MANHATTAN, KAN. -- 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,
|Contact: Lea Studer|
Kansas State University