Here’s something rather important that you might not know: there may be a worldwide phosphorus shortage within the next few decades. The majority of the world’s phosphorus is currently mined from non-renewable phosphate rock deposits, and widely used in crop fertilizers. Scientists have begun to question just how much more phosphorus is left, and what the agriculture industry will do once it runs out. The answer – or some of it, at least – could be bobbing in a pool of raw sewage. Ostara, a Canadian nutrient recovery company, has developed a method for harvesting phosphorus from municipal wastewater and converting it to fertilizer.
already remove much of the phosphorus and other nutrients, the installation of a reactor would greatly reduce the bioload on the plant, allowing it to save a poopload (sorry) of power and operating costs.
Ostara claims that a wastewater treatment plant utilizing a PEARL reactor could exceed $1 million in net savings per year. And it isn’t all just theoretical, either – Edmonton, Alberta’s Gold Bar wastewater treatment plant has been using a reactor since 2007, and has seen good results. Every day, the reactor extracts over 80% of the phosphorus and 15% of the ammonia from 500,000 liters of sludge (20% of the plant’s total sludge stream), and converts it to 500 kg (1,102 lbs) of ready-to-use Crystal Green. Pilot plants have also proven successful in British Columbia, Virginia and Oregon.View gallery - 2 images
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