Gallery: NYC Sewage to Be Treated with Common Soap Ingredient Glycerol

The 26th Ward Wastewater Treatment Plant in Queens has begun using a revolutionary biofuel process that employs glycerol (an ingredient that can be found in many soaps and perfumes) to remove nitrogen from our waterways. The first green water treatment facility of its kind in the country (according to Clean Technica), the plant has been in operation for a little over a year and has already helped to reduce nitrogen discharges from 5,800 pounds per day as of December 2011 to 1,900 pounds per day. The new process spells good news for marine life in the area, which is typically killed by the nitrogen released from treated water.

Glycerol is a green alternative to traditional petrochemicals used in water way treatments. It replaces methanol as a carbon-rich nitrogen remover that is made from natural gas and other fossil fuel sources. The Queens plant was recognized for this new process and was named National Recognition Award Winner for 2013 by the American Council of Engineering Companies. The city is in the process of developing plans to also roll out this new system at its other wastewater treatment plants.

Another upside to this new system solves a major sustainability issue for the biofuel industry. Crude glycerol is produced as a byproduct of biofuel production. Previously, the industry had no method for disposing of this waste, but with this new use, there is now a market for financial and sustainable development for the byproduct.

Clean Technica mentions that some other crude glycerol developments are its use in microalgae farming, cattle feed, “green” antifreeze, sustainable hydrogen gas production and sustainable methanol production.

Via Clean Technica

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