Smart eco-solution to reduce phosphorus in waterways
Wastewater, whether urban or from farms, may not look or smell good. But to University of Auckland researchers, it can be the source of agricultural gold – well, a whitish-goldish mineral called struvite, anyway.
Phosphorus-rich struvite not only makes a great slow-release fertiliser, recovering it from wastewater helps clean up our waterways.
Senior Lecturer Wei Yu and Research Fellow Bing Li of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the Faculty of Engineering have been researching phosphorus recovery for years.
They’re now ready to take the next step and pilot their process on a commercial scale. They say it will not only be good for the planet, it will also make financial sense.
Phosphorus is essential to all life forms. However, it’s associated with major problems.
While a little phosphorus helps plants grow, too much is terrible for waterways. Plants only take up so much phosphorus. The rest, along with other nutrients in fertiliser, such as nitrogen, runs off when it rains and makes its way to lakes, rivers and the ocean.