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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Field Testing a Pilot-Scale System for Alkaline Dehydration of Source-Separated Human Urine: A Case Study in Finland

Simha, Prithvi; Karlsson, Caroline; Viskari, Eeva-Liisa; Malila, Riikka; Vinneras, Bjorn

Abstract

Alkaline dehydration can treat human urine to produce a dry and nutrient-rich fertilizer. To evaluate the technology at pilot-scale, we built a prototype with capacity to treat 30 L urine d(-1)and field tested it for the first time at a military training camp in Finland. We operated the system for 3 months and monitored the recovery of nutrients, end-product composition, physicochemical properties and energy consumption. Results revealed that the system received less urine than anticipated, but achieved high dehydration rates (30-40 L d(-1)m(-2)), recovered 30 +/- 6% N, and yielded end-products with 1.4% N, 0.9% P, and 8.3% K. However, we demonstrated that the system had potential to recover nearly 70% N and produce fertilizers containing 13.2% N, 2.3% P, and 6.0% K, if it was operated at the design capacity. The energy demand for dehydrating urine was not optimized, but we suggested several ways of reducing it. We also discussed concerns surrounding non-essential heavy metals, salts, and micropollutants, and how they can be overcome to safely recycle urine. Lastly, we pointed out the research gaps that need to be addressed before the technology can be implemented at larger scale.

Keywords

circular bioeconomy; decentralized systems; nutrient recycling; resource recovery; sanitation; source-separation; urine drying; wastewater treatment

Published in

Frontiers in Environmental Science
2020, volume: 8, article number: 570637
Publisher: FRONTIERS MEDIA SA

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Energy and Technology
Sanitation360 AB
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Energy and Technology
Viskari, Eeva-Liisa
Tampere University
Malila, Riikka
Finnish Environment Institute
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Energy and Technology
Sanitation360 AB

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG6 Clean water
SDG12 Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

UKÄ Subject classification

Water Treatment

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fenvs.2020.570637

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/108390