Blue Water Technologies
N-E-W Tech™ is an innovative water treatment process at the nutrient, energy, and water nexus that integrates hydrous ferric oxide reactive filtration in a moving bed sand filter with added ozone and 1-10 grams per gallon of functionalized biochar. N-E-W Tech™ is a third generation technology built on the award-winning reactive filtration platform developed by the University of Idaho. Licensed to Blue Water Technologies, first-generation Blue PRO® installations allow limit-of-performance phosphorus removal at wastewater treatment plants with demonstrated scalable success in up to 15 MGD installations. Blue CAT® with added ozone for catalytic oxidation, combines with low level P removal with oxidative destruction of trace organic compounds including priority substances. N-E-W Tech™ advances these capabilities with phosphorus recovery. It is a technology semi-finalist in the 2016 U.S. EPA Nutrient Recycling Challenge, participating in the Nutrient Recycling Summit held at the White House on March 30-31, 2015.
What are the benefits to implementing your technology?
N-E-W Tech™ vertically integrates multiple emerging wastewater treatment objectives including intensification of resource recovery into a single process. The rapid N-E-W Tech™ process catalytically oxidizes trace organic contaminants with multiple oxidation pathways including ferryl iron (Fe4+) and peroxyl-hydroxyl radical production that also destroys pathogens for water sterilization. Mineralized nutrients are efficiently removed from the water flow and recovered in a nutrient upcycled, value-added biochar fertilizer product that addresses the need for carbon sequestration to mitigate climate change. Water sterilization and high redox oxidative attack addresses the serious public health concerns over antibiotic-resistant bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes in municipal wastewater treatment discharge.
The array of chemical oxidants developed in the process and the presence of iron and charcoal sacrificial catalysts for homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis advance oxidative destruction of contaminants and pathogens of current concern, while future-proofing wastewater treatment for emerging risks. The novel integration of common water treatment modalities including metal salts, sand filtration, ozone, and charcoal present a well-understood value prospectus in process costs and performance. N-E-W Tech™ advances the potential for unrestricted water reuse and public health, by destroying not just removing, trace organic chemicals and pathogens.
Has the technology been tested, demonstrated, or implemented anywhere to date?
N-E-W Tech™ is in pilot research trials using a 40’, 10-15 gpm process trailer at municipal wastewater treatment plants (see photos above). Process results included 90-99%+ removals of drugs and steroidal compounds to near or below part per trillion detection limits, removal of total phosphorus to levels below 0.010 mg/L with recovery on the recovered biochar, and water sterilization redox potentials as high as of Eh = 1300 mV with 4+ log removal of fecal coliforms and E. coli to below detectable counts. Its sister technology Blue PRO®, with current installation up to 15 MGD in the U.S., UK, Ireland, and South Korea, was most recently successfully commissioned in March 2016 at the WWTP in Citronelle, Alabama with the lowest NPDES permitted discharge in the U.S. (0.020 mg/L total phosphorus). In May 2016, UK’s Evergreen Water Solutions Ltd. is commissioning a 0.43 MGD pilot trial of Blue CAT® at the Horwich England wastewater treatment facility to address low P removal and priority substances removal advancing the water quality targets of the UK and European Union (see photos below). These Blue CAT® and Blue PRO® installations have upgrade capability for N-E-W Tech™.
What are some of the next steps needed to advance the technology?
N-E-W Tech™ process analysis is the focus of several research grants in progress and pending proposals for better understanding molecular and engineering system. This knowledge will help us understand the pathways to optimization in an array of complex wastewaters and targets for advances in water quality. We anticipate a full engineering economic analyses and process efficiency upgrades during this technology development and integration into the reactive filtration platform. The state-of-the-art Citronelle and Horwich installations will afford critical knowledge for the intensification and recovery of resources using the platform as we move forward with N-E-W Tech™.
LIFT opens doors and starts conversations that are critical in early-stage technology development. New technologies such as N-E-W Tech™ require careful vetting for operational performance and key economic parameters. Integration of advanced treatment requires the broad knowledge base of the professional water treatment community.Gregory MöllerProfessor of Environmental Chemistry and ToxicologyUniversity of Idaho