It’s a beautiful concept: Protect the environment while making money
Inventors: Don Mavinic, Noboru Yonemitsu, Fred Koch and Ahren Britton
Invention: waste nutrient extractor
Origin: developed by UBC, commercialized by Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc. (Vancouver)
If nothing else, it’s a beautiful concept: protect the environment while making money. That’s the vision behind the “fluidized bed reactor,” a water-treatment system developed at UBC and put out to market through Vancouver-based Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc. In 2005 Ahren Britton co-invented the system as a UBC grad student, and he now serves as Ostara’s chief technology officer.
Essentially, the fluidized bed reactor takes harmful phosphorus out of waste material and turns it into a valuable fertilizer. Phosphorus is an element that exists in every living thing, and it’s a main ingredient in the fertilizers that maintain modern agriculture. Much of this phosphorus gets consumed, digested and flushed down the drain. From there it can end up in water systems and do significant environmental damage. According to Britton, many municipalities already have waste-treatment facilities to remove phosphorus.
That’s where this invention comes in. Municipalities can install Ostara’s seven-metre-tall device as part of their standard water-treatment process, Britton explains. It adds magnesium to the waste material in a steel tank, which causes the phosphorus to crystallize, form into heavy pellets and fall to the bottom. These leftovers can be sold as a high-quality fertilizer – which means cities can essentially sell farmers their spent fertilizer back to them.
Read the full article at www.bcbusinessonline.ca