Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Benefits Abound with Recently Patented System That Reduces Phosphorus in Wastewater, Engineering Team Finds

07.12.2011
A team of bioprocessing engineers with Kansas State University's Advanced Manufacturing Institute has been issued a patent for a system that removes phosphorus from wastewater and addresses environmental regulations.

Excess phosphate from both animal and human wastewater is an important environmental problem. It can pollute water resources and cause algae blooms, a problem that was present in many Kansas lakes and reservoirs this summer.

The phosphorus reduction system, called Phred for short, is an easy-to-use fully automated system that removes up to 60 percent of phosphorus in wastewater from cattle feedlots. The system was issued as a patent titled "Fluidized bed precipitator with optimized solids settling and solids handling features for use in recovering phosphorus from wastewater" to the Kansas State University Research Foundation, a nonprofit corporation responsible for managing the technology transfer activities of the university.

"In essence, the system changes the chemistry of wastewater from the feedlot. It runs the water through the reactor and the phosphorus is retained in pellet form. A chemical reaction occurs, so the water comes out with lower phosphate levels," said Sigifredo Castro Diaz, a bioprocessing engineer with the Advanced Manufacturing Institute, or AMI, who helped create the patented system.

"Through this system, we can recycle the excess phosphate, while before it could be wasted and end up feeding algae water in lakes," Diaz said.

The project started as a partnership with Kansas Environmental Management Associates, or KEMA. The researchers created a pilot system in the laboratory then used a scale version on the university's lagoon or the feeding operation pond. Finally, the team developed a large-scale system to use at Supreme Cattle Feeders near Liberal, Kan.

The final patented system works by removing phosphorus from lagoons and trapping it in pellet form, making it easier to distribute and package. By doing so, it addresses two important farming concerns involving irrigation.

"Without the system, if farmers reuse the wastewater and there is too much phosphorus in it, they can face fines by the EPA," Diaz said. "But during a drought, it is not helpful to have all this water that they cannot use because of the phosphorus content. So with this phosphorus reduction system, farmers can remove the phosphorus and safely use the water."

As a result, the system helps farmers cut costs while following Environmental Protection Agency regulations. Farmers can purchase the system with assistance from the Environmental Quality Incentive Program, a federal program that provides assistance to farmers. While competitive systems exist, they are often more expensive, less efficient and less applicable to agricultural wastewater, the researchers said.

"The development of the Phred system provides livestock farms and others with a valuable tool to protect our nation's lakes, streams and estuaries, and KEMA is proud to be the driving force behind its development," said Kylo Heller, director of development for KEMA.

Diaz is now leading related research projects through partnerships with Kansas State University and other organizations. The team is improving the efficiency of the current bioprocessing system by partnering with additional AMI and university researchers, such as Larry Glasgow, professor of chemical engineering.

The researchers are discovering uses for the phosphorus pellets that come from the system. Kimberly Williams, professor of horticulture, worked on a nutrient release study and found several important advantages of phosphorus pellets as fertilizer for lawns and plants. For instance, the pellets are a natural slow-release fertilizer, meaning they slowly release nutrients to plants.

Similarly, the team is looking at ways to decrease phosphorus in cattle feed. Doing so will prevent excess phosphorus from entering the ecosystem.

While the current system is optimally designed for wastewater from cattle feedlots, Diaz has been leading efforts to apply the same method at dairy and hog farms. The wastewater from these farms is different because it often comes from indoor barns that produce more phosphate-concentrated wastewater. The researchers have proved that the same system can work with both types of farms and are now working to fine-tune it.

Other AMI engineers who worked on the patented system include Gina Becker, former bioprocessing engineer, and Michael Hanson, a Kansas State University chemical engineering graduate and a former intern.

Other partners on the project include: KansasBio, the Kansas Livestock Association, DT Search and Designs LLC, KLA Environmental Services Inc., Kansas Bioscience Authority, Kansas Corn Commission, Missouri Life Science Research Board, the National Resources Conservation Service with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Kansas Conservation Commission, Kansas Water Office and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Sigifredo Castro Diaz, 785-532-7044, scastro@amisuccess.com;
and Lea Studer, 785-532-3432, lstuder@k-state.edu

Sigifredo Castro Diaz | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.k-state.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Minimized water consumption in CSP plants - EU project MinWaterCSP is making good progress
05.12.2017 | Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum

nachricht Jena Experiment: Loss of species destroys ecosystems
28.11.2017 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

Im Focus: Virtual Reality for Bacteria

An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications

Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

Blockchain is becoming more important in the energy market

05.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New research identifies how 3-D printed metals can be both strong and ductile

11.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

11.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

What makes corals sick?

11.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>