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Improved Fluidized Bed Precipitator

Reference Number: 07-15

Inventor: Gina Becker, Sigifredo Diaz, and Michael Hanson


Though liquid-solid, gas-solid, or gas-liquid-solid fluidized bed technologies are not new, traditional systems have a drawback that limits economy: above critical flow rates, solid particles will be carried out of the system with the fluid and be lost. The critical flow rate, therefore, limits the amount of material that can be processed in a given size system. Secondary recovery systems can be used to collect and return the lost solids, but these are expensive in terms of both capital and operational expenses.

The current technology includes sloped settling surfaces at the exit of the system, which reduce the vertical velocity of the exiting fluid. This allows particles to be retained in the system at higher flow rates, providing the benefit of smaller equipment to process any given flow rate of material.

One configuration of the technology provides particular benefits in applications that require a gaseous injection into a liquid-solid bed, which can cause turbulence that causes particles to be lost. By configuring the settling surfaces so that gas can escape via a different path than the liquid, gases can be used to provide additives and/or mixing without disturbing the solids-settling capabilities.

This technology was developed to precipitate soluble phosphorous as struvite (magnesium ammonium phosphate) for wastewater treatment applications. However, the inventors see opportunities for this technology in any application that currently employs solid-liquid, liquid-solid, gas-solid, or gas-liquid-solid fluidized beds.

  • Breaks typical tradeoff limit between high flow rates and good solid retainment
    • Allows for faster flow rates in a given size of equipment
    • Allows for smaller equipment for a given flow rate
  • Allows for turbulence in the bed (for good mixing) without sacrificing solid retainment
  • Allows for injection of gaseous additives without sacrificing solid retainment
  • Allows for use of gas bubbles for mixing without sacrificing solid retainment
Potential Applications:
  • Recovering phosphorous from waste streams of ethanol plants, food industries, and any other industry waste streams, as well as municipal plant wastewater (licensed)
  • Zeolyte production
  • Catalyst production
  • Precipitation technologies
  • Any crystal-growth or particle-growth fluidized bed
Patent Status
  • U.S. patent #8,017,019 issued on September 13, 2011.

Kansas State University Research Foundation seeks to have discussions with companies that are interested in licensing and/or research collaborations.

Interested parties should contact:

Kansas State University Institute for Commercialization (KSU-IC)
2005 Research Park Circle Manhattan, KS 66502
Tel: 785-532-3900 Fax: 785-532-3909
E-Mail: ic@k-state.edu