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A University of Kansas researcher is using wastewater to manufacturer biofuel.
The Associated Press reports that assistant professor Belinda Sturm grows algae in nitrogen- and phosphorus-laden Lawrence wastewater. Normally, the wastewater is discharged into the Kansas River after it's treated.
Instead, the resulting algae and water mixture is refined to a slurry. The substance then is processed to capture lipids an oily compound like soybean oil for manufacture of biofuel.
Engineering professor Dennis Lane says the wastewater-to-algae approach could help communities comply with federal regulations being drafted. Those regulations are expected to reduce the concentrations of phosphorous and nitrogen permitted in water leaving treatment facilities.
Sturm's project has won an award from the Academy of Environmental Engineers. Lane says the challenge is making the approach commercially competitive.