ACWA-Ostara deal to offer phosphorus recovery to water companies

Jan 12, 2016

Water and wastewater provider ACWA Services has struck a deal with Canadian-based Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies to make its phosphorus recovery technology Ostara Pearl available to UK water companies.

Water & Wastewater Image The licensing agreement will allow ACWA Services, which is part of ACWA Group, to offer an advanced nutrient recovery solution which could provide water companies and AD operators with a valuable additional revenue stream.

Ostara’s Pearl process recovers phosphorus and nitrogen from wastewater streams at municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plants and transforms them into a high-value, eco-friendly fertiliser, marketed as Crystal Green. By recovering potentially polluting nutrients from treatment facility’s wastewater stream and converting them to continuous release fertiliser, Ostara’s technology helps facilities enhance their operational efficiency and protect precious waterways.

“Ostara’s phosphorus recovery technology is an excellent fit with our existing wastewater treatment solutions as it complements our AMTREAT ammonia removal process used by leading wastewater treatment companies in the UK,” said Peter Brewer, UK General Manager for ACWA. “The ability to recover phosphorus – an essential and fast depleting natural resource required for increased global food production – while creating an additional revenue stream for our water industry customers, is particularly attractive. The annual savings in chemical dosing alone for some wastewater treatment plants could be in the hundreds of thousands of pounds.”

Phosphorus forms as struvite in high strength wastewater streams and sludge liquors commonly associated with thermal hydrolysis and AD infrastructure and is currently controlled in UK wastewater treatment facilities with expensive chemical dosing. This only temporarily relieves struvite problems and also generates solid waste requiring disposal. Left unchecked, this rock-like compound will rapidly scale pipes, tanks and equipment, leading to costly maintenance and plant downtime. Meeting environmental compliance is also becoming more difficult as phosphorus consents are tightened.

Phillip Abrary, president and CEO of Ostara said: “We are very pleased to partner with ACWA Services to complement their AMTREAT recovery process with a cost-effective and innovative water treatment technology for phosphorus recovery, which will serve to enhance operational efficiencies, and progress environmental stewardship of UK wastewater treatment facilities.”

With the focus on recovery rather than removal, the Ostara Pearl process uses controlled chemical precipitation within a fluidized bed reactor to extract the phosphorus from nutrient-rich feed streams, which is formed as struvite crystals to produce a continuous release fertiliser. The size of the pellets is precisely controlled by varying key parameters in the reactor until they reach the desired size, at which point they can be extracted, dried and sold as fertiliser.

The process recovers up to 85 per cent of the phosphorus, enabling facilities to save on annual chemical costs, reducing maintenance costs and reducing the production of biosolids whilst creating a valuable new revenue stream. Ostara’s Pearl process can be further enhanced by the installation of Ostara’s WASSTRIP process which releases even more phosphorus for processing, all but eradicating digester struvite, reduces biosolids production by up to 25 per cent and lowers the phosphorus to nitrogen ratio to create balanced biosolids that are more suitable for land application.

Under the agreement ACWA will act as a UK delivery partner with responsibility for the design, installation and commissioning of all M&E equipment and associated civils where required, with key components supplied under licence by Ostara. The solution extends ACWA’s range of water industry solutions and can be implemented as independent process or to complement the company’s ammonia removal technology AMTREAT now in use across many sites in the UK.

Ostara will manage the sale and marketing of the Crystal Green fertiliser produced by the process.

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