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Dr James Barnard
LEE KUAN YEW WATER PRIZE 2011
Citation for Dr James Barnard
Dr James Barnard was awarded the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize 2011 for inventing a biological method to treat used water so that it can be returned safely to lakes and rivers. His technology, Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR), uses naturally-occurring micro-organisms to remove nitrogen and phosphorus which cause poor water quality.
This technology is cheaper and more environmentally-friendly than traditional treatments which use chemicals. It protects and maintains the water quality of lakes and rivers. It also helps to promote the recycling of water. All BNR systems used worldwide today were developed from Dr Barnard's technology.
Dr James Barnard is awarded the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize 2011 for his invention of the Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) technology to remove nitrogen and phosphorus from used water. His technology uses naturally-occurring micro-organisms to remove nitrogen and phosphorus and allows the treated used water to be safely returned to rivers and lakes.
BNR is cheaper and more environmentally-friendly than traditional chemical treatments used in water reclamation plants all over the world. Dr Barnard's technology helps to protect and maintain the water quality of lakes and rivers, and promotes the recycling of water.
Before the development of BNR, water reclamation plants commonly removed nitrogen and phosphorus through the use of chemicals. Nitrogen and phosphorus need to be removed because they can lead to excessive algae growth which affects the ecology in water bodies, contributing to poor water quality.
Working with water quality challenges in his native South Africa and arid Namibia in the 1970s, Dr Barnard conceived the idea of using naturally-occurring micro-organisms to remove phosphorus and nitrogen from used water. In this way, treated used water can be returned safely to rivers and lakes. At the same time, BNR eliminates the use of chemicals, which is costly, needs more resources and energy to produce, and creates more sludge for disposal.
BNR is thus a more sustainable alternative to conventional chemical treatments. Dr Barnard's Bardenpho (BARnard DENitrification and PHOsphorus removal) technology can reduce the operating costs of used water treatment by as much as US$400,000 per million gallons per day over 20 years. (Source: Ovivo, formerly Eimco Water Technologies, 2007).
The development of biological processes to remove nitrogen and phosphorus has continued to evolve since the early days of Dr Barnard's invention in South Africa. Dr Barnard actively adapts his BNR technology to different climates, environmental limitations and water infrastructure around the world. He has been involved in over 100 BNR plants around the world.
His work has led to the widespread implementation of BNR-based technology such as in USA, Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. In recent years, BNR has also been widely adopted in developing countries such as China and Brazil.
Dr Barnard is internationally recognised as the "Father of BNR". Dr Barnard's relentless research and development work on BNR has helped to advance the reclamation of used water as a precious resource that can be recycled. BNR processes have also protected the world's water resources and the communities that depend on it.
About Dr James Barnard
Dr James Barnard is a Global Practice and Technology Leader for Black & Veatch Corporation in Kansas City, Missouri. He studied civil engineering at the University of Stellenbosch in the Republic of South Africa before obtaining an M.S. in Environmental Health Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, followed by a PhD in Environmental Engineering and Water Resources at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee.
He also served as Senior Chief Research Officer at the National Institute of Water Research in South Africa, where he pioneered BNR to conserve scarce water resources in the 1970s. He is at the forefront of the recovery of phosphorus, a vital nutrient on which all life depends.