Funding for a new project “On-farm biochar filters for removal of organic micropollutants from reclaimed water for agricultural irrigation” has been approved by the Swedish Agricultural Research Foundation. The main applicant is Oksana Golovko from the Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment at SLU, with co-applicants Prithvi Simha from our research group and the biochar producer Waila on Gotland. Together with their newly hired PhD student, Maximilian Tyka, and Researcher Alberto Celma, they will carry out this project over the next four years.
Abstract: The use of safely reclaimed water for agriculture irrigation is a promising solution to address water shortages, especially on Gotland. One primary concern is the introduction of organic micropollutants (OMPs), such as pharmaceuticals and other chemicals, into the agricultural ecosystem and food chain. OMPs can be potentially persistent, bioaccumulative, toxic and could harm human health if they are present in agricultural products. This project aims to develop techniques to remove OMPs from reclaimed water using biochar, so that it can be safely reused for agricultural irrigation of food crops. The objectives are to 1) identify the most relevant OMPs in reclaimed water, 2) assess the capacity of biochar prepared from different renewable feedstock for removal of OMPs, 3) evaluate the thermal degradation of OMPs during re-pyrolysis/regeneration of biochar, and 4) communicate the results with food industry stakeholders.
SLU and Sanitation360 will be hosting “Demo Day – Urine to Fertilizer”. We are what we eat and what we eat is what we excrete. Urine contains 80% of the plant nutrients we consume. Thesenutrients can and should be re-used as fertilizer. If you would like to learn about how we can re-use the nutrients in our urine as fertilizer, come and attend. You will also have the opportunity to touch and sit on toilets that are enabling this to happen. When: June 13th @ 16h00 Where: KULTURUM, Specksrum 6, 621 55 Visby, Gotland
We have designed a serious game to influence cognitive, normative & relational sanitation learning. The game is called RECLAIM. It aims to communicate knowledge on sanitation impacts and possibilities for resource recovery. The game was co-designed as part of the SPANS project in collaboration with stakeholders in Uganda and Sweden. Just before the pandemic we managed to run a few test sessions with the game as a proof-of-concept. We were able to show that the game could achieve its aims. Highlights from the evaluation found that:
Serious gaming in planning can influence worldviews and stakeholder norms.
Players gained an appreciation of the need for collaboration.
Games in planning processes would strengthen potential for changing practices.
While we can conclude that the game meets the requirements for creating a safe environment for social learning there is still the issue of implementing the game and bringing diverse players to the table. Two key aspects include deciding when to use the game in the planning process and who should play (Kain et al., 2021). The planning process should be carefully designed to support empowerment and inclusiveness, by adapting sessions for specific types of players at appropriate times and including relevant content. Based on this reasoning, we suggest a game toolbox, including modules and add-ons that would allow for flexibility in game length and content.
We are currently working to design just such a toolbox and a training session to teach people how to use it. Stay tuned for more information.
Chitransh Dua is an Indian citizen who holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Planning from School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi and a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering from GGSIP University, Delhi. He has four years of experience working in different government organizations in India including the Ministry of Environment. He has also worked with the United Nations Environment Programme as a Consultant wherein he provided technical assistance on the implementation of several circular economy and resource efficiency measures at the National and subnational level.
Chitransh Dua has joined the Kretsloppsteknik group as a PhD student where he will be working on the development of decision-support tools to weigh trade-offs for integration of new sanitation systems into existing infrastructures. He will also be involved in the application of methods, such as life cycle assessment, cost-benefit analysis and systems dynamic modelling, on case studies for nutrient recovery from urine and wastewater, in the context of an EU project (P2GreeN).
Hej! My name is Verena and I recently started a 2-years-postdoc here at SLU’s Kretsloppsteknik. Rooting in my bachelor and master degree of civil engineering and water management at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU), my interests and expertise evolved throughout my doctorate to a more interdisciplinary perspective at the science-society-policy interface. After working on sanitation system planning and modelling in my master thesis, I enrolled in the Transitions to Sustainability (T2S) Doctoral School with its goal of promoting and supporting inter- and transdisciplinary research in the field of sustainable development. My previous research focused on the development and evaluation of coherent policy-options to boost the implementation of SDG 6 at the example of Austria and on the assessment of methods to evaluate interactions between different SDG entities.
Here at SLU I will be supporting the group on systems analysis lead by Jennifer. My work will focus on evaluating different systems for resource recovery and identifying and balancing trade-offs between sustainability aspects related to these systems. If you would like to know more about my work and interests just contact me or approach me for a talk or a fika. I am looking forward to fruitful exchanges and exciting tasks here at SLU. Vi ses!
We are once again partnering up with a number of stakeholders all through the food production chain, from producers of residual streams, to insect producers, feed producers and farmers to wholesalers in the project The feed of the future for fish, pigs, poultry and laying hens (Framtidens foder för fågel fisk och fläsk, 5F), partially finansed by Vinnova. The project will test and evaluate several innovative feed ingredients, including for example insects, mycoprotein, and blue mussels from the Baltic Sea. The goal is to set up production with sales of pigs, fish, poultry, and eggs from laying hens that have been fed a low climate impact feed containing ingredients that benefit biodiversity. The project takes the results further from the pilot Five Tons of Green Fish which proved that it is possible to raise Swedish rainbow salmon with insect-based feed, which has up to 70% lower climate footprint than conventional feed. We will be the insect knowledge hub in the project.t.
Erika Francisco is originally from Brazil, where she completed a bachelor degree in Environmental Sanitation and a PhD in Chemical Engineering, specifically focusing on biorefineries for reuse and valuation of wastewater for the production of bio-products from microalgae. She has worked as a university lecturer in the Environmental Engineering Department at University of Passo Fundo for three years and as a Postdoctoral Researcher in the project “Food-Energy-Water Nexus Governance” bythe University of Campinas and Belmont Forum.
At SLU, she will be working as a postdoc on sustainable sanitation systems dynamics modelling. She will be developing systems dynamic models for resource recovery systems from urine and wastewater fractions, including modelling outputs related to emissions, water footprints and socio-technical indicators. She will be with Kretsloppsteknik for the next two years.
Can we evaporate water from acidified fresh human urine to produce a solid fertiliser? Yes, we can! In our latest article in Science of the Total Environment (STOTEN), my colleagues (Anastasija Vasiljev, Dyllon Randall and Bjorn Vinneras) and I show how human urine can be treated to produce fertilisers with nutrient content similar to that of blended synthetic/mineral fertilisers sold on the market. In fact, we can produce a fully #biobased#urine#fertiliser containing more than 20% nitrogen by dosing fresh urine with organic acids and dehydrating it in ambient conditions. So dig into our article if you’re as fascinated by #urinechemistry as we are, because we also attempt to understand the factors that affect the recovery of nitrogen-containing organic compounds in urine.
Producing fertilisers from urine-derived nutrients is highly relevant in today’s context, where globally the increase in fertiliser prices is affecting food production and causing more global hunger. On the other hand, segregating urine at source and safely #recycling it also one “beyond the business as usual” approach to achieving the sustainable development goal on water and sanitation #SDG6, a goal whose targets we are in serious risk of not meeting by 2030.
We therefore hope to transfer results from our paper to exciting projects such as P2GreeN and REWAISE EU project where urine recycling systems are being piloted in real-world settings!
We at Kretsloppsteknik are currently giving a hybrid (onsite/online) course on Safe nutrient recycling and management (10 credit) within the
research school Sustainable systems for food, energy and biomaterials (SSFEB). The aim of the course is to give the student knowledge in current waste and wastewater management techniques, with focus on technologies for plant nutrient recovery and reuse. Today, 75% of all biodegradable solid waste is landfilled or dumped and 90% of all wastewater generated is either not treated or only partially treated. In cases when the waste is treated, treatments are not focused on recycling, but rather removal, of plant nutrients, as they can otherwise risk to pollute the environment. If the plant nutrients in the waste and wastewater were collected they could replace 25-50% of the virgin resources used for production of chemical fertilizers used in agriculture. Looking at waste and wastewater as resources is a paradigm shift, and for this shift to happen new technologies and management systems are required. When closing the loop of nutrients there is a risk of recycling unwanted substances as well, e.g. heavy metals and pathogens. Upon completion of the course the student should know the flow of waste and wastewater in society, possible treatment methods for closing the loop of nutrients and the risks associated with closed loop systems, as well as methods for mitigating circulation of unwanted substances.
At the current progress rate, there will probably still be 2.8 billion people world-wide without safely managed sanitation by 2030. Faecal sludge treatment is crucial for safely managed sanitation. To incentivize and increase implementation of sustainable faecal sludge management (FSM), especially in the cities of low and middle-income countries like Phnom Penh, Cambodia, there should be radial shift in viewing human waste as a resource. However, planning data, e.g. on qualities, quantities and fate of faecal sludge after leaving households are, inadequate and lack of accuracy. This study aimed to provide baseline data for effective FSM planning by sanitation stakeholders in Phnom Penh. This was done by characterizing the physical and chemical properties of faecal sludge in Phnom Penh, identifying sources of variation in faecal sludge composition, quantifying sludge volomes generated, transport logistics and resoruce recovery potential to incentivize sustainable management. In total, 194 faecal sludge samples collected during containment unit emptying were analyzed for physicochemical parameters. Interviews were conducted with users and emptying and transportation contractors, together with collection of technical data about on-site sanitation systems. Geographical coordinates of household sampling locations and disposal sites were also mapped.
The results showed that the concentation of many faecal sludge parameters such as nutrients and organic matter are at the lower end of the range reported for other similar cities worldwide, but still higher than the permissible Cambodian wastewater discharge level. The three predictors influencing faecal sludge characteristics included the addition of water during emptying, connection to the urban drainage network and the type of wastewater captured by household containment system. Cheung Ek and Kob Srov wetlands are the main recipients of faecal sludge collected in Phnom Penh with the amount of 18,800m3 and 13,700m3 annually (Figure 1), respectively. The analysis showed that faecal sludge in Phnom Penh contains valuable resources such as nitrogen (6 tons), phosphorus (13 tons) and energy (148-165 GWh) annually. The baseline data would be useful inputs for decision makers and planners in developing action plan for FSM in Phnom Penh and similar cities.