Limited fresh water supplies and the cost of managing waste streams are two drivers for pursuing manufacturing processes that produce net-zero waste. In fact, advanced water treatment systems could turn industrial wastewater into a resource rather than a disposal cost. Similarly, dairy and sugar farms offer opportunities for agricultural waste recovery, reuse and recycling strategies.
INL has a rich history of expertise in chemical separations, solvent extraction, membrane technology, water cleanup and systems engineering. The lab's award-winning Switchable Polarity Solvent Forward Osmosis (SPS FO) technology dramatically lowers the cost of water purification and offers new solutions for purifying industrial wastewater. The SPS FO technology developed at INL won an R&D 100 Award in 2013.
Annually, the dairy industry in the United States creates an estimated 249 billion tons of wet manure and 5.8 billion kg of carbon dioxide equivalents. Manure is conventionally stored in lagoons or open ponds due to the low costs and ease of operation. Yet the practice raises concerns about odor control, water quality and greenhouse gas emissions.
INL is working with University of Idaho and Boise State University to assess the effectiveness of a two-stage anaerobic digester system coupled to an algal cultivation pond. Such a system could produce multiple valued-added commodities that enhance and stabilize overall economics while sequestering carbon and reducing nutrient emissions from dairy farms. DAIRIEES — Decision-support for Digester-Algae IntegRation for Improved Environmental and Economic Sustainability — is an evaluation platform that facilitates more informed decisions concerning the environmental benefits and economic costs of the integrated manure-algae system.