Envirogen Awarded Patent for Fluidized Bed Reactor System

The patent is the company’s seventh FBR-related U.S. patent

Envirogen Technologies Inc. announced the issue of U.S. Patent #8,323,496 for “Methods for Treatment of Perchlorate Contaminated Water,” for enhanced automated operation of Envirogen’s high-efficiency fluidized bed bioreactor (FBR) systems. The new patent is the seventh FBR-related U.S. patent awarded to Envirogen over the course of the technology’s development. The previous patents cover methods and systems for backflow reduction, biomass-media separation, two-stage oxygenation and an innovative bed-cleaning system.

The new patent’s abstract states: “The invention provides systems and methods for removing perchlorate from water. The systems comprise reactors comprising biomass for degrading perchlorate, and the operation of the systems can be controlled according to novel logic specifications.”

According to Dr. Todd Webster, Western region vice president for Envirogen and a co-author of the patent, this new patent assignment validates the company’s pro-active approach to technology development. “With a host of successful perchlorate-treatment FBR installations already in operation—some of which are handling substantial contaminant loads at high flow rates—the basis of this patent is well-documented,” Webster said.

Envirogen’s FBR is a fixed-film bioreactor in which biological media is suspended, or fluidized, within the reactor vessel by the upward flow of water through the system. The suspended media provides a large surface area for microbial growth and allows a biomass density several times greater than that of other bioreactor designs under similar loading conditions. Microorganisms in the reactor completely destroy influent perchlorate and other targeted contaminants under anoxic conditions, without generating hazardous waste by-products. Over the last 15 years, Envirogen has installed and started up over 60 aerobic and anoxic FBRs throughout the United States—advancing the technology with these systems to handle a broad range of organic contaminants, as well as inorganics such as nitrate, perchlorate and selenium. Applications for Envirogen’s FBR technology range from groundwater remediation and mining water treatment to nutrient removal in wastewater and potable water production.

Among the Envirogen installations currently utilizing the FBR to treat perchlorate-laden water are a major industrial groundwater remediation site in Nevada, and a California city where the Envirogen system produces municipal drinking water from perchlorate-contaminated groundwater at the city’s wells. The company has also recently announced the initiation of a FBR pilot study for perchlorate removal at a former industrial site in Israel. The California FBR system is utilizing the specific patented process.


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