Pennotec has recently been undertaking laboratory testing of a sustainable material for the removal of phosphorus from water and waste water streams. The material was prepared from crab shells – a by-product of shellfish processing, which itself would otherwise go to waste.
Pennotec was one of seven winners in the first round of an SBRI (Small Business Research Initiative) competition, held last year by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scottish Water, Zero Waste Scotland, Scottish Enterprise and Innovate UK. The purpose of the competition was to find a sustainable solution to the problem of too much fine phosphorus in the natural environment.
Phosphorus is an important fertilizer chemical in farming and is found in our food and used in our domestic lives. However, it can run off farm land and is present in our waste water. It can be difficult to remove completely from waste water in our water treatment plants. If phosphorus enter rivers, lakes and streams it can cause eutrophication, a biological process that can harm aquatic life and cause toxic algal and microbial blooms in our lakes and seas.
The research work is ongoing, and the business is interested to speak with water services companies in order to demonstrate this technology in real life settings. This is one example of the technology Pennotec is developing to turn waste into usable products, so helping to develop the Circular Economy.