Reimagining the Future of Phosphates at Symphos 2019; Phosphorus Recovery, Sustainability and the Circular Economy.
Sharing the Ostara Story at the SYMPHOS Symposium: “Innovation & Disruptive Technologies for a Sustainable Phosphate Industry
Author: Molly Biedenfeld
In 2019, Ostara was invited to speak at the SYMPHOS Symposium: “Innovation & Disruptive Technologies for a Sustainable Phosphate Industry” held in October 2019 at the Mohammed 6 Polytechnic University of Benguerir (UM6P), Morocco. Co-organized between OCP Group and UM6P, we were fortunate to have spoken during the “P Recovery, Sustainability, & Circular Economy” breakout session among industry leaders and global producers.
I have the pleasure of leading the Crop Nutrition business unit of Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies and was honoured to share our story with my phosphate industry peers. My passion for agriculture started on our family farm in Illinois where we grew corn, soybeans, and raised beef cattle, but I began by formal career with Cargill Inc. and later joined The Mosaic Company, the largest fertilizer producer in the world. These experiences have helped me to understand the increasingly urgent need to protect precious water resources and the future of our industry, specifically in managing gypstacks and phosphate fertilizer process water.
When our Chief Technology Officer, Ahren Britton, and I co-presented the Ostara Story at SYMPHOS, including our Pearl® nutrient recovery technology, our Crystal Green® and Crystal Green Synchro™ products, we emphasised the importance of collaboration across industries to clean water, grow more food, and help support a growing population sustainably. Global population is expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, and phosphorus use is on the rise. How we manage this essential resource will have a direct impact on water quality and our ability to feed the people on our planet.
Since 2005, Ostara has recovered phosphorus in the form of struvite from municipal wastewater sources around the world, selling it under the brand name Crystal Green®. Yet today, the full potential of recovered phosphorus remains largely untapped. Our estimates indicate there are +100 billion gallons of highly concentrated phosphogypsum pond water eligible for recovery.
Recently, Ostara commercialized technology for treating phosphogypsum process water (operating or closure) to exceed discharge quality <3 mg/L of P. This doesn’t just expand the geographic and market reach for nutrient recovery, this drives impact on a global scale, protecting resources by offering a cost-effective water treatment solution for phosphate producers. At the same time, it offers them a first-ever opportunity to turn cost centers into profit centers, to extend the life of their reserves, and to produce both clean water and a new value-added, recovered fertilizer.
Ostara’s technology can recover struvite from any water stream high in phosphorus, but unlike other recovered struvite, Ostara’s patented recovery and post-processing technologies create a market-ready fertilizer. More than +8 years of agronomic research proves Crystal Green’s Root-Activated release reduces the impact of runoff and soil fixation; minimizing negative environmental impacts. It Improves uptake and robust rooting systems. It increases yields across a wide variety of crops and soil types for enhanced grower return on investment. It promotes seed safety and soil health.
Across industries and geographies regulations are evolving, with tightening restrictions to land applied phosphorous, more restrictive limits on heavy metals (European Union), and mandated use of new water treatment solutions. New amendments to regulations supporting recycled materials, including struvite as fertilizer, are coming into effect. While regulations can and will create change, consumer preference, priorities for the millennial generation, and public perception will drive that same change at a much faster rate. We have an opportunity to change the way that consumers, including ourselves, and the general public, with no background in agriculture, view what we’re doing and understand how we’re doing it better – not solely to help people survive, but to truly provide an opportunity to thrive.
It is clear the industry is actively seeking innovative solutions that satisfy not only shareholders, but all stakeholders – communities, farmers, consumers and the environment. As part of a growing movement reshaping how we collectively manage our planet’s resources, purposeful partnerships, like the ones we continue to build-on from SYMPHOS, will be key to building a more resilient agri-food system from source to field, and fully realizing a functioning circular economy. I look forward to what the future brings.
– Molly Biedenfeld, VP of Crop Nutrition Market Development & Sales, Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc
Upcoming Speaking Events:
March 8-10 | Paris
‘Reimagining resources: Enhancing nutrient stewardship through recovered phosphorous’ will be discussed by Ostara
February 26-28 | Amsterdam
Reimagining Resources: From phosphorus recovery to enhanced efficiency fertilizers
About Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc.
Ostara reimagines resources, helping communities around the world clean water to grow more food. The Company’s Pearl® technology recovers phosphorus and nitrogen from industrial, agricultural, and municipal water streams, and transforms these nutrients into its premium, sustainable Crystal Green® fertilizers which are sold into the agriculture and turf sectors through a network of established distributors in North America and Europe. Crystal Green® is the first slow-release phosphorus fertilizer to release nutrients in response to plant demand; these Root-Activated™ granules are proven to increase yields, enhance soil health and significantly reduce phosphorus tie-up and runoff, thereby improving food security while protecting local waterways from nutrient pollution. To learn more about how Ostara is closing the loop on phosphorus, visit ostara.com | crystalgreen.com.
Media Contact: Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc. | Patricia Benton E [email protected]