Cranfield University installs SMARTech3 to remove and recover nutrients from wastewater


Cranfield University in UK has unveiled a new plant technology SMARTech3, which will enable its researchers to remove and recover nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater.

The technology, which has been unveiled as part of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 SMART-Plant project, is based on the usage of ion exchange and selective media.

Cranfield University Department of Biological Engineering senior lecturer Dr. Ana Soares said: “This new plant technology, at Cranfield, will enable us to demonstrate how existing wastewater treatment plants can be renovated in order to capture nitrogen and phosphorus that can then be used by other industries.”

The 10m3/day demonstration scale plant, which has been installed at the university’s on-site sewage works, removes ammonia and phosphorus from secondary wastewater using modified zeolites and a hybrid anion exchange.  

The removed nutrients are then recovered from the multi-used regenerate solutions as ammonium sulphate and calcium phosphate. These recovered products can inturn be re-used by chemical and fertiliser industries.

The SMART-Plant project steers up in scaling innovative and energy-efficient solutions that renovate existing wastewater treatment plants, thereby enabling low-carbon capture of materials. 

Funded by European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme, SMART-Plant is a project with 25 partners. It aims at bolstering low-carbon footprint material recovery techniques in wastewater treatment plants.