Chemical engineering researcher teams with University of Arkansas to develop more energy-efficient fertilizer

Julie RennerJulie Renner, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, is part of a multi-institutional team lead by the University of Arkansas that’s developing more energy-efficient fertilizer.
The team received a $2.4-million award from the National Science Foundation to develop a chemical process that converts nitrogen and phosphorous from wastewater into a fertilizer called struvite.

Renner’s group will investigate ways to enhance the process through protein engineering. Proteins and peptides have emerged as a powerful way to direct the chemical process that derives solid materials from a liquid solution.

Renner will design new materials from common proteins found in nature, aiming to identify specific proteins that bond best to pull out the components for the fertilizer. The research team predicts that using the right special proteins will result in a purer product and a more efficient processes without having to add additional chemicals to the mix.
Learn more about the project.