Phosphate fertilizer recovery from anaerobic acid digesters in sewage treatment plants.

Period of Performance: 01/01/2013 - 12/31/2013


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Madison, WI 53711
Principal Investigator, Firm POC


Facing strict effluent limits, municipal wastewater treatment facilities are dealing with increasing costs of treating phosphorus in their waste. Current technologies are capable of sequestering the phosphorus in an unusable form or capturing only a fraction of it. Nutrient Recovery and Upcycling, LLC is working on a technology that can recover 44% more of the phosphorus from municipal waste than competing methods while reducing the chemical cost as well as the size of the necessary equipment, energy, and space. The proposed research will help characterize the organic acid digest, a mid-stream in the anaerobic digestion process at municipal wastewater treatment plants, to determine the best method and configuration to reduce its solids content and precipitate a phosphorus mineral. This technology addresses the need to recycle phosphorus from the waste stream in order to prevent technical problems at wastewater treatment plants and water pollution. The ultimate goal of our process is to produce a high-grade source of phosphorus that has been "upcycled" (i.e., has higher value at the end of the process than at the beginning), and brought to a point where it can be used in either agriculture or industry.