"Environment" research area

Regenerable Membranes for Phosphate Removal and Recovery from Water

Primary Investigator - Valerie PierrePrimary Investigator Valerie Pierre
Co-InvestigatorsSrikanth Dasari (Postdoctoral Research Scholar)
Industry PartnersMetropolitan Council Wastewater Treatment Plant
Award Type: Seed Grant - Postdoctoral Research Scholar with NRRI Travel Grant

ProblemThe over-supply of phosphorus (P) primarily from wastewater discharge and agricultural runoff leads to eutrophication in many inland and coastal waters, causing substantial detrimental environmental impact, including harmful algal blooms, fish-kills, and the formation of hypoxic “dead zones”. Over 65% of US estuaries and coastal waters now exhibit moderate to severe eutrophication, with significant ecological, industrial, and economic consequences. Removal of P from wastewater and agricultural runoff is key to mitigating eutrophication.

SolutionOur overarching goal is to close the P cycle by sequestering phosphate (Pi) from polluted wastewater and waterways and recovering it as slow-release fertilizers. We will develop receptor-functionalized membranes with the ability to catch Pi from wastewater and subsequently release it at will, thereby regenerating the membranes while recovering an important resource.

ImpactThe ability to remove phosphate from unwanted locations and to recover it as a valuable resource for agriculture is key to the long-term sustainable use of two critical resources: water and phosphate.