WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) announced $15,000 in federal funding through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) to investigate innovative ways to tackle the issue of nutrient pollution, which impairs water and environmental quality. This new technology aims to sustainably remove nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium pollution from urine. The grant was awarded through the People, Prosperity, and the Planet program, which allows teams of college students from across the country to develop sustainable technologies aimed at solving current environmental and public health challenges.
“A healthy Chesapeake Bay means a healthy economy, and we are proud of how UMBC is finding innovative ways to help us restore water quality and manage nutrient pollution,” said Senator Cardin, a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “Team Maryland will keep working hard to ensure UMBC – and all our sustainability and restoration partners – have the resources they need to continue serving Maryland.”
“Our future depends on developing new, innovative, and out-of-the-box ways to handle pollution. UMBC has been on the forefront of science and technology, and this recognition of the University’s talent is well-deserved,” said Senator Van Hollen, a member of the Budget and Appropriations Committees. “I look forward to seeing the results of UMBC’s work on this issue, and I will continue to fight for funding for sustainable technology projects.”
The UMBC team will investigate Nutrient Extraction and Recovery Devices (NERD) for recovery of phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium from source-separated urine. The team expects to recover 90 percent of these nutrients with minimal energy or chemicals, and it will conduct NERD optimization studies using lab-scale reactors to maximize the rate and magnitude of nutrient recovery from synthetic and real urine. It is also focused on the practical implications of their release, and it will work to modify a port-o-potty to include NERD technology and demonstrate real-world applications.