We had the joy, after waiting for two years, due to COVID, to finally listen to Madeleine Fogde’s lecture “Communication counts” as a part of the program of becoming honorary doctor at the NJ faculty at SLU. It was interesting to hear about the importance of communication and how a response to a question about how to construct sustainable sanitation after a natural disaster in Mozambique, that was answered by Prof Emeritus Håkan Jönsson and lead to several installations of ecological sanitation systems during the 1990-ies. Later this also lead to a long-term collaboration on sustainable sanitation and now we say welcome for becoming a part of SLU. Madeleine’s presentation starts 14 min into the video below.
I am originally Syrian and moved to Sweden about six years ago. I could not finish my last year of studying biochemistry at the University of Aleppo because of the war there. But with a lot of optimism and self-challenge, I was finally able to return to the bench of scientific research as a second-year student in the pharmaceutical and food technology at Folkuniversitetet in Uppsala, where my studies covers the entire chain of production from idea to product with hygiene requirements, process technology, process chemistry and knowledge of relevant legislation. With the aim to improve the health and quality of life of the population and work with the sustainable nutrition of the future through qualified practical work in medicine and the food industry.
Fortunately and with great happiness I was recently accepted as an intern at SLU ,as a laboratory assistant for two and a half months in a project fly larvae composting, where organic waste is converted into animal feed (fly larvae) and organic fertilizer (treatment residues).
To promote SLU Youth Institute and the advantages for high schools becoming part of it, Viktoria Wiklicky was invited to talk about the Black Soldier Flies in their 2022 launching video. Fly larva composting is a tool to close the loop of a now linear food production system and aims to make food production more circular. Promoting the technology to the next generation will ensure that our passion and our ideas will be continued in the future.
SLU Youth Institute aims to create interest among Swedish youth for global food security and to find sustainable solutions to the global challenges based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The programme was founded 2020 and is part of the many Youth Institutes coordinated by World Food Prize Foundation. High school students engage with local leaders and experts to discuss critical global challenges, participate in hands-on activities, and explore exciting ways to make a difference in Sweden, across Europe and around the world. By the way, also the larvae showed their best side in the spotlight of the cameras and luckily, cameras cannot record smell (yet).
During a visit by two foreign ministry officials, that had a full day at SLU about current research they visited us in the Environmental engineering group. We had interesting discussions about closing the loop of plant nutrients and thereby increasing the resilience while decreasing the environmental pollution. We did also visit our two treatment systems for urine drying and for fly larvae composting and presented our research about producing fertilisers from our wastewater and animal feed from the food waste.
Priscila de Morais Lima and Jennifer McConville recently published a paper in the Journal Science of the Total Environment in collaboration with Thais Andrade de Sampaio Lopes and Luciano Matos Queiroz from Brazil. They looked into resource recovery appropriate technologies for wastewater treatment in Brazil by coupling the Santiago software and Life Cycle Assessment to generate appropriate scenarios and to assess the environmental impacts. Their comparison between the scenarios generated by Santiago and the baseline of UASB reactors showed that urine and faeces separation with soil application performed best in most categories. As also verified in several other LCA papers, electricity and transport play major roles in sanitation systems; and even though the UASB reactors had high CO2 emissions, it has potential for resource recovery.
Implementation of resource recovery technologies is becoming increasingly important as humans are exhausting the world’s natural resources. Recovering nutrients and water from wastewater treatment systems will play an important role in changing the current trends towards a circular economy. However, guidance is still needed to determine the most appropriate way to do this. In this study, two decision-support tools, sanitation planning software (Santiago) and life cycle assessment (LCA), were applied to identify appropriate technologies and their environmental impacts. As a case study, current and alternative scenarios for a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) in Campo Grande, west-central Brazil, were used. Among 12 scenarios provided by Santiago for efficient nutrient recovery, eight were selected for further assessment. The current WWTP system (UASB reactors) resulted in the highest negative impacts in two of nine assessment categories (freshwater and marine eutrophication) due to nutrient discharge into water. A source separation scenario with urine stored in a urine bank and co-composting of faeces showed the best overall performance. Electricity consumption played a crucial role in impacts in several categories, while water consumption was not significantly affected by choice of the toilet. One Santiago scenario matched the most appropriate scenario with the best environmental performance, but the other seven scenarios were not as beneficial, indicating a need for some adjustments in the software. These results highlight the importance of performing LCA to compare alternative scenarios, even when using a tool designed to identify locally appropriate technologies. The results also indicate that the current wastewater treatment system has reasonable environmental performance but could be improved if measures were taken to recover energy and reuse water.
Prithvi has joined the editorial board of the journal, Frontiers in Chemical Engineering, as associate editor for the speciality section Environmental Chemical Engineering. The journal publishes rigorously high-impact research on all topics related to chemical engineering, while the speciality section explores opportunities in chemical engineering aimed at addressing environmental problems. Read more here: https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/chemical-engineering/sections/environmental-chemical-engineering
We are very happy that starting next year Dyllon Randall from the University of Cape Town will be at our group as the August T Larsson guest researcher. He will spend one month per semester at SLU over three years, teaching, supervising and working with researchers at the NJ faculty.
Randall’s guest researchership will cement the collaboration between UCT’s Future Water Institute and the SLU. This partnership began in March 2020 when he was invited to work with SLU’s Kretsloppsteknik Research Group in the niche area of urine source-separation-based sanitation systems. Randall and the group’s Bjorn Vinnerås and Prithvi Simha are among a handful of global experts who have been systematically working to develop circular sanitation technologies.
At SLU, the Faculty of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences has set aside funds to support internationalization of research in the field of global development. The NJ Faculty Committee on Global Development conducts calls for funds. During this year’s call, two applications were approved, out of which one was decided in Prithvi’s favor. With this funding, Prithvi and his colleagues in Namibia will be able to kickoff a project that they call “WATERSIDE”. The overall goal will be to create the groundwork for developing a transdisciplinary living lab – WATERSIDE (WATER Sanitation In ariD rEgions) focused on education, research and innovation within the subject area of water and sanitation in arid regions. The Kretsloppsteknik Research Group at SLU and the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) are the main partners. In addition, GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit), the Gobabeb Desert Research Institute and Development Workshop Namibia (DW-N) will be involved, while the City of Windhoek, Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia (SDFN) and Environmental Lawyers Network of Namibia will be associated. The idea is to conduct a series of three workshops in Namibia over the course of the next year, so keep an eye out on our blog to hear more about WATERSIDE.
Bjorn Vinneras, Prithvi Simha and Natnael Demissie from the group were in Copenhagen this week to take part in the IWA World Water Congress.
Natnael presented our work on urine dehydration, focusing on the full cycle – from collection to final consumer product, to show what SLU and Sanitation360 are doing to take the technology to market.
During the congress, there have been many opportunities to meet old and new friends, interact with practitioners and utilities, participate in workshops (e.g., the non-sewered sanitation), and shape the agenda for IWA specialist groups (e.g., ROS – Resource-Oriented Sanitation).