KELMAN ONLINE | THE EVOLUTION OF NUTRIENT RECOVERY

Apr 20, 2016

The Evolution of Nutrient RecoveryTHE EVOLUTION OF NUTRIENT RECOVERY

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Watermark Magazine – Spring 2016
Ten years ago, the nutrient recovery industry didn’t truly exist. Today, it is a full-circle sustainable solution being adopted by wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in cities and municipalities worldwide.

Traditionally, WWTPs removed phosphorus from wastewater streams by precipitating them with iron or aluminum salts, and then removing the precipitate in the plant biosolids. It was an intensive chemical process that not only generated excess biosolids, but also required the purchase of metals salts and the disposal of the metal phosphate sludge. Removal with chemical flocculants is both expensive and considered harmful to the environment. The produced biosolids were applied to land, and phosphates bound by iron or aluminum salts were not readily plant available.

The process of removing phosphorus biologically, known as Enhanced Biological Phosphorus Removal (EBPR), began in the 1960s, but wasn’t common until the 1990s. Instead of chemicals, the process relies on phosphateaccumulating organisms to consume dissolved phosphates. While EBPR provides a low-cost, environmentally friendly solution for facilities to remove phosphorus, anaerobic digestion of wastewater sludges containing phosphateaccumulating organisms causes phosphorus to be released by the organisms. When released, the phosphate reacts with ammonia and magnesium already present to form struvite, which can cause severe scaling of pipes, process equipment and digesters. To prevent struvite buildup, the WWTP must resort to chemical phosphorus removal using metal salts. It also prevents released phosphorus from recirculating back to the EBPR process. In recognition of the potential value of these nutrients, alternative solutions involving the precipitation and extraction of the phosphates from post-digestion sludge dewatering liquors were developed. These processes were effective at recovering phosphorus, but unable to create a valuable product that could be successfully commercialized.

In the early 2000s, a group of researchers in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of British Columbia (UBC) invented a process to recover phosphorus in a fluidized bed reactor. The purpose was to create a high-value fertilizer. What set this process apart from others was its ability to create a pure product that would be suitable for fertilizer consumers, increasing the chances of commercial adoption. The technology provided a second outlet for the released phosphorus by turning it into a granular fertilizer and allowing phosphorus to be recovered. It also meant money no longer had to be spent on sludge-producing metal salts.

OSTARA NUTRIENT RECOVERY TECHNOLOGIES INC.

In 2005, when the UBC technology passed the pilot stage and was ready for commercialization, Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc. was formed and licensed it. Within two years, Ostara scaled up the technology by a factor of 100 from laboratory to commercial scale with a demonstration facility at the City of Edmonton’s Gold Bar WWTP. This full-scale demonstration facility, which produced marketable fertilizer, was instrumental in convincing other municipalities to invest in this process. Within a year, Ostara sold its first system to Clean Water Services in Oregon. The Edmonton facility, operated by EPCOR, has since been upgraded and by the spring of 2016 will launch Canada’s largest nutrient recovery facility.

The product created from Ostara’s process is a 99.6 per cent pure crystalline phosphate fertilizer, marketed as Crystal Green®. Ostara has led the research and market development of Crystal Green, which is now being sold to the agriculture and turf industries in North America and Europe. Revenues from the sale of Crystal Green are shared with municipalities, helping to offset the capital cost of installation of the nutrient recovery process.

The fertilizer is considered unique due to its water insolubility and continuous release properties, meaning it releases responsibly, significantly reducing the risk of leaching and run-off. This helps to protect adjacent waterways from excessive nutrients, which can result in algae blooms that destroy precious ecosystems.

Environmental policy is now focussed on reducing nutrient runoff in places like Lake Winnipeg. Last summer, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and the governors of both Michigan and Ohio signed an agreement to dramatically reduce the input of phosphorus into the western waters of Lake Erie by 40 per cent over the next decade. Phosphorus management is also a concern in BC’s Fraser and Okanagan Valleys and other watersheds where water quality is a worry.

As a result of this growing concern and increased recognition of the issue by provincial and federal governments, municipalities across North America are actively seeking innovative technologies to respond to increasingly stringent phosphorus limits – and to do their part to help clean up the environment. Municipalities in North America and Europe now have a viable cost effective nutrient recovery system to manage these excessive nutrients. Ostara has multiple facilities throughout North America and Europe today and is set to open the world’s largest nutrient recovery facility, in partnership with the City of Chicago, later this year.

As WWTPs face increasingly stringent phosphorus limits, the evolution of nutrient recovery to a cost-effective and environmentally friendly process to manage nutrients is welcome news.

In fact, WWTPs no longer view themselves as sewage or waste treatment facilities but instead as “resource recovery centers,” where water, energy and nutrients are recovered and recycled for beneficial reuse.

Nutrient recovery has undergone a significant evolution over the past decade, and is well positioned to help municipalities fight the growing threat of nutrient pollution, while at the same time controlling costs. We are proud to be able to do our part.

Crystal Green® Answers the Need for a High-Efficiency Granular Phosphate Fertilizer that Protects the Environment

Crystal Green® Answers the Need for a High-Efficiency Granular Phosphate Fertilizer that Protects the Environment

Evoqua Water Technologies Enters into Partnership with Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc.

Evoqua Water Technologies Enters into Partnership with Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc.

New Ostara Production Facility to Bring 40 New Jobs to St. Louis City

New Ostara Production Facility to Bring 40 New Jobs to St. Louis City

Ostara Completes Purchase of St. Louis Granulation Facility from Bruce Oakley Inc.

Ostara Completes Purchase of St. Louis Granulation Facility from Bruce Oakley Inc.

Ostara and Enwa to Deliver Nutrient Recovery Solution for Hias IKS 

Ostara and Murphy Partner to deliver part of Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade Project for Irish Water

Ostara and Murphy Partner to deliver part of Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade Project for Irish Water

Ostara Raises US$20 Million to Acquire Strategic Assets to Scale Up Crystal Green® Fertilizer Production

Ostara Raises US$20 Million to Acquire Strategic Assets to Scale Up Crystal Green® Fertilizer Production

Ostara and Oakley Sign Letter of Intent for Purchase of Oakley’s St. Louis Granulation Facility and Long-term Terminal Services

Ostara and Oakley Sign Letter of Intent for Purchase of Oakley’s St. Louis Granulation Facility and Long-term Terminal Services

Wheatsheaf Group acquires Ostara

Wheatsheaf Group acquires Ostara

Ostara Featured on BBC People Fixing the World

Ostara Featured on BBC People Fixing the World

Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc. & City of Atlanta Announce Official Launch of Nutrient Recovery Facility

Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc. & City of Atlanta Announce Official Launch of Nutrient Recovery Facility

Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc. and ICL Specialty Fertilizers Expand Distribution of Recycled Nutrients into New Territories

Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc. and ICL Specialty Fertilizers Expand Distribution of Recycled Nutrients into New Territories

Ostara Provides Corporate Update: Additional Growth Capital from Equity Funding and New Credit Facility; New Board Director, Monty Bayer

Ostara Provides Corporate Update: Additional Growth Capital from Equity Funding and New Credit Facility; New Board Director, Monty Bayer

Reimagining the Future of Phosphates at Symphos 2019; Phosphorus Recovery, Sustainability and the Circular Economy.

Reimagining the Future of Phosphates at Symphos 2019; Phosphorus Recovery, Sustainability and the Circular Economy.

Ostara Raises up to US$16.5 Million with Existing Investors to Support Production Scale-up and Accelerate Global Growth

Ostara Raises up to US$16.5 Million with Existing Investors to Support Production Scale-up and Accelerate Global Growth

Ostara Enters into Long-Term Granulation Tolling Agreement in Response to Increasing Crystal Green Sales Demand

Ostara Enters into Long-Term Granulation Tolling Agreement in Response to Increasing Crystal Green Sales Demand

Say Hello to Pearl Fx: Ostara Introduces New Modular, Scalable Technology

Say Hello to Pearl Fx: Ostara Introduces New Modular, Scalable Technology

Research Grant Awarded to Ostara to Address Phosphorus Pollution in Lake Erie Watershed

Research Grant Awarded to Ostara to Address Phosphorus Pollution in Lake Erie Watershed

Ostara Raises US$11 Million in Equity Financing to Accelerate Growth in New Markets

Ostara Raises US$11 Million in Equity Financing to Accelerate Growth in New Markets

Tech acquisition expands reach of nutrient recovery to new markets.

Tech acquisition expands reach of nutrient recovery to new markets.

Partnership endorses Ostara’s sustainable crop nutrition movement.

Partnership endorses Ostara’s sustainable crop nutrition movement.

Partnership with ICL Specialty Fertilizers

Partnership with ICL Specialty Fertilizers

Shafdan Wastewater Treatment Plant will be the first in the  region to install an Ostara Nutrient Recovery Facility

Shafdan Wastewater Treatment Plant will be the first in the region to install an Ostara Nutrient Recovery Facility

City of St. Cloud to Install Ostara’s Nutrient Recovery Technology as Key Part of the City’s Nutrient Recovery and Reuse Project

City of St. Cloud to Install Ostara’s Nutrient Recovery Technology as Key Part of the City’s Nutrient Recovery and Reuse Project

Ostara to Deliver City of Atlanta Nutrient Recovery Facility Through Unique Alternative Finance Model

Ostara to Deliver City of Atlanta Nutrient Recovery Facility Through Unique Alternative Finance Model

EPCOR and Ostara Transforming Nutrients from Wastewater into Environmentally Responsible Fertilizer

EPCOR and Ostara Transforming Nutrients from Wastewater into Environmentally Responsible Fertilizer

Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Partners with Taurus Agricultural Marketing

Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Partners with Taurus Agricultural Marketing

Ostara and Krevox Partner to Build Nutrient Recovery Facility at Cielcza Sewage Treatment Plant

The MWRD of Greater Chicago’s Nutrient Recovery Facility earns Top Honor from Water Environment Federation

The MWRD of Greater Chicago’s Nutrient Recovery Facility earns Top Honor from Water Environment Federation

Ostara Named to Global Cleantech Group Hall of Fame

Ostara Named to Global Cleantech Group Hall of Fame

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago and Ostara Open World’s Largest Nutrient Recovery Facility to Help Recover Phosphorus and Protect Mississippi River Basin

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago and Ostara Open World’s Largest Nutrient Recovery Facility to Help Recover Phosphorus and Protect Mississippi River Basin

Dutch Waterboard Vallei en Veluwe and Ostara to produce high-value fertiliser, Crystal Green® at Amersfoort WWTP

Dutch Waterboard Vallei en Veluwe and Ostara to produce high-value fertiliser, Crystal Green® at Amersfoort WWTP

Ostara is named in the 2015 Global Cleantech 100: Recognized as a Pioneer in Shaping the Future of Resource Recovery

Ostara is named in the 2015 Global Cleantech 100: Recognized as a Pioneer in Shaping the Future of Resource Recovery

ACWA Services partners with Ostara to offer Phosphorus Recovery Revenue Stream for UK Water Companies

ACWA Services partners with Ostara to offer Phosphorus Recovery Revenue Stream for UK Water Companies

Gwinnett County and Ostara Partner to Protect Precious Water Resources

Gwinnett County and Ostara Partner to Protect Precious Water Resources

Ostara’s Nutrient Recovery Technology Solution Named to Sustainia 100 2015

Ostara is Named in the 2014 Global Cleantech 100 for 6th Straight year: Recognized as Market Leader in Waste to Wealth Technology

Ostara is Named in the 2014 Global Cleantech 100 for 6th Straight year: Recognized as Market Leader in Waste to Wealth Technology

Ostara and EPCOR Partner to Build Nutrient Recovery Technology Facility

Ostara and EPCOR Partner to Build Nutrient Recovery Technology Facility

Ostara Sees Improved Dewaterability and Reduced Biosolids Production with Waste-activated Sludge Stripping Technology

Ostara Sees Improved Dewaterability and Reduced Biosolids Production with Waste-activated Sludge Stripping Technology

Portage la Prairie Looks to Nutrient Recovery Technologies to Reduce Pollution

Portage la Prairie Looks to Nutrient Recovery Technologies to Reduce Pollution

Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District and Ostara Help Dane County Lead the Way in Reducing Nutrient Pollution

Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District and Ostara Help Dane County Lead the Way in Reducing Nutrient Pollution

Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies wins Technology Green 15™ Award at the 2013 Deloitte Technology Fast 50™ Awards

Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies wins Technology Green 15™ Award at the 2013 Deloitte Technology Fast 50™ Awards

Fertiliser from sewage saving the planet – and cash

Fertiliser from sewage saving the planet – and cash

Ostara Named to 2013 Global Cleantech 100 List: Recognized as Market Leader in Technology with World-Changing Impact

Ostara Named to 2013 Global Cleantech 100 List: Recognized as Market Leader in Technology with World-Changing Impact

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Chicago’s Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Discuss Nutrient Recovery’s Crucial Role in Combatting Water Pollution

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Chicago’s Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Discuss Nutrient Recovery’s Crucial Role in Combatting Water Pollution

Black & Veatch and Ostara to Design-Build New Nutrient Recovery System for World’s Largest Water Reclamation Plant

Black & Veatch and Ostara to Design-Build New Nutrient Recovery System for World’s Largest Water Reclamation Plant

City of Saskatoon and Ostara Launch Canada’s First Commercial Nutrient Recovery Facility

City of Saskatoon and Ostara Launch Canada’s First Commercial Nutrient Recovery Facility

Ostara Secures $13 Million in Funding

Ostara Secures $13 Million in Funding

Crystal Green® Receives State Phosphorus Exemptions for Turf Applications

Crystal Green® Receives State Phosphorus Exemptions for Turf Applications

Ostara Selected by AlwaysOn as a Going Green Silicon Valley Global 200 Winner

Ostara Selected by AlwaysOn as a Going Green Silicon Valley Global 200 Winner

Ostara appoints Scott McDonald as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Ostara appoints Scott McDonald as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Fritz Corrigan Joins Board of Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies

Fritz Corrigan Joins Board of Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies

Ostara Wins Deloitte Technology Green 15 Award

Ostara Wins Deloitte Technology Green 15 Award

Ostara to Install Commercial Nutrient Recovery Facility in Gwinnett County

Ostara to Install Commercial Nutrient Recovery Facility in Gwinnett County

Ostara Named to 2012 Global Cleantech 100 List

Ostara Named to 2012 Global Cleantech 100 List

Ostara Selected by The Artemis Project as a 2012 Top 50 Water Company

Ostara Selected by The Artemis Project as a 2012 Top 50 Water Company

Ostara Raises US $14.5 Million to Launch Major Expansion

Ostara Raises US $14.5 Million to Launch Major Expansion

Clean Water Services and Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Open World’s Largest Municipal Nutrient Recovery Facility

Clean Water Services and Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Open World’s Largest Municipal Nutrient Recovery Facility

Ostara Named to the 2011 Deloitte Technology Green 15 (TM)

Ostara Named to the 2011 Deloitte Technology Green 15 (TM)

Ostara Named to 2011 Global Cleantech 100

Ostara Named to 2011 Global Cleantech 100

Ostara to Build Nutrient Recovery Facility at Saskatoon’s Wastewater Treatment Plant

Ostara to Build Nutrient Recovery Facility at Saskatoon’s Wastewater Treatment Plant

Ostara to be named to GoingGreen Global 200

Ostara to be named to GoingGreen Global 200

Ostara Named to The Artemis Top 50; wins GLOBE Award for Technology Innovation and Application

Ostara Named to The Artemis Top 50; wins GLOBE Award for Technology Innovation and Application

Clean Water Services to Add Second Ostara Nutrient Recovery Facility at Rock Creek Wastewater Plant

Clean Water Services to Add Second Ostara Nutrient Recovery Facility at Rock Creek Wastewater Plant

Audubon International Partners with Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies, Inc.

Audubon International Partners with Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies, Inc.

Hampton Roads Sanitation District and Ostara Win National Council of Public-Private Partnerships Award

Hampton Roads Sanitation District and Ostara Win National Council of Public-Private Partnerships Award

Ostara Named a Global Cleantech 100 Company for the Second Straight Year

Ostara Named a Global Cleantech 100 Company for the Second Straight Year

Ostara Selected by AlwaysOn as a GoingGreen Silicon Valley 100 Winner

Ostara Selected by AlwaysOn as a GoingGreen Silicon Valley 100 Winner

Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District and Ostara Partner to Install Commercial Nutrient Recovery Facility

Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District and Ostara Partner to Install Commercial Nutrient Recovery Facility

Thames Water’s Slough Sewage Works to Build Ostara Facility

Thames Water’s Slough Sewage Works to Build Ostara Facility

City of York and Ostara Open Third Commercial Facility

City of York and Ostara Open Third Commercial Facility

OSTARA NAMED TO THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM’S 2011 LIST OF TECHNOLOGY PIONEERS

OSTARA NAMED TO THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM’S 2011 LIST OF TECHNOLOGY PIONEERS

Ostara Selected as a Top 50 Water Company by The Artemis Project™

Ostara Selected as a Top 50 Water Company by The Artemis Project™

HRSD’s Launch of Nutrient Recovery Facility Lauded as ‘Great Day for Chesapeake Bay’

HRSD’s Launch of Nutrient Recovery Facility Lauded as ‘Great Day for Chesapeake Bay’

Virginia Wastewater Treatment Plant First In Chesapeake Bay Watershed to Recover Nutrients and Transform Them into “Green” Commercial Fertilizer

Virginia Wastewater Treatment Plant First In Chesapeake Bay Watershed to Recover Nutrients and Transform Them into “Green” Commercial Fertilizer

Media Alert: Unveiling of New Nutrient Recovery Facility That Will Protect Chesapeake Bay, with Keynote Speaker Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Media Alert: Unveiling of New Nutrient Recovery Facility That Will Protect Chesapeake Bay, with Keynote Speaker Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

HRSD Treatment Plant to Build Full-Scale Nutrient Recycling Facility Nutrients will be Recycled into ‘Green’ Commercial Fertilizer

HRSD Treatment Plant to Build Full-Scale Nutrient Recycling Facility Nutrients will be Recycled into ‘Green’ Commercial Fertilizer

York Wastewater Treatment Plant to Employ Full-Scale Nutrient Recycling Technology

York Wastewater Treatment Plant to Employ Full-Scale Nutrient Recycling Technology

Severn Trent First in Europe to Recycle Nutrients into “Environmentally Friendly” Commercial Fertiliser

Severn Trent First in Europe to Recycle Nutrients into “Environmentally Friendly” Commercial Fertiliser

VantagePoint Venture Partner’s Portfolio Companies Take Top Rankings in Guardian’s Global CleanTech 100

VantagePoint Venture Partner’s Portfolio Companies Take Top Rankings in Guardian’s Global CleanTech 100

Oregon Wastewater Treatment Plant First in the U.S. to Recycle Nutrients Into ‘Green’ Commercial Fertilizer

Oregon Wastewater Treatment Plant First in the U.S. to Recycle Nutrients Into ‘Green’ Commercial Fertilizer

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Joins Board of Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Joins Board of Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc.

SFPUC and Ostara Demonstrate Innovative Technology That Recycles Harmful Sewage Byproduct to Environmentally-Safe Fertilizer

SFPUC and Ostara Demonstrate Innovative Technology That Recycles Harmful Sewage Byproduct to Environmentally-Safe Fertilizer

B.C. Technology Scores Market Success

B.C. Technology Scores Market Success

Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Raises U.S. $10.5 Million to Accelerate Commercialization of CleanTech Water Treatment Process

Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Raises U.S. $10.5 Million to Accelerate Commercialization of CleanTech Water Treatment Process

Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc.: Oregon Wastewater Treatment Plant Is the First in U.S. to Recycle Nutrients Into “Green” Commercial Fertilizer

Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc.: Oregon Wastewater Treatment Plant Is the First in U.S. to Recycle Nutrients Into “Green” Commercial Fertilizer

Edmonton Reveals World’s First Industrial Scale Sewage Treatment Facility to Recycle Nutrients Into Environmentally-Safe Commercial Fertilizer

Edmonton Reveals World’s First Industrial Scale Sewage Treatment Facility to Recycle Nutrients Into Environmentally-Safe Commercial Fertilizer

Clean Water Services’ wastewater treatment facility conducts trials of new environmentally-friendly technology from Canadian company

Clean Water Services’ wastewater treatment facility conducts trials of new environmentally-friendly technology from Canadian company

Chesapeake Bay sewage treatment plant successfully completes trials of new environmentally-friendly technology from Canadian company

Chesapeake Bay sewage treatment plant successfully completes trials of new environmentally-friendly technology from Canadian company

 

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