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Ostara: fertilizer from wastewater treatment


June 3, 2010
By Dave Harrison

June
3, 2010, Suffolk, VA – Through
a ground-breaking public/private partnership, the Hampton Roads
Sanitation
District (HRSD) and Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc. has
opened the
first facility in the fragile Chesapeake Bay Watershed to benefit from
Ostara’s
innovative new technology that recovers nutrients including phosphorus
and
nitrogen from wastewater and transforms them into an
environmentally friendly, commercial
fertilizer.



June
3, 2010, Vancouver – Through
a ground-breaking public/private partnership, the Hampton Roads Sanitation
District (HRSD) and Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc. has opened the
first facility in the fragile Chesapeake Bay Watershed to benefit from Ostara’s
innovative new technology that recovers nutrients including phosphorus and
nitrogen from wastewater and transforms them into an environmentally-friendly, commercial
fertilizer.

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ostara_abrary_and_robert_kennedy_jr_
Phillip
Abrary, president and CEO of Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies, and Ostara board member Robert Kennedy Jr. look over a batch of Crystal Green® fertilizer produced at the Chesapeake Bay plant.

Ostara’s
Pearl process provides benefits to HRSD, its ratepayers and the environment by
increasing plant capacity and production efficiencies, while creating a premium
fertilizer by-product from waste. The facility enhances HRSD’s significant
efforts to remove excess nutrients from wastewater. The recovered nutrients,
including phosphorus and nitrogen, are transformed at the Nansemond facility
into an environmentally-friendly, commercial fertilizer called Crystal Green®,
which uses a slow-release formula to ensure that nutrients are absorbed by
plants and thereby reduces fertilizer runoff from reaching and polluting the
Bay’s fragile ecosystem.

 

ostara_kennedy_jr_at_opening
Kennedy was the keynote speaker at the official opening ceremonies.

"Our
technology integrates into the treatment system, processes the liquids from the
digested solids recycle streams and recovers phosphorus and other nutrients —
and then converts them into a high-quality environmentally-friendly commercial
fertilizer, increasing operational efficiency for the plant," said Phillip
Abrary, president and CEO of Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies. “This
approach provides HRSD with a cost-effective and environmentally-sound
operational improvement and also creates a fertilizer product made from the
only sustainable source of phosphorus – waste – which is non-leaching and
therefore, helps to protect waterways.”


SUCCESSFUL
PILOT LEADS TO COMMERCIAL FACILITY

Pearl
was successfully tested from October 2006 to March 2007 in a pilot-scale
facility at HRSD’s Nansemond plant, where it recovered more than 85 per cent of
the phosphorus and 40 per cent of the ammonia from the liquid it processed.
This successful demonstration project has led to the full-scale commercial
implementation unveiled today.

The
Nansemond Treatment Plant is designed to clean up to 30 million gallons of
wastewater per day (MGD). It is one of 13 plants owned and operated by HRSD, a
public utility that serves 1.6 million people in an area of over 3,100 square
miles. The Nansemond facility discharges its treated effluent to the James
River, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. Excessive nutrients, including
phosphorus and nitrogen, have been identified by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation
as one of the most serious water quality problems affecting the Bay.

“The
pilot program was a great success,” said HRSD general manager Ted Henifin, “so
building a commercial recovery facility was an easy decision. The benefit of
Ostara’s Pearl system is gaining the ability to recover nutrients that were a
maintenance problem in our plant and turn them into a commercially viable
fertilizer product with basically no additional costs to us. HRSD is focused on
reducing human impact on the environment and recovering phosphorus to replace
mined phosphorus does just that.”

Treatment
systems typically separate solids from liquids. The treated solids are then
disposed of while the liquids are typically reprocessed back through the
wastewater system. This adds costs by clogging pipes with a concrete-like scale
called struvite — the result of phosphorus and ammonia (nitrogen) combining
with magnesium — and by consuming up to 25 per cent of the system's capacity.

Robert
F. Kennedy, Jr., an Ostara board member representing VantagePoint Venture
Partners, notes that the incorporation of the Ostara technology at the
Nansemond plant is the kind of infrastructure solution needed in hundreds of
municipalities across the United States. “Local and state governments are
taking notice of the improved economics and reduced environmental impact which
can be achieved through this kind of this public/private partnership. This
groundbreaking approach ultimately saves money for ratepayers while also
reducing the impact that wastewater treatment plants have on local waterways,
all without onerous regulation,” said Kennedy. 

OREGON
OPERATION HAS ALREADY EXCEEDED EXPECTATIONS

Ostara’s
first customers are already seeing significant cost savings and environmental
impact reductions. Clean Water Services' Durham Advanced Wastewater Treatment
facility outside Portland, Ore., which was the world’s first to implement a
commercial operation using Ostara’s nutrient recovery technology, has been
operational for more than one year. In that year, Ostara's Pearl process has
exceeded expectations with respect to the operational cost savings it has
delivered, and has produced more than 500,000 pounds of Crystal Green fertilizer.

 

 ostara_vial_of_crystal_green
 A vial of Crystal Green.

The
Nansemond Struvite Recovery Facility is projected to remove more than 85 per
cent of the phosphorus from solids recycle streams and has the capacity to
produce more than one million pounds of Crystal Green fertilizer annually.

The
production of Crystal Green has dramatically lower production costs and
environmental impacts than fertilizers produced from mined phosphorus, which
leaves a huge carbon footprint. The world’s first environmentally safe,
slow-release fertilizer made from recovered nutrients, Crystal Green is ideally
suited for the nursery, turf and specialty agriculture markets. It is being
sold through national and regional commercial fertilizer blenders across North
America.

“Phosphorus
is a key building block of life, and some researchers believe that the earth’s
supply could be depleted within the next 50-100 years if preventive actions are
not taken. We’re recovering phosphorus and other nutrients into a useful,
premium fertilizer while reducing the carbon footprint in its manufacture and
preventing runoff. By bringing the process full circle, we’re truly creating
value from waste,” according to Abrary.

Numerous
other commercial applications of the Ostara technology are in pilot stages
including the third facility in Europe and the first in Asia, with the next
commercial facility launching in York, Penn., later this year. Ostara estimates
that approximately 200 plants in North America and several hundred plants in
Europe and the rest of the world are candidates for the Pearl process.

ABOUT OSTARA

Ostara
Nutrient Recovery Technologies, Inc. is a Vancouver-based company developing
and marketing proprietary technologies that recover nutrients from liquid
wastewater and transform them into an environmentally-friendly slow-release
fertilizer, called Crystal Green.

Ostara’s
water technology, named Pearl® Nutrient Recovery Process, reduces the amount of
pollutants released into the environment while creating a beneficial fertilizer
product. Ostara is backed by VantagePoint Venture Partners in the U.S. and Frog
Capital in the UK. In September 2009, Ostara was named one of the Top 100
Global CleanTech Companies by The Guardian, a London-based media group.


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