Firm makes fertilizer the eco-friendly way
By: Tracy Hayhurst
A Vancouver, British Columbia-based company is using its proprietary technology to extract phosphorous, nitrogen and other nutrients from wastewater, which not only reduces the strain on treatment plants but results in a ready-to-use, environmentally friendly fertilizer.
The process was developed at the University of British Columbia’s environmental engineering department, and in 2005 the technology was licensed. Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc. was incorporated soon after and began testing pilot-scale reactors at several wastewater treatment plants.
Among those who invented the nutrient recovery process at the university was Ahren Britton, who was working on his master’s degree from 2000 to 2002.
Britton did consulting work for three years after graduating and then returned to the university as it was trying to license the technology. There he met some of the partners who would go on to found Ostara. Britton is the company’s chief technology officer.
Ostara recently finished a pilot project at the Hampton Roads Sanitation District’s Nansemond wastewater treatment plant in Suffolk, Va. The company also started a full-scale operation earlier this year in Edmonton, Alberta, and is working to begin a new pilot project in Tigard, Ore., which is near Portland.
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