High-Efficiency Nutrient Removal and Recovery for Achieving Low Regulatory LimitsEPA Contract Number: EPD17007
Title: High-Efficiency Nutrient Removal and Recovery for Achieving Low Regulatory Limits
Investigators: Shirazi, Fatemeh
Small Business: Microvi Biotech, Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Project Period: November 1, 2016 through April 30, 2017
Project Amount: $100,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2016) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , SBIR - Water
Discharge of nutrients (e.g. phosphorus and ammonia) to surface waters can cause eutrophication and the formation of toxic algal blooms, threatening human health and the environment. However, current phosphorus treatment technologies such as chemical precipitation and conventional biological systems can be costly and ineffective to reliably achieve impending effluent regulatory limits of <0.1 mg/L. The objective of this project is to develop a novel, cost-effective solution for consolidating the treatment of phosphorus and other nutrients in wastewater, and subsequently recovering phosphorus as a concentrated solution that can be converted to a valuable bioproduct. Potential end-users of the technology include wastewater treatment plants seeking to meet tertiary treatment standards on limited budgets. The core innovation of this early-stage research is the development of novel biocatalysts comprising specialized microorganisms capable of rapidly and reversibly accumulating phosphorus from complex wastewaters. Unlike conventional biological systems, the proposed technology does not rely on the growth and wasting of biomass, thereby enabling a less expensive, energy-efficient, and minimal sludge process. Preliminary results show the promise of proposed technology to treat nutrients more rapidly and to lower limits than conventional approaches, while simultaneously creating the opportunity for phosphorus recovery to offset costs and help protect environmental quality.