Alexandria, VA (PRWEB) October 09, 2013
The Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) is pleased to announce that University of Massachusetts Amherst Associate Professor Dr. Chul Park has been awarded the 2013 Paul L. Busch Award. The WERF Endowment for Innovation in Applied Water Quality Research is honoring Dr. Park with its largest prize for a research project that has the potential to change both how wastewater is treated and its associated energy consumption. Dr. Park will use the $100,000 Paul L. Busch Award to demonstrate the ability to treat wastewater with low oxygen requirements and to efficiently collect biomass that can be anaerobically digested to generate methane.
Each year, WERF recognizes an outstanding individual or team of individuals whose ongoing efforts contribute significantly to water quality research and its practical application in the water environment, with the prestigious Paul L. Busch Award. The award carries a $100,000 grant from the WERF endowment to support and promote work that will bring new benefits to the water quality community (utilities, industries, environmental firms) and the water-using public they serve.
Algae-based processes have the potential to treat wastewater and nutrients without aeration, through the symbiotic growth of bacteria and photosynthetic algae, and to generate bioenergy feedstock. Although attempted in the 1960s, use of algae for wastewater treatment has not been successful primarily because collection of the algae was expensive and relatively ineffective. Responding to these challenges, Dr. Park and his research group developed a novel biogranule, an algal-sludge granule that flocculates and settles very well. The granule is composed of algae and bacteria within one granular biomass and can be naturally formed in the wastewater treatment process. The cohabitation of algae and bacteria within that granule enables a consistent, efficient symbiotic process.
“This research has the potential to provide a new direction for treatment and can be used for mainstream treatment, for sidestream treatment, or as a tertiary nutrient removal process,” states John T. Novak, Nick Prillaman Professor Emeritus in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech. Among other reasons, WERF’s Paul L. Busch Award Selection Committee members favored this project due to its attention to matters beyond nutrients. This research seeks to provide information applicable to sustainability discussions such as the reduction of greenhouse gasses, energy neutrality and energy generation, as well as carbon footprints.
“Chul is just the sort of young, innovative professional that Dr. Busch would have provided inspiration to, and been inspired by – his legacy would be honored by this award to Dr. Park,” said John Tobiason, Ph.D., PE, BCEE and current Chair of the University of Massachusetts Amherst College of Engineering Personnel Committee.
The WERF Endowment honors Paul L. Busch, Ph.D., with this award because he so completely embodied the spirit of creativity, visionary thinking, and practical application of scientific research — a spirit that is essential to passing on a clean-water environment to future generations. He led private and public development of water quality technology for more than 40 years as an environmental engineer. He served as chairman of its Board of Directors in 1994 and 1995, and as emeritus chairman until his death in 1999. Additional information on this award program is available at http://www.werf.org.
The Water Environment Research Foundation, a nonprofit organization formed in 1989, is America's leading independent scientific research organization dedicated to wastewater and stormwater issues.