Technology developed by Gross-Wen Technologies at Iowa State University for agricultural applications was adapted for algae-based treatment of municipal wastewater at the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago’s Terrence J. O’Brien Water Reclamation Plant greenhouse in Skokie, Ill. Image provided by Iowa State University.

Slater-based Gross-Wen Technologies Inc. has received a $240,000 grant from the Department of Energy to develop a next-generation process to remove phosphorus from wastewater. According to a news release, the company will partner on one of 82 projects supported by the grant from the DOE’s Technology Commercialization Fund. The project will be led by the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in partnership with Gross-Wen and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. "Wastewater treatment facilities around the country are facing increasingly stringent nutrient discharge limits, especially with regard to phosphorus removal, and are looking for new technologies to meet these new permits," Gross-Wen co-founder Martin Gross said in the release. The research will use specific strains of algae to be developed at the Renewable Energy Laboratory and a modified version of Gross-Wen's patented algal wastewater treatment technology, the Revolving Algal Biofilm system, which removes nitrogen, phosphorus and other pollutants from municipal wastewater while producing algae biomass from waste nutrients and carbon dioxide captured from the air. The Chicago district's Terrence J. O’Brien Water Reclamation Plant in Skokie, Ill., will serve as a sampling, evaluation and validation site for the technology being developed.