Aquafix is not only a company, but a member of the scientific community, and constantly involved in research that expands knowledge within the water sciences. This research takes place in the Aquafix Laboratories as well as in the field and labs around the country.
Communication and partnership are essential parts of the scientific community, and ones that Aquafix is excited to be able to participate in. We’ve partnered with both the private and the public sector to gather data and explore new ways to treat old problems. We’re proud to introduce our partners to you and excited too show you hat we can do when we work together.
Below, from left to right: WIST programmable bioreactor, .5 L bioreactors, and 20 L bioreactor.
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point – Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology
OUR PARTNERS IN THE LATEST IN WASTEWATER RESEARCH
With the right minds, the many challenges presented in wastewater treatment turn into opportunities for innovation. Luckily for Aquafix, our partnership with the Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology (WIST) at UW-Stevens Point allows us to work with talented researchers that can help us further the development of biological science products for wastewater. Justin and Paul are two such minds, seen above standing in front of their two pilot plants where we can conduct real life studies on our products, like the new SmartBOD.
An Interview with the Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology
1. Through partnering with Aquafix, how would you most like to help wastewater treatment?
We hope to help innovate new ideas and solutions to problems facing the wastewater industry today. A goal at WIST is to make all aspects of a process sustainable, both economically and environmentally. Through thoughtful research and development, solutions can be discovered to meet both goals.
2. What does your department at UW-Stevens Point do?
The Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology (WIST) at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point works with companies nationwide to improve and develop new technologies, processes and solutions for businesses. WIST has a dedicated laboratory and access to a number of other University laboratories to carry out work in the fields of wastewater, compostability testing, paper manufacture & testing, chemical analysis & characterization and industrial biotechnology.
3. Why do you guys excel at what you do?
WIST staff members have no teaching commitments so our efforts are directed to full time research and the fulfillment of industry contracts. At the same time, as a program of UW-Stevens Point, we are able to draw on the intellectual backgrounds of professors in water resources, soil & waste resources, organic chemistry, and more to help us find solutions for our partners. In each area of science we have access to specialized equipment and our teams ensure that the work is delivered in a timely fashion and on budget.
4. Why do you like researching wastewater?
Getting rid of wastewater has been a problem for society since we started settling in communities. As our populations swell around the globe it’s imperative that we treat this waste to protect health and the quality of our environment.
While research in wastewater may not be as glamorous as other topics, it’s an overlooked area that offers great potential for innovation and beneficial impacts on our societies. To be a part of this is vastly rewarding.
5. How did you come to enter this partnership with Aquafix?
We first encountered Aquafix when Kevin contacted us to conduct fatty acid analyses which we offer in our laboratory. As the relationship developed, we discussed several potential projects. We at WIST were
impressed by the desire of Aquafix to not only come up with solutions to problems facing wastewater treatment, but also to understand the science underneath those problems.
6. What do you think are the biggest problems facing wastewater treatment today?
Removal of nutrients such as phosphorus and ‘emerging-contaminants’ poses a significant challenge. Phosphorus, as a limiting nutrient, is often responsible for algal blooms. The removal of contaminants such as pharmaceuticals often requires expensive operations.
Below, from left to right: AlgaXperts algae turf scrubber treatment of secondary wastewater, 19 L cultures of green algae, and algae cultivation reactor.
ALGAXPERTS, University of Wisconsin Research Park
OUR PARTNERS IN HELPING WASTEWATER OPERATORS UNDERSTAND, CONTROL, AND EVEN UTILIZE ALGAE
AlgaXperts is a world renowned team of algae experts out of UW Madison that studies algae and their many useful benefits. Their years of esteemed expertise are invaluable when a customer calls with a tough algae issue. AlgaXperts has conducted extensive studies into one of the most enduring forms of life on the planet and this gives them keen insights on its strengths and its weaknesses. Through our partnership we are able to incorporate their knowledge base into some of the most advanced algal control treatments available. When you take on algae in your lagoon, these are the people you want in your corner.
An interview with AlgaXperts
1. Through partnering with Aquafix, how would you most like to help pond/lake treatment?
We have extensive experience and knowledge base in municipal and industrial wastewater treatment. An area within the wastewater treatment field which we believe will help Aquafix is in technological application of algae for pond/lake treatment. There are many versions of pond treatment systems, but all rely on photosynthesis by algae to supply oxygen needed by bacteria to break down organic pollutants. Our knowledge in growing algae can be integrated into pond treatment systems to improve their overall efficiency and, in some cases, result in production of marketable algal biomass.
2. What does AlgaXperts do?
AlgaXperts, LLC, develops innovative and sustainable methods for growing algae, and provides unique consulting and laboratory services in phycology and environmental engineering. We use only naturally occurring algae for products, and utilize wastewater and waste carbon dioxide when possible. One high value alga we cultivate is Haematococcus pluvialis, an alga which yields astaxanthin, a carotenoid pigment with potent antioxidant property. We are also focused on growing cellulose rich algae as feedstock for a range of industrially valuable cellulose products including renewable nanotechnology materials.
3. Why does AlgaXperts excel at what it does?
AlgaXperts team members are experts on algae because we all have at least a decade of experience working intensively on the genetics, biochemistry, ecology, evolution, and technological applications of these useful organisms. Our expertise is unique in that we have the capability to develop practical engineered solutions to algal related problems. An aspect that makes AlgaXperts really excel at what it does is our in-depth knowledge about algae.
4. As teachers, what motivates you to teach?
AlgaXperts team members who teach phycology believe that most algae are highly beneficial for humans (i.e., food, fuel, industrial products), and their environment (i.e., wastewater remediation, carbon sequestration). They take great satisfaction in educating the public about naturally occurring biological resource that is underutilized, but is finally gaining world-wide attention.
5. How did you come to enter this partnership with Aquafix?
AlgaXperts first worked with Aquafix to identify algae perceived to cause problems in local ponds around Madison, WI. After several meetings in which we discussed our respective companies’ business activities and objectives, we decided a close collaboration would be mutually beneficial. When AlgaXperts moved into a laboratory space, and by coincidence, few doors down the hall from Aquafix’s laboratory in University Research Park, Madison, WI, we felt, as did Aquafix that collaboration would be greatly enhanced.