy.

“Compost can get really hot and ignite so using remote, round-the-clock monitoring means we can improve safety on site and process organics more efficiently,” Cr Murrihy said.

“The data is available in real time so our staff know straight away if there’s an issue with higher temperatures and they can take action quickly to cool down the material.”

The device was developed via a $26,000 Clean Technology grant awarded in 2019 through Cleantech Innovations Geelong, a business and industry support program funded by the City of Greater Geelong, the Victorian Government, and the Geelong Manufacturing Council.

Compost can get really hot and ignite so using remote, round-the-clock monitoring means we can improve safety on site and process organics more efficiently.

Innovative solutions chair Peter Murihy

Innovative Solutions Deputy Chair Cr Sarah Mansfield says about 50 per cent of the rubbish Australians put in the garbage bin could be put to better use as compost and mulch.

 “The temperature monitoring means we can safely and efficiently process organics while reducing our impact on the environment,” she said.

Suitable for remote areas

Co-director of Sequence Digital, Patrick Blampied, says the design of the industrial temperature sensor enables it to operate in remote areas where the internet signal is weak, and the weather conditions are extreme.

“These devices are tough as nails and send critical temperature data to the cloud in real-time, rain, hail or shine, even in areas with patchy rural internet connectivity,” Mr Blampied said.

He said the grant made it possible to redesign our earlier prototype from the ground-up to make sure it could be used in the most remote outdoor organics facilities across Australia.

The pilot comes as Geelong was last month recognised as the International Smart City of the Year at the World Smart City Expo in Korea.

The new Geelong Garden Organics Composting Facility between Anakie and Lovely Banks processes up to 35,000 tonnes per year of green organics collected from garden waste bins.

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