An Innovative Sustainable Biotechnology for Resource Recovery from Wastewater Streams Using Microwave Enhanced Advanced Oxidation with AlgaeIntegrated Water Management


This research program will seek to develop an economically viable, technologically feasible process to improve and enhance resources and energy recovery from municipal wastewater and biosolids.


  • A 5 kW 915 MHz continuous flow pilot scale MW-AOP (microwave enhanced advanced oxidation process) system was successfully commissioned and operated at UBC to treat municipal sewage sludge to reduce biosolids volume.


The uniqueness of the University of British Columbia (UBC) patented microwave enhanced advanced oxidation process (MW-AOP) is that it can be easily adapted into an existing wastewater treatment process stream, making other processes in the subsequent treatment streams more efficient. Readily available nutrients from the MW-AOP treated sludge could potentially double or triple the production of struvite (magnesium ammonium phosphate, a slow release fertilizer) via a subsequent crystallization process, hence improving the sustainability of WWTPs. The MW-AOP also converts higher molecular weight organics into lower molecular weight soluble compounds including short-chained fatty acids (VFAs), which are most suitable for methanogenesis, allowing for faster methane production. Advanced anaerobic digestion (AD) reactors, which are capable of handling high loading rates, can thus be adapted in WWTPs. The released carbonaceous products from the MW-AOP can also serve as a carbon source at the front end of the biological nutrient removal (BNR) process, eliminating the need to purchase methanol or acetate as carbon sources. The sludge after the MW-AOP treatment has the potential to meet the USEPA regulation for use and disposal of sewage sludge (Federal Register 58 FR9248 to 9404, 1993).

Researchers are looking forward to collaborate and work with Joint Abbotsford and Mission Environmental Station (JAMES) Wastewater Treatment Plant at the City of Abbotsford to demonstrate a MW-AOP system prototype on-site.


Effective treatment of wastewater combined with reuse or recycling can be a successful environmental and health protection strategy with the recovery of water, nutrients and energy. This project aims to develop an integrated novel sustainable municipal sludge treatment technology to substantially improve sustainability, efficiency and environmental performance of wastewater treatment plants (WWTP). The project integrates a microwave treatment step, struvite crystallization for phosphorus recovery, anaerobic digestion followed by algae based nutrient removal. thereby yielding value added products to improve the sustainability of WWTPs.

Project Team

Dr. Victor Lo, University of British Columbia
Dr. Pradeep Kumar, IIT Roorkee
Dr. Don Mavinic, University of British Columbia
Dr. Raja Chowdhury, IIT Roorkee
Dr. Saurav Datta, IIT Roorkee
Dr. Indu Mehrotra, IIT Roorkee


University of British Columbia
IIT, Roorkee

Number of Current Students: 20

Key Outcomes

Publications: 19