From waste to value

With their unique ABNR™ solution CLEARAS Water Recovery transforms waste to value through biological wastewater treatment. Chief Financial Officer Tom Wenz about the Company’s past and present projects.

What is special about the ABNR™ technology?

We invented ABNR™ to address one of the wastewater industries largest pain points: nutrient recovery. From very early in our development we envisioned it as a global solution. ABNR is unique because it enables us to transform what is traditionally waste into value. The technology delivers best-in-class performance in a sustainable, scalable, and reliable platform producing a valuable biomass co-product, reuse quality water and recycled carbon dioxide. When combined, these factors result in a significant economic advantage over traditional treatment systems.

How does the ABNR™ process work?

Our process consists of three steps: Mix, Recover, and Separate. In the mix phase, contaminated wastewater and CO2 are blended in a tank with the naturally occurring biology of a facility’s effluent returned from our separation process downstream to initiate the recovery of harmful nutrients. We refer to this as the Mixture Flow. During the recovery phase the Mixture Flow travels through our continuously optimized series of photobioreactors where phosphorus, nitrogen, and other contaminants are metabolized as part of the photosynthetic process. The recovery phase systems are self-cleaning and produce zero waste. Finally, advanced membrane filtration separates the bio-diverse Mixture Flow into two streams – a clean water stream and a recycle stream. The recycle stream supplies healthy algae and biological organisms to reseed and treat new wastewater entering the Blend Phase. Surplus algae and biological organisms are removed from the treatment process to keep the ratio of algae to available nutrients balanced and optimal for contaminant recovery.

Why do you use glass tubes from SCHOTT for your system?

We chose to use SCHOTT glass tubes for three primary reasons: first, to guarantee the highest quality components for our customers and second, because of the optimal clarity allowing for maximum photon penetration of our Mixture Flow and third, the excellent lifespan of glass over UV-sensitive alternatives. In addition, our relationship with SCHOTT has continued to grow since our early beginnings. As we look to the future, we expect that SCHOTT will continue to be one of our trusted partners in helping us continue to innovate around our biological nutrient recovery and transforming waste to value.

Which projects did you already realize and what are your next milestones?

To this point, we’ve treated over 100 million gallons of wastewater effluent from both industrial and municipal sites all over the U.S. These projects have generally been smaller scale installations or pilots that help us characterize site-specific performance under a variety of conditions prior to full-scale design planning. In the last three years, we have also conducted mobile pilot projects at over 35 locations from the Wasatch Front to the Great Lakes region to the Northeast U.S. Recently, we announced the groundbreaking for our largest ABNR™ installation to date at a 4 million gallon per day wastewater treatment plant in Utah with South Davis Sewer District and an expected commission date in September 2018. This is a prime example of the type of visionary clients who are in the process of transitioning their existing treatment plant into a true reclamation facility with our enabling technology and services. And we’re seeing rapid expansion opportunities across our domestic U.S. markets. To date we have already experienced significant inbound interest from international markets for our technology and we are actively engaged in discussions with potential global partners to execute projects abroad.

How will you further improve the ABNR™ process? Will there be a chance to achieve drinking water quality with the algae technology?

As with any technology company, we’re constantly improving our core platform and innovating. We continue to invest in strategies to improve efficiency and reduce costs of the ABNR platform. We will continue to focus on wastewater reclamation opportunities for clients around the world. As far as drinking water quality is concerned, it is likely attainable in the future with the addition of strategic equipment suppliers.

Watch the full video interview.

Tom Wenz is Chief Financial Officer of the American wastewater technology company, CLEARAS Water Recovery. With the continued growth of their customer base across multiple markets, he is convinced that the future is bright for companies and cities seeking to transform their waste streams into value using enabling technologies like the CLEARAS ABNR™ platform.

November 9th, 2017


Suzann Erben
SCHOTT North America, Inc.