Nutrient recovery from wastewater has become increasingly important due to the global demand for sustainable resource management and concerns for environmental pollution. Meanwhile, water shortage is a significant issue for agricultural activities in the United States. In some areas, groundwater reserves are being depleted at an alarming rate due to overuse, while other regions are experiencing drought conditions that limit the availability of surface water. In this study, we develop and study a novel hybrid electrodialysis (ED) - forward osmosis (FO) process to recover nutrients and clean water from nutrient-rich wastewater sources such as agricultural runoff, domestic wastewater, landfill leachate, and particularly anaerobic digestate. ED is a membrane-based process where an externally applied electrical potential gradient drives the ions in a solution to an adjacent stream through a perm-selective ion exchange membrane, while FO is a membrane separation process that utilizes a concentration gradient to extract water through a semi-permeable membrane. The combined ED-FO treatment demonstrates the potential to recover valuable nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen as well as clean water, which eventually can produce clean liquid fertilizer as a commercial product, while reducing the nutrient load to aquatic bodies. However, challenges remain in optimizing the performance and cost-effectiveness of ED and FO systems for nutrient recovery. Factors such as membrane fouling/scaling can impact the efficiency and sustainability of the process. In this talk, preliminary results for the feasibility of the proposed treatment train, system performance optimization, and potential development trajectories will be discussed.
Quang Tran is a 4th year Ph.D. student majoring in Environmental Engineering at Oregon State University. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering at Hue University of Sciences, Vietnam, Quang joined Dr. Xue Jin’s Lab in 2019. Under the guidance of Dr. Jin, his research is primarily centered on water treatment technologies that involve the use of membranes. Specifically, Quang's work focuses on enhancing the performance of ultrafiltration membranes in drinking water treatment during harmful algal bloom and on developing methods for the recovery of nutrients and water from wastewater streams.