U of T Engineering PhD candidate Sara Abu-Obaid (ChemE) believes that the entire wastewater management industry is due for a paradigm shift.
“We need to move from seeing wastewater as a nuisance to recognizing its potential as a resource,” she says. “It can provide us with water, nutrients, energy and other things of value that can be harvested and utilized to move towards circular economy.”
Abu-Obaid, who is supervised by Professor Ramin Farnood (ChemE), is the lead author of a new paper published in the Chemical Engineering Journal. The study introduces a sustainable solution for removing phosphate and ammonium from wastewater in a way that recovers these nutrients for future use.
Her new method uses advanced membranes incorporating inorganic particles for the uptake of phosphate and ammonium from wastewater. By recovering these substances in a cost-effective way, the method creates a new source of materials that can be used by manufacturers of agricultural fertilizers.