High-Efficiency Nutrient Removal and Recovery for Achieving Low Regulatory LimitsEPA Contract Number: EPD18008
Title: High-Efficiency Nutrient Removal and Recovery for Achieving Low Regulatory Limits
Investigators: Shirazi, Fatemeh
Small Business: Microvi Biotech, Inc.
EPA Contact: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Project Period: February 1, 2018 through January 31, 2020
Project Amount: $300,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase II (2017) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , SBIR - Water
Discharging nutrients such as phosphorus and ammonia to surface waters can have far reaching health and environmental impacts, including the formation of toxic algae blooms, eutrophication, and loss of water quality. The wastewater industry has a significant need for high-efficiency nutrient removal technologies. However, current nutrient removal treatment technologies can be costly and ineffective to reliably achieve regulatory limits of <0.1 mg/L of phosphorus and <1 mg/L of ammonia. This Phase II project is based on a novel technology called ProviTM for consolidating the treatment of phosphorus and other nutrients in wastewater, and subsequently recovering phosphorus as a valuable bioproduct. The core innovation of this project is the use of novel biocatalysts comprising specialized high-efficiency microorganisms capable of rapidly and reversibly accumulating phosphorus from complex wastewaters. Unlike conventional biological systems, the Provi technology does not rely on the growth and wasting of biomass, thereby enabling a less expensive, energy-efficient, and minimal sludge process. The results-to-date show that the Provi technology reliably reduces phosphorus to <0.8 mg/L while simultaneously reducing ammonia to <1 mg/L over extended periods of operation. Moreover, phosphorus recovery can be achieved in as little as 15 minutes. These results show the promise of the Provi technology to treat nutrients more reliably and to lower limits than conventional approaches, while simultaneously creating the opportunity for phosphorus recovery to offset costs and help protect environmental quality.