George William Kajjumba

Track A: Water
Thu/PM 2:00 PM - 2:30 PM
Environmental Engineer
Southern Nevada Water Authority
United States
A Cheap and Reliable Approach to Recover Phosphorus from Wastewater

Phosphorus is a vital plant nutrient; 83% of mined phosphorus is used to make plant fertilizers. Mining phosphorus is an energy-intensive process with a mining cost of $13-94 per tonne. At the current phosphorus consumption, the viable phosphorus reserves are estimated to last for only 80 years. Thus, there is a need to find better ways of obtaining phosphorus.
Municipal wastewater treatment plants receive water containing 3-15 mg P/L daily. If this phosphorus is not captured, it will be lost to seabeds where its recovery becomes more expensive. In this study, we applied lanthanides to recover phosphorus from water.
We were able to capture over 90% lanthanide-phosphate. Such purity ensures little purification process, which translates into less energy and purification materials, thus saving costs. The formed lanthanide-phosphorus could be used directly as a fertilizer to support food production. We believe this circular approach of capturing phosphorus from wastewater promotes green communities and can effectively reduce phosphorus' mining effects.

George William Kajjumba, PhD, is a civil and environmental engineer with over six years in water treatment, landfill design, supply chain, and financial audit. Kajjumba's primary work focuses on meeting United Nations Sustainable Goal six (clean water and sanitation), goal two (zero hunger), goal one (no poverty), and goal eleven (sustainable cities and communities) by using wastewater reclamation as a conduit. His recent published work focuses on the application of lanthanides in wastewater treatment, the toxicity of emerging contaminants, recovery of vital nutrients, and modification of supply chain networks. He is a co-author of the "Advanced Sorption Process Application" book.
Kajjumba has been invited to participate in the 70th Lindau Nobel Laureate meeting in Germany and Black trailblazers in Engineering in the USA. A recipient of the UNLV Board of Trustee fellowship and Dr. Pankaj Parekh Memorial award from the American Water Works Association, Kajjumba divides his time between academia/research and community engagement. Kajjumba is a cofounder of Uzuri, an organization that seeks to improve impoverished communities' good health and well-being.

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