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Home » Algae/Other Aquatic Organisms/Seaweed, Business News/Analysis, Farming/Growing, Feedstock, Feedstocks, Funding/Financing/Investing, Infrastructure, Montana, R & D Focus, Sustainability, Utah

‘High Tech Farming’: Missoula Company Cleans Wastewater to Feed Algae for Biofuel, Fertilizer

Submitted by on July 7, 2017 – 7:40 pmNo Comment

by David Erickson (Missoulian)  …  Formed eight years ago, the company (Clearas Water Recovery) has developed a patented process to use algae to remove nitrogen and phosphorous from public wastewater treatment plants, keeping waterways from being inundated with the compounds that starve fish and plant life of oxygen. In turn, the algae can be sold to other companies for fertilizer, biofuels and other uses.

“I think the simplest way to describe what we do is to say that we take harmful constituents out of the wastewater prior to discharge into our rivers, lakes and streams, and we do it biologically sustainably,” explained company CEO Jordan Lind.

Clearas formed as a company when algae farmers in the Bitterroot Valley wanted phosphorous and nitrogen from Missoula’s wastewater treatment facility to feed their biofuel. Lind recalls that the head of the wastewater facility told them they could take as much wastewater as they wanted for free, a much better alternative than buying synthetic nitrogen.

It was a “eureka” moment. Kevin McGraw, the company’s co-founder and operations manager, realized that they could develop a technology to harness wastewater’s nutrients to grow a valuable product while doing public utilities a favor.

“What they need to get rid of, our plants require,” Lind explained.

The company developed a testing facility at Missoula’s wastewater treatment plant on North Reserve. A series of tubes feed 15,000 gallons of wastewater per day through algae and return it to the Clark Fork River much cleaner than it was before.

Clearas is recovering the resource rather than just removing it. They have centrifugal machines that can turn the algae into whatever consistency a customer needs, whether it’s a watery sludge for fertilizing a field or a dry cake for making plastics or fuels.  READ MORE and MORE (Feed Navigator)

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