Clean water company Ostara raises $14.5M for major expansion
3 June 2012
Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc., a clean water company that recovers phosphorus and nitrogen from industrial and municipal wastewaters to create premium fertilizers, completed a US$14.5-million private equity financing.
Led by VantagePoint Capital Partners, a global investor in energy innovation and efficiency, the financing also included existing Ostara investor, London-based Frog Capital and a group of new investors including Waste Resources Fund L.P., a fund managed by FourWinds Capital Management.
Many wastewater treatment plants concentrate large quantities of nitrogen and phosphorus in their sludge dewatering streams. The dissolved nutrients promote the formation of obstructive struvite—magnesium ammonium phosphate (NH4MgPO4·6H2O)—scale in piping, pumps and valves resulting in severe impacts to plant reliability, efficiency and operating and maintenance costs.
Ostara’s Pearl Process resolves struvite issues and provides a comprehensive approach to nutrient management. The technology is based on controlled chemical precipitation in a fluidized bed reactor that recovers struvite in the form of highly pure crystalline pellets or “prills.”
Nutrient-rich feed streams are mixed with magnesium chloride and, if necessary, sodium hydroxide and then fed into the Pearl reactor where minute particles or struvite “seeds” begin to form. Like a pearl, these seeds grow in diameter until they reach the desired size of 1.0 mm to 3.5 mm. In a municipal wastewater treatment plant, up to 90% of the phosphorus and 40% of the ammonia load is removed from sludge dewatering liquid using this process and the resulting product is marketed as a commercial slow-release fertilizer called Crystal Green.
The company currently has four commercial nutrient recovery facilities in operation in the United States and three additional facilities under construction, including its first Canadian facility in Saskatoon, SK and its first European facility, for Thames Water, in London.
According to Phillip Abrary, Ostara President & CEO, the company's focus will now be to expand the application of its proprietary nutrient recovery technology into industrial markets.
Ostara was founded in 2005 when it licensed the nutrient recovery technology from the University of British Columbia to develop and market the wastewater treatment process and the revenue-generating fertilizer.
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