UBC technology draws phosphorus from raw sewage
The Globe and Mail
The old Yorkshire saying “where there’s muck, there’s brass” has been given a green twist by a Vancouver company that sells a technique to extract pure phosphorus from waste water.
The process employed by Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc. was developed by the University of British Columbia’s civil engineering department in the late 1990s. The team used “a bacteria farm” to remove nutrients in raw sewage, leaving phosphorus as a byproduct. The mineral is essential to agricultural fertilizers, and with world stocks in decline, the push to find other sources is necessary and profitable.
President Phillip Abrary, who launched Ostara and commercialized the technology, credits the City of Edmonton for “taking the risk” to work with the company on its initial pilot project to test the viability of the technology in 2006. But it was Clean Water Services, a Portland, Ore.-based water resource management utility, that in June of 2009 opened the world’s first commercial plant using the nutrient recovery system. The interest in Ostara stemmed from a policy by Clean Water Services to be on the lookout for new technologies that address emerging economic and environmental concerns.
Mr. Abrary said the commercial attraction of the United States, over Ostara’s home country, was scale, and added that his approach is similar to many small Canadian companies looking to expand.
Read the full article at www.theglobeandmail.com