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New study outlines economic and environmental benefits to reducing nitrogen pollution
Date:7/28/2011

e gas. Using emissions credits to address the problem could create an economic incentive of up to $600 million per year for U.S. plants to reduce nitrogen pollution, with the added benefit of up to $100 million per year in electricity savings if they do so.

"Recent N2O monitoring studies conducted by Columbia Engineering and research groups across the globe have found that meeting wastewater treatment objectives actually decreases biogenic N2O emissions," added Chandran. "So designing and adopting better process technologies for improving water quality could actually have a significant impact on reduced N2O emissions."

"Our study shows that there's a win-win-win situation out there waiting to be realized," said James Wang, the chief author of the paper. "The creation of an emissions trading market could provide the needed incentive for wastewater treatment plants to adopt technologies that would reduce climate pollution, help clean up our waterways, and even save energy and money."

Chandran's research focuses primarily on biological nitrogen removal from wastewater, sustainable water sanitation and hygiene (WASH), and developing new technologies for resource recovery and reuse from waste. His team recently created the first protocol to measure nitrous oxide (a greenhouse gas 300 times more potent than CO2). Using the protocol, his Columbia Engineering group developed the first nationwide database of N2O emissions from wastewater treatment plants. The database has now been adopted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the standard to estimate N2O emissions from wastewater treatment plants. Chandran is also working towards developing and implementing "energy-positive" wastewater treatment technologies that will produce energy rather than consume it at some of the largest wastewater utilities in the U.S.

Chandran was recently awarded a $1.5 million project grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a revolutio
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Contact: Holly Evarts
holly@engineering.columbia.edu
212-854-3206
Columbia University
Source:Eurekalert

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