WERF seeking proposals for water resource‑recovery

The Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) in the USA is issuing requests for proposals (RFPs) for research to further understanding of the recovery of macro-nutrients, energy and water from wastewater.

WERF is embarking on an aggressive research cycle to accelerate the transition of wastewater treatment facilities into water resource recovery facilities. So far, it has issued an RFP for Recovery of Resources in Wastewater (NTRY3R13).

This RFP seeks proposals on additional value-added products or byproducts that are likely to be used by utilities (such as methanol or other specialty chemicals or precursors, carbon-based compounds) or produced in quantities that can be effectively marketed and / or used regionally (eg, high-quality “designer” biosolids products with specific N-P-K ratios etc). Other “products” that could be recovered may be considered if these are economically viable (such as silver, micro-nutrients, biodegradable plastics / polymers) and have no detrimental impact in the overall final effluent quality.

The foundation anticipated issuing several research grants in July and then several more with additional funds later in the year. In early August, WERF will make another US$ 350,000 available for research to advance processes/practices with potential for energy recovery/efficiency or which address barriers to energy recovery in the wastewater treatment process.

WERF is collaborating with the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority to cofund this research. Successful teams will be able to demonstrate the relevance of the proposed research to New York State as well as to benefit the greater water environment sector.

All of these research funds come on the heels of WERF’s recently completed prebidding process for innovative research under its Unsolicited Research Program. The program provides nearly US$ 500,000 to fund research that can be the catalyst for transforming understanding of US water resources.

To date, submittals have come in at greater levels than in recent years. The WERF Research Council will review these preproposals and select a subset for full proposals later this year.

“This cycle of research funding is just the beginning of much more to come in other areas such as integrated water management and expanded resource recovery,” explains Carrie Capuco, WERF director of communications. “We are hopeful that sharing the news of this innovative research will excite the public about the future of water resource recovery.” Additional information about these research opportunities and others are available online.