Wednesday, November 6, 2013

PHOTOS: New £2million sewage treatment facility is turning human waste into super fertiliser!!

A new �2 million�sewage treatment plant�is turning our waste into a sustainable source of environmentally-friendly fertiliser that experts claim could help secure future global food supplies.

The nutrient-recovery reactor,�the first of its kind in Europe,�is producing high-grade phosphorus-based fertiliser from the �unique� waste water coming out of Slough, Berkshire.

Phosphorus is a key ingredient in fertiliser and vital for the growth of crops but its cost has increased by 500 per cent since 2007 as the availability of mined phosphate rock dwindles from non-renewable reserves.

A�Thames Water�spokesman said the UK uses 138,000 tonnes of phosphate fertiliser a year, all of which is imported from abroad.

But the new reactor will produce 150 tonnes of�its phosphate fertiliser�- which the company has described as �Viagra for plants� � every�year.

Thames Water believes the fertiliser could help boost crop production and secure future global�food supplies.�
The spokesman said: �Mineable reserves of phosphorus, in countries like Morocco, the US and China, are set to be completely depleted in 100 years, according to some experts, while others say �peak phosphorus� will occur as early as the mid-2030s, after which it is expected to become increasingly scarce and expensive.

�This adds to the costs, not to mention the reliance on external sources for such a vital resource, which is used to produce all food consumed by human beings.�

Peter Melchett, policy director at the Soil Association, said: �With the world�s affordable mineable reserves of phosphorus set to start running out in the next 20 to 30 years, this new technology could offer a solution to securing global food supplies over the coming decades.

�Without fertilisation from phosphorus, wheat crop yields will fall by more than half. Meanwhile, as the planet�s population is predicted to hit nine billion by 2050, demand for food will increase.

�Sustainable alternative sources of phosphorus, like this reactor at Slough sewage works, are vital if we are to keep pace with this demand.�

The water company spokesman said nutrient-recovery facilities are ideally suited to industrialised areas such as Slough. He said the high-strength organic waste coming from the Slough Trading Estate, immortalised in the BBC television series The Office, was rich in the nutrients ammonia and phosphorous.

He said this causes struvite, which is a rock-like scale on pipes at the sewage works costing Thames Water �200,000 a year to clean.
The facility, built by Vancouver-based Ostara Nutrient Recovery, makes the phosphorus form into struvite in a controlled setting, before turning it into crystalline fertiliser pellets.

The company markets this under the brand name Crystal Green, which it says is cleaner than any similar product on the market with lower heavy metal content.

The spokesman said: �The new reactor will also improve the quality of treated effluent leaving the sewage works, reducing nutrient levels and in turn reducing algae growth in rivers and streams, which can suck oxygen out of watercourses leaving little for fish and other wildlife.�

Piers Clark, commercial director for Thames Water, said: �This is a classic win-win. We are producing eco-friendly steroids for plants, while also tackling the costly problem of struvite fouling up pipes at our works.

�The cash and carbon cost of digging phosphate out of the ground in a far-flung foreign clime then shipping it back to Britain makes no sense when compared to the local, sustainable process of our reactor in Slough.

�As we gain experience with this new technology, we intend to evaluate its suitability for installation at other Thames Water plants in the UK.�

He added: �Slough has taken some stick over the years, from the likes of poet John Betjeman and Ricky Gervais, but this scheme is rebranding it as an eco-warrior at the forefront of the global effort to save the planet.�

Phillip Abrary, president and chief executive of Ostara, said: �This new facility is a model for sustainable innovation in the UK and indeed across Europe.

�Removing nutrients from where they shouldn�t be � in our waterways � and using them to create a new generation of enhanced-efficiency fertiliser is the smart thing to do economically and the right thing to do environmentally.�

via Gistactivist


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