In a bio-based circular economy, domestic wastewater has a significant role to play. By separating wastewater into different fractions at the source, it is possible to create new pathways for recycling resources. In a book chapter published in Current Developments in Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Simha et al. discuss about the most nutrient-rich wastewater fraction, human urine. We present a new, simple, yet potentially revolutionary nutrient recycling technology — alkaline urine dehydration. We then describe how this technology can be combined with urine-diverting toilets and integrated with existing sanitation infrastructure to create a service chain that safely collects, contains, transports, and applies urine as fertilizer. The potential benefits, risks, knowledge gaps, and challenges surrounding the implementation of a urine-diverting and dehydrating sanitation system are discussed. Finally, the prospect of creating smart toilets and digitizing the proposed sanitation system are explored. To read the full chapter, follow the link below:
The partnership between the Environmental Engineering Group at SLU and Dr. Ivã Guidini Lopes from the Aquaculture Center of Unesp (São Paulo, Brazil) resulted in a second publication, entitled “Reduction of bacteria in relation to feeding regimes when treating aquaculture waste in fly larvae composting”, recently published in Frontiers in Microbiology, as part of the research topic “Microbial dynamics during industrial rearing and processing of insects”.
Our group’s spinoff company, Sanitation360 AB, was recently declared the winner of the Skapapriset for Gotland, where the company is based. The jury on Gotland was of the opinion that the S360 team (Jenna, Björn and Prithvi) were very good representatives for Gotland. S360 now moves onto the final round, where we will compete with companies from all the Swedish counties.
The SKAPA Prize is Sweden’s largest innovation award, with the aim of providing support to inventors to develop their ideas. SKAPA is a foundation founded in memory of Alfred Nobel in 1985 and awarded its first prize in 1986. Behind the foundation stands the Stockholm Fair and the Swedish Inventors’ Association supported by Almi Företagspartner AB, VINNOVA, the Agne Johansson Foundation and the Patent and Registration Office. The prize is first awarded at the county level, where all county winners receive SEK 10,000, then nationally.
The group’s startup company, Sanitation360 AB, is taking part in the Create the Future Design Contest, which was first launched in 2002 by the publishers of Tech Briefs magazine to help stimulate and reward engineering innovation. Our entry which is called “Save the world by going to the bathroom!” puts forward our research and development of the urine drying concept, where the idea is to convert human urine into a dry, safe, nutrient-rich solid. The most popular entries will be decided by the voting of registered users of the contest web site. So help us by going to this website, where you can register as a user and vote for Sanitation360!
Our intern Chinmoy Deb from India, has successfully completed all his theory subjects at SLU for the Mater’s program “Soil, Water and Environment” in a duration of one year. In his theory subjects, he had worked with soil-water systems and Geochemical modelling. Chinmoy has opted for a “One-year Master Thesis” for the rest of the credits left. He was here last year for the completion of his Bachelor’s thesis on Urine Drying Technologies. This year, in continuation with his previous work, Chinmoy will be focusing on different methods and medias for urine drying. Primarily, he’ll be concentrating on reclamation of water from human urine.
To celebrate the successful PhD defence of Jenna Senecal, we combined it with the annual spring semester Brännboll game of PhDs vs the non-PhDs, a perfect activity for social distancing. The referees (aka the PhDs) are still counting the results due to some unclear activities regarding how to run after batting (not cutting corners) and how to normalize by age and education combined with the number of players. The non-PhDs felt that they won (as usual) but need to work and get their PhDs so they can go to the other side and be the ones who make the rules.
We congratulate Jenna Senecal for a well performed defence of her PhD thesis “Safe Nutrient Recovery from Human Urine – System and Hugiene Evaluation of Alkaline Urine Dehydration”. It was a great discussion with the opponent Professor Chris Buckley from University of KwaZulu Natal, followed by the discussion with the evaluation committee, Ana Soares Cranfield Water Sciences Institute, H.B. Wittgren VA-Syd & Sweden Water Research, Helvi Heinonen-Tanski University of Eastern Finland, Malgorzata Krzywonos Wrocław University of Economics and Business and Sofia Boqvist SLU. If you missed it the event is available on the Energi och teknik Facebook page. The event was performed online as well as with an audience in the room, with social distance, in total there were 22 persons in the room listening and up to 36 persons following the dissertation online, it worked well, even if we were missing the interesting post seminar discussions with all involved persons.
Robin and Jennifer from the group are collaborating in the End of Wastewater project that is also led by Robin. The aim of the project is to co-create, together with committed Swedish actors, a knowledge brokering and public engagement toolbox to support and encourage acceptance, implementation and upscaling of innovative and sustainable solutions to recirculate nutrients and carbon from human excreta and other organic residuals to agriculture. We are circulating a survey to collect information from diverse actors about how to design this knowledge tool and the support engagement material.
After ten years in Gothenburg on the Swedish West Coast, it is now time to (again) experience Uppsala on the East Coast. Having only good memories from a summer spent in Uppsala back in 2010, when I first came to Sweden, I am looking forward to work at SLU’s Environmental Engineering Group.
Through my work, I aspire to contribute to a world in which nutrients are recirculated from human excreta and other organic residuals to agriculture in a way the supports healthy water, soil, food, and people. To achieve this, I believe it is crucial that we see human excreta management as part of food and farming systems rather than as part of waste management. This premise underpins much of my research as environmental systems analyst.