CRANFIELD, UK - Cranfield University is testing out new plant technology to remove and recover nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater for use by fertilizer and chemical industries.
The technology, based on the use of ion exchange and selective media (SMARTech3), is being unveiled as part of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 SMART-Plant project.
A 10 m3/day demonstration scale plant has been set up at the university’s on-site sewage works .
Ammonia and phosphorus are removed from secondary wastewater using modified zeolites and a hybrid anion exchange, with contact times in the order of minutes, the university said.
The nutrients are then recovered from the multi-used regenerant solutions as ammonium sulphate and calcium phosphate.
The Cranfield University trials will be of interest to UK utilities who are looking to increase the removal of phosphorus to comply with regulations.
The EU Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive set limits to about 1 milligram phosphorus (P) per litre (mg/l) level. However, the EU Water Framework Directive requires utilities to get substantially lower - to 0.2mg/l
Dr Ana Soares, Senior Lecturer in Biological Engineering, said: “This new plant technology, at Cranfield, will enable us to demonstrate how existing wastewater treatment plants can be renovated in order to capture nitrogen and phosphorus that can then be used by other industries.”
SMART-Plant, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme, is a project with 25 partners that aims to move forward the scale-up of low-carbon footprint material recovery techniques in wastewater treatment plants. The project demonstrates technologies that result in the production of energy, chemicals and other materials such as cellulose, bioplastics, ammonium sulphate, struvite, calcium phosphate from wastewater.