Earlier today, Prof. Håkan Jönsson, Pernilla Tidåker, and Prithvi Simha coordinated a student (from the Sustainable Food Systems master’s program at SLU) visit to a garden and a house owned by Håkan, who has designed a local system where most of the plant nutrients from the household are recycled back to the garden and used as fertilizer. For a very long time Håkan has implemented source separation in his own house and uses all source-separated urine and kitchen compost as fertilizer in his garden, where he grows vegetables and berry bushes. During the visit, the students saw how a small-scale source separation systems can look like and discussed options and challenges for future upscaling.
Alice Isibika and Prithvi Simha, PhD students at Kretsloppsteknik were in Helsinki 19 -23 Aug. 2019, to take part in the NOVA course, Advanced Course of Innovation Systems in Circular Bioeconomy. The course was organised by Professor Anne Toppinen, University of Helsinki: Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry. The course, largely taught from the perspective of forest bioeconomy, focused on innovation systems, sustainability transitions, service-dominant logic, innovativeness, innovation culture in business organisations, cross-sectoral collaboration, etc. Students also had a workshop coordinated by the Finland Futures Academy, where they explored potential bioeconomy scenarios and visited Gold&Green Foods, a Helsinki-based startup that produces plant-based foods from clean Nordic oats and beans, Pulled Oats.
Several members of the group were present at the 28th annual meeting of the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance in Stockholm, prior to the world water week. On the sidelines of the meeting, we also got to have a great first meeting with Gustavo Heredia, the chairman of the Board of Directors of the AGUATUYA Foundation in Bolivia. Sanitation360, our group’s university start-up that plans to implement the urine dehydration technology is in discussions with AGUATUYA to treat from urine-diverting toilets in El Alto, Bolivia.
Earlier today, we were happy to welcome a group of 20 delegates from the Finnish Water and Wastewater Association interested in on-site sanitation systems. From the group, Prithvi presented the urine drying technology. During the seminar, there were several presentations from organisations outside the university, e.g. VA-Guiden and the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management.
Evgheni Ermolaev and Nils Ewald from SLU Kretsloppsteknik together with Vesa Hiltula and Benny Björk from Eskilstuna Strängnäs Energi och Miljö AB presented the latest research results and the large-scale implementation progress of the fly lave composting system developed in the group from 2011. Matology is a yearly exhibition held by SLU in Stockholm with focus highlighting the latest trends in sustainable food systems.
On the 1st of July, Björn Vinnerås was promoted to full Professor in Environmental Engineering at SLU. At the same time, Bjorn has also taken up the position (50%) as Head of Department of Energy and Technology but will continue with his research on the second half of the position (50%). The framework of the research will continue with focus on safe recycling of plant nutrients.
During the last week, group members Prithvi Simha and Giulio Zorzetto were in Tampere, Finland where they installed a new urine dehydrator module that is being pilot tested in the Hiedanranta neighbourhood of the city of Tampere. The treatment module was constructed at SLU, transported to Finland, reasssembled at TAMK, and finally installed at the basement of the Lielahti Manor house. Urine from two different toilets in the manor house, which itself is undergoing renovation, is planned to be diverted to this treatment system over the coming week. This installation, once in operation, has the potential to open up a new avenue for local collection and treatment of urine in urban settings.
The three month long urine drying pilot installation at the Pori Birgade in Säkylä, Finland was dismantled last week, bringing to an end the first field demonstration of our technology. As you’ll recall from our previous blogs, we integrated a urine dehydration module with capacity of treating 40 L urine/day/m2 into an existing, mobile dry sanitation system – the Biomaja toilet. During this pilot, we have been collecting samples of the end-product/fertiliser (see picture below), monitoring various physico-chemical properties as well as energy consumption of the treatment module. Over the coming months, we will be analysing the collected samples, along with our partners in Finland. While the module received less urine than its design capacity, it functioned smoothly throughout the pilot period.