A Massey University student's new computer program is being included in international design software for wastewater plants.
Barry Fryer wrote the software to calculate how much heat is generated by waste sludge breaking down in a treatment tank.
His project was for Waste Solutions Ltd, a Dunedin environmental consulting and engineering company.
In the relatively new treatment process similar to composting, air is blown into the sludge as bacteria breaks it down and produces heat.
The sludge gets hot, killing germs and reducing health risks. Then the treated sludge can be used as a fertiliser or soil conditioner.
Waste Solutions process development manager Tico Cohen says Fryer's work mattered because the complicated treatment process needs exactly the right amount of air.
"The software gives the operator greater control of the process so the job can be done quickly and efficiently. It can also be used for designers to determine the correct size and shape of the treatment tanks," says Dr Cohen.
Waste Solutions is negotiating to include the software in a partnership with a Canadian firm that sells computer programs to companies that design wastewater treatment plants all over the world.
Fryer, who now works as a Tranzrail locomotive fleet engineer in Wellington, was supported in his project by the Graduates in Industry Fellowship (GRIF) scheme of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology.