North-Carolina-based Renewable Nutrients offers combined nitrogen and phosphorus extraction and recovery technologies to solve the total nutrient issue for high strength streams. It is a founding member of the Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance, and CEO Jeff Dawson serves on our Board of Directors.
How big is your company and where does it operate?
Renewable Nutrients is a small American based startup company commercializing USDA nutrient recovery technologies.
What does your company do related to phosphorus sustainability?
Renewable Nutrients is currently commercializing a technology called Quick Wash. Quick Wash is a phosphorus and ammonia recovery technology originally developed by the USDA. Our phosphorus technology can extract and recover more than 90% of the phosphorus found in waste streams. The recovered product can be used in a more efficient sustainable way and leaves behind low phosphorus biosolids and effluent water. Markets include municipal and private waste water treatment plants, animal and food waste to energy projects, as well as farming projects.
What’s your business model?
Renewable Nutrients has an extremely flexible business model. We are positioned to install and implement our technology on a full scale including operating and distribution of the byproduct. However, we will work with our customers who may want to retain the byproduct or run a model with low or no byproduct. Essentially our model is based on the customers issues around phosphorus, and we model the project to efficiently solve those unique problems.
What are the biggest challenges you face?
Regardless of the benefits of recovery and reuse of nutrient byproducts, we still see reluctance of end users willingness to change the way they think about addressing phosphorus limits or other issues driven by phosphorus and ammonia. We are very early in the recovery space and think long-term, with coordinated regulatory participation, we will see more operators looking for strategic ways to deal with phosphorus recovery.
Where do you see the biggest opportunities for advancing phosphorus sustainability?
I think by being agnostic on how we implement our technology and not needing a return on byproduct sales to justify an installation, we become uniquely positioned to provide recovery technology to smaller markets. Until we find a way to address this problem on a smaller scale, we will never fully penetrate the market opportunity that stands before us.
What’s been your biggest sustainability win?
Combining two technologies to recovery phosphorus and ammonia at the same time while creating two separate byproducts may be game changing for the implementation of Quick Wash. This will allow a client, for the same previous cost of just recovering phosphorus, to solve both their phosphorus and ammonia issues. If we can broaden the value of the technology, then we see clients with ammonia issues adding on phosphorus recovery as a very cost effective solution at the same time rather than punting the problem down the road.