Phosphorus Removal and Recovery From Municipal Wastewater Using Nano-Enhanced Media

EPA Contract Number: EPD14010
Title: Phosphorus Removal and Recovery From Municipal Wastewater Using Nano-Enhanced Media
Investigators: Sengupta, Dr. Suvankar
Small Business: MetaMateria Technologies, LLC
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: May 1, 2014 through April 30, 2015
Project Amount: $100,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2014) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , SBIR - Nanomaterials , SBIR - Wastewater, Stormwater, and Water Reuse


This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will develop approaches for the capture and recovery of phosphorus in municipal reclamation facilities processing under I MGD using an innovative nanostructured sorption media. The captured phosphorous will be recovered from the media by a simple treatment and will be converted to a useful material.
Eutrophication is a process in which water bodies such as lakes, estuaries or slow-moving streams receive excess nutrients, potentially severely impacting the natural ecosystem, human health, recreational potential, and property values. Phosphorus is the limiting nutrient that controls eutrophication in temperate climates. Discharges from industrial facilities, especially wastewater treatment facilities, with little to no treatment for nitrogen and phosphorus are a significant source of these nutrients discharged to surface waters throughout the country. Although excess phosphorus exists in aquatic environments worldwide, it is lacking in many soils where it is needed for agriculture. Phosphorous is a scarce commodity that will be in short supply during this century, and existing supplies are concentrated outside the United States. The success of this innovative wastewater treatment technology requires a clear design process and cost accounting. Furthermore, as the importance of global climate change continues to become realized, advantages of a technology that reduces greenhouse gas emissions are obvious. Consequently, this project also will compare carbon footprints of the media to existing phosphorus removal procedures.
The overall objective of the program is to develop a phosphorous removal and recovery system for municipal water waste reclamation facilities. The approach relies on the innovative nano-iron based media developed at MetaMateria. The media is capable for sorbing large amounts of phosphorous and media can be regenerated and the captured phosphorous recovered, allowing the media to be reused. Phosphorus compounds then can be sold for fertilizer or other applications. In Phase I, the feasibility of the proposed approach will be demonstrated with water collected from nearby waste reclamation facilities. Wastewater will be collected from at least five reclamation facilities, each with diverse influents including one receiving primarily domestic influent and one with a majority of industrial wastewater. The media characteristics will be studied for this wide variety in water chemistry between different waste water reclamation facilities. Phase I will provide the experience needed to allow for optimization of the testing protocols and confidence for the installation of multiple demonstrations to be done in Phase 2.

Supplemental Keywords:

wastewater reclamation, phosphorus, nanomaterial, eutrophication

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report