Ensuring a Renewable Future through Implementation of Resource Recovery

Authors:

  • Wendell Khunjar PhD, PE, Ron Latimer PE, Joe Rohrbacher PE, Vivi Nguyen PE, Thomas Worley Morse PhD - Hazen and Sawyer

Included in WE&RF NTRY1R12 is a summary of costs for full-scale facilities that have implemented extractive nutrient recovery in the form of struvite crystallization, seen here.

WE&RF NTRY3R13 identified the most promising candidates for recovery from wastewater: volatile fatty acids (VFAs), polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), alcohols, and microbial electrolysis cell (MEC) products. This figure illustrates conceptually how these product groups would be produced at WRRFs using municipal wastewater or sidestreams. (source: WE&RF NTRY3R13 report)

As part of WE&RF NTRY815a, we developed a pathway forward for the future development of plasmid recovery from wastewater, detailing steps for short-term, mid-term, and long-term action. (source: WE&RF)

Hazen and Sawyer continues to lead the industry in the recovery of traditional and non-traditional recoverable commodities from water resource recovery facilities (WRRF). In 2016, Hazen completed three research projects funded by the Water Environmental and Reuse Foundation (WE&RF).

WE&RF NTRY1R12 – Towards a Renewable Future: Assessing Resource Recovery as a Viable Treatment Alternative

In this project, the Hazen and Sawyer led research team:
• Identified barriers that prevent utilities of various sizes from using existing commercially available technologies to recover phosphorus and developed strategies that can be used to circumvent barriers against implementing extractive nutrient recovery.

• Presented a critical compendium of extractive nutrient recovery technologies and introduced a three-step framework to facilitate more rapid adoption of extractive nutrient recovery.

• Provided a detailed summary of economic and non-economic factors that can favor the implementation of extractive nutrient recovery, and provided a framework for performing a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of implementing extractive nutrient recovery, and summarized detailed costs for full-scale facilities that have implemented extractive nutrient recovery in the form of struvite crystallization.

• Develop an Excel-based Tool for Evaluating Resource Recovery that is focused on extractive phosphorus recovery (TERRY-P) that utilities can use to evaluate the suitability of phosphorus recovery at their utilities.

The state of the science, the report describing case studies of facilities performing extractive phosphorus recovery, and the Tool for Evaluating Resource Recovery are all available on the WE&RF website.

WE&RF NTRY3R13 – Beyond Nutrients: Recovering Carbon and Other Commodity Products from Wastewater

In this project, the Hazen and Sawyer led research team:
• Provided an annotated, interactive inventory of technologies capable of recovering carbon-based and other non-nutrient commodity products from wastewater.

• Prioritized commodities based on their current and potential future market value, identifying existing technologies for their recovery from wastewater and/or technology and research needs to realize recovery potential.

• Developed strategies that WRRFs can use to implement and provide improved carbon-based products and compared recovery potentials of the different carbon products.

Further details on this work can be found at the WE&RF website.

WE&RF NTRY815a – Advances in Recovering Plasmids from Wastewater

One of the non-traditional resources being considered for recovery included plasmids. Plasmids are small, double stranded rings of DNA that microorganisms can use to enhance their functionality. There is interest in recovering plasmids from WRRFs since activated sludge systems represent an untapped reservoir of genetic material that may be suitable for exploitation using biotechnology platforms.

In this project, the Hazen and Sawyer led research team:
• Developed a comprehensive summary of plasmids in the context of their potential as a resource to be recovered from wastewater.

• Discussed the tools for extraction of plasmid DNA and the approaches (culture-based and sequence-based) for screening the functions encoded therein.

• Proposed a classification scheme for plasmid-related products that facilitates the evaluation of their value as recovered products.

• Developed a pathway forward for the future development of plasmid recovery from wastewater, detailing steps for short-term, mid-term, and long-term action.

Further details on this work can be found at the WE&RF website.

For more information on any of these reports, please contact Wendell Khunjar at wkhunjar@hazenandsawyer.com.

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Horizons Fall 2017 (pdf)

Horizons showcases significant water, wastewater, reuse, and stormwater projects and innovations that help our clients to achieve their goals, and can help you achieve yours. Articles are written by top engineers and process group leaders, demonstrating and explaining the beneficial application of a variety of technologies and tools.

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