We are looking forward to attending the 6th International Water Association Conference on eco-Technologies for Wastewater Treatment (#ecoSTP23) in #Girona this month, between June 26th to 29th. Prithvi Simha and PhD candidates from our group, Anuron Deka, Abood Alahmad, and Chibambila Simbeye will be presenting on a range of topics that we have been investigating over the past year including i) the use of #biopolymers for chemical dosing of urine, ii) precipitation of #vivianite from urine and iii) diffusion barriers and #upscaling potential for #urine #recycling.
If you’re also participating here, we would love to chat with you, perhaps over lunch or dinner during the conference! Feel free to send me (Prithvi.Simha@slu.se) an email or a message about this.
PS. Some of us from the IWA Resource-Oriented Sanitation Specialist Group also plan to have dinner together on the sidelines of the conference.
Ya Gao comes from China and previously received her Master’s degree in Environmental Technology at Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands and her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Sciences at Tongji University in China. After the graduation from her previous study, Ya Gao worked in a green building sustainable consultancy company in Shanghai as a project engineer for one and a half years. In May 2023, Ya Gao has joined the Kretsloppsteknik group as a PhD student working for the EU project P2Green. The main focus for her PhD study will be the urine dehydration research that aims at dehydrating the acid-stabilized human urine and recovering the nutrients contained in the urine for the use of plant fertilizers.
The Kretsloppsteknik group travelled to Gotland earlier this week and spent a few days in Visby, a town that many of us described as “quaint”, “charming”, and “serene”. It was wonderful to be together in such a setting, and spend some quality time together away from our usual offices. During the trip, we reflected a lot on where we are today as a group, our common goals and shared vision for global sustainability, and how we could reach these goals. We plan to summarise all these discussions in the form of a “group opinion paper”, where we will present how we think our research can contribute to circular economies in the urban sanitation and waste management space. Stay tuned 🙂
Sanitation360 (spin-off company from our urine drying group at Kretsloppsteknik, SLU) has been awarded the Innovative Startups Step 2 by Vinnova. During 2021-2022, Sanitation360 used the funds from Step 1 to assess the market potential for manufacturing and selling the urine-drying technology in South Africa. During that time, S360 found the partners perfect partners – Scandinavian Water and Sanitation and Sanitation Ambassadors. Together, they will design, build and implement the drying system in South Africa. The generated fertilizer will also be used. The project runs from now till May 2024. Stay tuned for more up-dates.
More about the funding: Companies that have further need for financing after Innovative Startups step 1, finalized a project in step 1, can apply for funding in step 2. In step 2, Vinnova can contribute up to 90 % of the project budget, up to a maximum of 900,000 SEK. More information about the Vinnova funding can be found here: https://www.vinnova.se/en/calls-for-proposals/innovative-startups/
In the latest article published in Science of the Total Environment (STOTEN), Prithvi Simha and colleagues (Chibambila Simbeye, Caitlin Courtney, and Nico Fischer) show for the first time that we can produce vivianite from human urine. For those who don’t know, vivianite is iron phosphate ((Fe(II)3(PO4)3·8H2O) and is in high demand in the electronics industry for lithium-ion battery production as well as in the art industry as a pigment in paint. It can be sold for as much as $100-500 per kg. Considering that struvite and calcium phosphate can typically only be sold for $1 kg−1, recovering P as vivianite would likely be significantly more profitable.
In this work we determined ideal operating regions for vivianite production from human urine. We showed that overdosing iron exerted a competitive effect that suppressed the precipitation of other precipitates and could also compensate for changing urine compositions. Overall, the highest yield and purity was 93% and 79% respectively. We showed that the presence of organics in real urine ultimately affected the purity. Thank you to the Water Research Commission for funding this work and to the SLU – Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences‘s August T Larsson Guest Research program for Dyllon’s current research visit to SLU.
Hi, my name’s Nicola Parfitt and I recently spent a wonderful week on Gotland interviewing farmers about their perceptions of human urine as a fertilizer. I did this as part of my master thesis in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science at Lund University, which I can’t believe is already coming to an end in June.
I came into contact with this topic after Jenna Senecal, the CEO of Sanitation360 who recycles human urine and turns it into a fertilizer on Gotland, held a lecture as part of one of the courses I was taking. The potential of ecological sanitation and nutrient recycling to reduce eutrophication, contribute to circular farming and also provide decentralized toilets in countries where access to basic sanitation facilities is still low, made me fall in love with the concept. However, for the loop between sanitation and agriculture to be fully closed, farmers need to be willing to use the end product – and that’s how my thesis idea came about.
About a month ago now, Sanitation360 finally started this year’s field trials where barley is being grown and fertilized with human urine. In addition, this is an extra special year because we’re not only trialing our dry-fertilizer but liquid urine too (see top photo)! It’s going to be really interesting to compare the barley yields between these two different forms of human urine.
In the two photos you can see Hushållningssällskapet Gotland, our local agricultural consultancy partners, using a seed drill to plant the barley and the solid urine fertilizer! Can’t wait to share the results!
We are delighted to announce that our scholarly article titled “Urine recycling – Diffusion barriers and upscaling potential; case studies from Sweden and Switzerland” has been successfully published in the Journal of Cleaner Production.
The primary focus of our research was to investigate the underlying barriers that impede the widespread implementation of urine recycling systems, despite their considerable potential for enhancing food and fertilizer security. Through a comprehensive analysis, we identified several challenges: technological limitations, inadequate investment, insufficient knowledge dissemination, and inadequate legal support. Moreover, we formulated various strategic pathways for scaling up these systems and provided well-founded policy recommendations to overcome the existing obstacles, fostering their expansion and aligning them with future aspirations.
If you’re interested in learning more about urine recycling then this paper is for you.
We are extremely happy to share our latest milestone – something that we set as a aim almost ten years ago – to produce a dry urine fertiliser with the same nutrient content as that of synthetic fertilisers so that we can replace their use in agricultural systems. Earlier this year, we managed to produce the first 20 kg batch of our solid urine based fertiliser, Granurin, with >15% nitrogen content. The urine was collected last year from public urinals on Gotland as part of the N2Brew project, and treated by Sanitation360 AB, with final processing and fertiliser pelletisation done at SLU – Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences by Bjorn, Jenna and Prithvi.
Several members and PhD students of the ETE department (Environmental Technology) at Wageningen University & Research visited SLU earlier this month. We enjoted several interesting presentations from Miriam van Eekert, Huub Rijnaarts, Cecilia Lalander and Prithvi Simha which were followed by great discussions and a poster session where all PhD students got to showcase their research. We all also got to play a serious game which was facilitated by Jennifer McConville. It was a great day and we really look forward to future collaboration with ETE.