The Wetsus NaFRAd project has reached the final stage of the 10 million dollar George Barley Water Prize. The “ GRAND CHALLENGE” will see four Pilot Prize qualifiers compete against each other for 14 months to win the $10 million prize. Making it to the Grand Challenge is the last step in the four stage competition, of which NaFRAd already won the first two stages and now also the third pilot stage.
The George Barley Water Prize, presented by The Everglades Foundation, Florida, USA, will award $10 million to a party capable of developing a cost-effective and compact process for removal and recovery of phosphorus to ultra low values to provide clean water for natural water bodies on a globally applicable scale. There is a high demand in Florida for such a technology, as it would make it possible to restore the natural water flow through the Everglades and prevent toxic algae blooms at the coasts of Florida.
The top three contestants from Stage 2 and the next seven best applicants (from Stage 2 and from the direct application) have competed in Ontario, Canada during stage 3. The 10 qualifiers tested their technology over three months, to prove their solution’s ability to remove phosphorus in cold water climates. Out of these 10, four winners were selected to compete in the final “GRAND CHALLENGE”.
NaFRAd is a total solution using a combination of adsorption and flocculation to remove and recover soluble and particulate phosphorus. It is a two-step approach where phosphorus is removed through flocculation with natural flocculants to remove particulate phosphorus and adsorption with a special high capacity adsorbent to remove the soluble phosphorus. The saturated adsorbent can be regenerated with an alkaline regeneration liquid to release the phosphate. The phosphate is recovered from the regeneration liquid in a crystallizer as pure calcium phosphate through controlled addition of calcium hydroxide. The recovered calcium phosphate is a clean, green replacement of the phosphate rock currently mined in Florida.
Green Water Solution has also reached the final stage. Green Water Solution is industrial partner of the Wetsus phosphate recovery research theme. The company is competing with their patent-pending BioPhree® adsorbent. For the George Barley prize this adsorbent is combined with a filtration step to remove both particulate and dissolved phosphorus from treatment water to very low concentrations. The phosphorus is recaptured phosphorus for later re-use, such as in fertilizer applications.