Finding the right treatment
CEO BUILDS ON AWARD-WINNING SEWAGE-TO-FERTILIZER DISCOVERY
FLUSHED WITH SUCCESS: Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc. president/CEO Phillip Abrary is happy for University of B.C. professor Don Mavinic. As reported in The Vancouver Sun on Wednesday, Mavinic won a $25,000 Manning Innovation Award for discovering how to extract phosphorus from treated sewage. All that was left for microbiology graduate and chartered accountant Abrary to do was increase Mavinic’s pilot demonstration 100 times. Then he had to find someone to commission a $1.5-million extraction plant that would output 500 kg a day of fertilizer priced two to three times higher than the 4.8 million tons of commercial product Americans buy yearly. All this while the economic downturn forced prices down 70 per cent.
Still, the 25-employee firm Iran-born Abrary, previous partner Ted Jones and lawyer Joe McHugh founded by licensing the Pearl technology from UBC’s University Industry Liaison Office did overcome those challenges. Ostara also won recognition this week as the only Canadian firm named to the World Economic Forum’s 2011 class of Technology Pioneers. And next week looks even rosier. That’s when a market shipment of Crystal Green fertilizer will leave a York, Pa., facility to be opened by Gov. Edward Rendell and Ostara director Robert F. Kennedy.