Using renewable biopolymers (lignin) for dewatering biosludge

Hamed Ghazisaidi (ChemE PhD student) and Vincent Wang (ChemE 2T1 + PEY Co-op, incoming MASc), supervised by Professors Grant Allen and Honghi Tran, as well as Senior Research Associate Dr. Torsten Meyer, are looking for alternative chemicals or additives that can replace petroleum-derived products in wastewater treatment systems with more sustainable and environmentally friendly chemicals.​

Today in the pulp and paper industry, wastewaters are treated using biological treatment systems that often use synthetic polymers to remove water from the biosolids that are produced as a waste byproduct. “Our research looks at the performance of lignin-based materials as dewatering aids; lignin being an abundant polymer that is found in the wood used in the pulp and paper industry,” says Wang.

“We are trying to evaluate their performance and determine how we can make these renewable materials perform better at their role at a lower cost and with lower amounts,” Wang elaborates.

In their research titled, Determining the performance of lignin-based flocculants in biosludge dewatering, Ghazisaidi and Wang also worked in collaboration with Professor Pedram Fatehi from Lakehead University, who provided some of the materials used in these experiments.​

“We hope that our research will allow the pulp and paper and many other industries and municipalities that rely on biological wastewater treatment to move to a more sustainable approach that will help reduce their environmental footprint,” says Ghazisaidi.

This research funded by the Effective Energy and Chemical Recovery in Pulp and Paper Mills Research Consortium and NSERC is currently in the editing stages of being published.

Hamed Ghazisaidi

Vincent Wang

Vincent Wang


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