SWBEC is a collaboration between the USU Biological Engineering Department and College of Engineering and the City of Logan Environmental Department. Using the facilities provided by each of these partners, SWBEC conducts research at both the microscopic and large scale levels.
The goal of SWBEC’s technologies is to convert wastes into bioproducts for municipalities and industries in Utah, the Intermountain West, and the nation. To address the needs of Utah municipalities, SWBEC aims to:
- Develop new bio-based technologies that utilize wastes as a resource for sustainable reuse and recycle of nutrients
- Meet current national standards for water quality
- Produce waste-based bioproducts that include biofuels as sources of power and transportation, bioplastics, and other valuable products
SWBEC’s research improves technologies that address the management of wastewater and solid wastes in an economically and environmentally sustainable way.
SWBEC’s projects benefit the economy, environment, and human health in a variety of ways.
Municipal Wastewater across the U.S.
There are 7,000 publicly owned lagoons and even more industrial waste lagoons in the U.S. that can potentially serve as “algae farms” that will process waste into useful bioproducts.
SWBEC’s projects improve the quality of the environment by reducing waste. In particular, the biofuels projects have less harmful emissions, which are less damaging to human health.
Variety of Bioproducts
The types of bioproducts that can be obtained depend on waste source. Biofuels, plastics, therapeutics, animal feed have all been researched as ways to transform waste into marketable products.
National Energy Independence
SWBEC’s projects create sustainable energy through the production of large quantities of biofuels.
Nitrogen and phosphorous, both present in high levels in wastewater, act as a source of pollution when released into other bodies of water. Algae cleans the wastewater by removing these two chemicals.
By creating new industries, the technologies developed by SWBEC have the potential to create new jobs and boost local economies.