US Army Corps of Engineers
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters Website

Corps researchers win Department of Defense award for environmental restoration

Published Jan. 15, 2020
CERL award winners

Team members from the Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactor for Sustainable Wastewater Treatment project accept the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program Project of the Year award for Environmental Restoration. The team, including researchers from the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s Construction Engineering Research Laboratory, was recognized for their advances and technological solutions to some of the most significant environmental and installation energy challenges facing the Department of Defense. (DOD photo)

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Dr. Kathryn Guy and Dr. Martin Page, both materials engineers at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s Construction Engineering Research Laboratory, were part of a team of researchers who recently received the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program Project of the Year award in Environmental Restoration.

The award was presented at the Department of Defense’s Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program and Environmental Security Technology Certification Program’s 2019 Symposium held in Washington, D.C., December 3-5, 2019.

The SERDP is DOD’s environmental science and technology program, planned and executed in partnership with the Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, with participation by numerous other federal and non-federal organizations. ESTCP is DOD’s environmental technology demonstration and validation program.

The CERL researchers were members of a team, led by Dr. Patrick Evans from CDM Smith, who worked on the Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactor for Sustainable Wastewater Treatment. The ESTCP-funded project demonstrated and validated the AnMBR technology for domestic wastewater treatment.

In the course of the project, two pilot-scale AnMBR treatment systems were tested for over a year. These included a gas-sparged AnMBR and a granular activated carbon fluidized AnMBR. Study results have shown that the GAC-fluidized AnMBR system achieved better energy efficiency and effluent quality at lower hydraulic residence times than the gas-sparged AnMBR system. The study also determined that further research into cost-effective and sustainable technologies for sulfide, phosphorus and nitrogen removal is needed for developing an AnMBR treatment process that is more sustainable than a conventional treatment approach.

As a part of the ESTCP effort, Guy led the evaluation of a new ammonia electrolysis system that enables low-energy, abiotic nitrogen removal. Both Guy and Page recently received a patent for a system that integrates the ammonia electrolysis technology into wastewater treatment processes, said Page.

“As a result, Dr. Guy is leading a follow-on demonstration of this exciting technology for ESTCP,” he said.

“I am very proud of our wonderful CERL team,” said Dr. David Pittman, director of the ERDC.

As a component of the ERDC, CERL directs its research efforts toward increasing the Army’s ability to more efficiently design, construct, operate and maintain its installations and contingency bases and to ensure environmental quality and safety at a reduced life-cycle cost.

Other members of the project team include representatives from CDM Smith, Inha University, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kansas State University and Stanford University.