Lab Canada

BC cleantech uses municipal wastewater to make fertilizer

Victoria, BC – Using technology developed at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver-based Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies has achieved the first commercialization in the United States of a process using municipal wastewater to make environmentally safe fertilizer.


A municipal wastewater treatment plant in Portland, Oregon, will become the first facility in the US to use the new technology to recover nutrients from wastewater and recycle them into a commercial grade fertilizer product called Crystal Green.


Ostara’s process, based on technology licensed from UBC, will be used at the Durham Advanced Wastewater Treatment Facility in Tigard, Oregon, already recognized by the United States Environmental Protection Agency as one of the top wastewater treatment facilities in the United States. The Durham facility serves more than 500,000 customers in urban Washington County, west of Portland.


“The Clean Water Services facility in Durham is the first in the US to incorporate the Ostara technology,” said Philip Abrary, president and CEO of Ostara. “Several other commercial facilities are in planning and design stages after successful field trials by municipalities, ethanol bio-fuels plants and food processing plants in the US and Canada. As many as 400 municipalities and industrial plants in North America and 500 in Europe are potential customers for the Ostara process.”


Part of the project financing came from VantagePoint Venture Partners, a fund manager for the $90-million BC Renaissance Capital Fund, launched by the provincial government in 2008 to attract venture capital. With US $4.5 billion in committed capital, including US $1 billion dedicated to clean tech, VantagePoint Venture Partners is one of the largest investors in the industry. The company led a US $10.5-million equity financing to enable Ostara to increase the pace of deployment at additional wastewater treatment plants.