In the ongoing efforts to extend appropriate sanitation to the millions in the world lacking it, it benefits all to show that the byproduct of sanitation is not waste, but a valuable agricultural resource. Some even call it the new gold. This tangential research below is important in helping get that gold and getting to that goal.
New research by
- Y Dilsad Yilmaze – Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Villanova University, Villanova, PA, USA
- Goksel Demirer – Department of Environmental Engineering, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey
Nitrogen and phosphorus recovery from anaerobic co-digestion residues of poultry manure and maize silage via struvite precipitation
Anaerobic digestion is commonly used for the stabilization of agricultural and animal wastes. However, owing to the stringent environmental criteria, anaerobic digester effluents need to be further treated to reduce nutrient loads to the receiving water bodies. Struvite precipitation is one of the promising techniques applied for this purpose. Yet, in the majority of cases, struvite precipitation is only applied to the liquid phase of anaerobic digester effluents. This study investigated the recovery of nutrients from both the liquid and the solid phases of the phase-separated effluent of a full-scale biogas plant co-digesting poultry manure and maize silage. Struvite precipitation in the liquid phase led to 72.1% and 95.1% average removal efficiencies of ammonium-nitrogen (NH4-N) and orthophosphate respectively. Changing the external phosphorus source did not make any statistically significant difference in nutrient removal. An acidic phosphorus-dissolution process was applied to the solid phase sample to obtain a phosphorus-enriched solution. More than 90.0% of both NH4-N and PO4-P were recovered from the phosphorus-enriched solution with the amendments of magnesium and phosphorus. In the experiments performed without any addition of external magnesium- and phosphorus-containing chemicals, almost complete (99.6%) PO4-P recovery and partial (14.6%) NH4-N recovery were obtained. The results of this study could contribute to the understanding of nutrient recovery from anaerobic digestion residues of manure and agricultural wastes by struvite precipitation.
Side note while WASHLink appreciates the above efforts, we appeal for more researchers to seek out open access scientific and scholarly journals to publish their work. more on OA by an example
- Anaerobic digestion tabled in Franklin (franklinmatters.org)
- UK: 60,000 TPA anaerobic digestion biogas plant approved in Yorkshire (vernetblog.wordpress.com)
- Anaerobic digester for electricity, fertiliser production (vanguardngr.com)
- $20 million program would send chicken bones, pizza boxes to Madison biodigester (host.madison.com)
This is a Wonderful 39 page Technical document on covering all aspect of Waterless Urinals and some variants that incorporates
the core ideas.
- Dr V M Chariar
- S Ramesh Sakthivel
This Resource Book is a guide that seeks to assist individuals, builders, engineers, architects, and policy makers in promoting waterless urinals and the benefits of harvesting urine for reuse through waterless urinals and urine diverting toilets.
Chapters cover a wide set of Waterless Urinals details
- Waterless Urinals
- 1.1 Advantages of Waterless Urinals and Reuse of Urine
- 1.2 Demerits of Conventional Urinals
- Functioning of Waterless Urinals
- 2.1 Sealant Liquid Traps
- 2.2 Membrane Traps
- 2.3 Biological Blocks
- 2.4 Comparative Analysis of Popular Odour Traps
- 2.5 Other Types of odour Traps
- 2.6 Installation and Maintenance of Waterless Urinals
- Innovative Urinal Designs
- 3.1 Public Urinal Kiosk 21
- 3.2 Green Waterless Urinal
- 3.3 Self Constructed Urinals
- Urine Diverting Toilets
- Urine Harvesting for Agriculture
- 5.1 Safe Application of Urine 3
- 5.2 Methods of Urine Application
- Other Applications of Urine
- Challenges and the Way Forward
- References and Further Reading
- Comparative analysis of popular odour traps
- Average chemical composition of fresh urine
- Recommended dose of urine for various crops
- Waterless urinals for men
- Schematic diagram showing functioning of urinals
- Sealant liquid based odour trap
- Urinals with sealant liquid based odour traps
- Flat rubber tube by Keramag and silicon membranes by Addicom
- LDPE membrane by Shital Ceramics
- Biological blocks
- Formwork used for fabrication of public urinal kiosk
- Reinforced concrete public urinal kiosk
- Drawing of public urinal kiosk established at IIT Delhi
- Green urinal established at IIT Delhi
- Plant bed of green urinal with perforated pipe
- Drawing of public urinal kiosk established at IIT Delhi
- Self constructed urinal Eco‐lily
- Squatting type urine diverting dry toilet with two chambers
- Urine diverting no mix toilet 27 Sectional view of a urine diverting dry toilet
- Deep injection of urine using soil injector
- Deep injection of urine using perforated pet bottles
- Use of fertilisation tank for applying urine through drip irrigation
- Manually operated reactor for recovery of struvite
- Schematic drawing of ammonia stripping from urine
“An odourless trap Zerodor which does not require replaceable parts or consumables resulting in low maintenance costs has been developed at IIT Delhi. This model is in final test stage yet to be made commercially available.” more on Zerodor…
Waterless Urinals do not require water for flushing and can be promoted at homes, institutions and public places to save water, energy and to harvest urine as a resource. Reduction in infrastructure required for water supply and waste water treatment is also a spinoff arising from installing waterless urinals. The concept, founded on the principles of ecological sanitation helps in preventing environmental damage caused by conventional flush sanitation systems.
In recent years, Human Urine has been identified as a potential resource that can be beneficially used for agriculture and industrial purposes. Human urine contains significant portion of essential plant nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphate and potassium excreted by human beings. Urine and faeces can also be separated employing systems such as urine diverting toilets. In the light of diminishing world’s phosphate and oil reserves which determine availability as well as pricing of mineral fertilisers, harvesting urine for reuse in agriculture assumes significant importance. Akin to the movement for harvesting rain water, urine harvesting is a concept which could have huge implications for resource conservation.
- UNICEF Report Highlights India’s Water Management Woes (circleofblue.org)
- SANITATION: Urban water woes (irinnews.org)
- From Water Problems to Water Solutions (slideshare.net)
- Lack of toilets, clean water costs world $260 bln a year – Liberian president (trust.org)
There was post on the yahoo group ECOSANRES asking about Cold Climate toilets -Cold weather toilets.
A reply mentioned this PDF:
Urine Diverting Toilets in Climates with Cold Winters Technical considerations and the reuse of nutrients with a focus on legal and hygienic aspects.
While the report is several year old, the $h1t is still good and worthy of summarizing
Authors and Editors:
- Anna Richert Stintzing
- VERNA, Ecological Inc., Sweden
- Dr. Håkan Jönsson
- Dr. Caroline Schönning
- Kati Hinkkanen
- Dr. Elisabeth Kvarnström
- Dr. Zsofia Ganrot
- Margriet Samwel
- Sascha Gabizon
- Annemarie Mohr
- Publisher: WECF – Women in Europe for a Common Future
- Pages:42 1.35 mb
- It is formatted 3 columns / page which doe not lend itself well to computer screens and pdf readers
- It is a fast read to those in this field
- It is a good read for someone who knows little about this field
1 – Summary
2 – Dry Urine Diversion
3 – EU directives relating to dry urine diversion where urine and faeces
4 – Legal aspects
5 – Cold temperature aspects
– Freezing of urine
– Hygiene and treatment of urine
– Pharmaceuticals and hormones
– Hygiene and treatment of faeces
– Technical aspects: construction and maintenance of
– urine diverting toilets in climates with cold winters
– Pipes for urine
– Odour control with ventilation
– System for reuse of urine and faeces in crop production
– Home gardens
– Large Scale Agricultural Production
6 – Examples from pilot projects and research from the northern hemisphere
7 – Knowledge gaps and identified research needs
8 – Annex
Three key points from the Reportssummary are:
“There are functioning examples of dry urine diversion in regions in the world with cold winter climates. The examples presented in the report show that it is possible to arrange agricultural reuse of urine and faeces in large or small scale crop production.”
“The fact that there are only short periods during the year when urine can be used as a fertiliser place demands on a storage system for the urine. There are a few alternatives; one of the most economic may be to arrange storage on a farm, in covered storage containers previously used for animal urine.”
“There are still development needs and knowledge gaps. Some of these are related to temperate and cold climates, such as the fate of microorganisms in urine at temperatures below freezing. However, this should not be considered a major constraint to the development of dry urine diversion, since the risk is relatively low, and can be handled through combination with other hygienic activities.”
The report reprints 3 basic but useful tables from other organizations:
1: Recommended guideline storage times for urinea based on estimated pathogen contentb and recommended crop for larger systemsc (WHO, 2006).
2: Requirements on storage and allowed crops for diverted human urine that is collected from larger systems. (Swedish EPA, 2002).
3: Recommendations for storage treatment of dry excreta and faecal sludge before use at household and large-scale (municipal) levels. The treatments assume no
addition of non-sanitised material (WHO, 2006).
Again the report is a quick and easy read, providing a good preface to a much larger document that needs to be written on the subject. The report ends nicely, saying we need more research :
“There are some definite areas where there is a need of systematic research and development (R&D). Some of these, especially related to winter climate aspects, are specified in the following text.
One of the most discussed questions regarding urine diversion is the fate of pharmaceutical residues after excretion, and how this affects choice of collection and treatment of human excreta. Research on fate of pharmaceuticals in waste water treatment plants is being undertaken in Germany and Sweden. No known field studies are taking place on fate of pharmaceutical residues when urine or sewage sludge is applied to the soil. The current recommendation to use urine as a fertiliser in agriculture rests on the analysis that the soil system is well suited to digest harmful organic substances due to microbial life in the surface layers of soil. This would be an interesting field of study that can give valuable information on design of reuse systems.
Sanitisation of faeces is another aspect that needs attention. The WHO guidelines on the reuse of human excreta in agriculture mention the alkaline treatment by adding ashes or alkaline substances with a storage time of 6 month ( > 35 °C ) as a possible way to sanitise faeces, or 1,5 – 2 years storage time. The temperature intervals given do not cater for needs in temperate or cold climates, which means that knowledge on treatment of faeces in this region should be developed. Research on more simple and robust treatment methods is needed.
Suggested applied R&D projects
– Establishment of new pilot projects and evaluation of existing projects. Monitoring and evaluation of existing dry urine diversion projects is a costefficient way of generating knowledge. Dissemination of results, regardless of if they are positive or negative, from existing pilots is vital. The establishment of new pilot projects will also contribute to the bank of knowledge.
– Sanitisation of faecal fraction: research on requested storage in ambient or alkaline environment in temperate and cold climates (winters with temperatures far below zero).
– Sanitisation of faecal fraction: research on the implementation of chemical sanitisation of faeces with urea. This is an interesting method, but the practical implications need to be studied and developed.
– Sanitisation of urine: what happens in the urine when it is frozen and what are the implications for storage intervals?
– Pharmaceutical residues: studies of soil system when urine is used as a fertiliser. Effect on microbial community, speed of decomposition. Comparisons with sewage sludge, farmyard manure.
– Toilet design: development of risers and squat-plates for local production. Care given to needs of different users: children, disabled, elderly, men, women. Toilets of today need development since many do not divert as much urine as possible, and are unnecessarily difficult to clean.
– Systems analysis from an economic point of view. Comparison of investment and maintenance costs of urine diversion systems and conventional sanitation.
– Systems analysis from an environmental point of view. How do different activities affect the sustainability of the system, for example fertilisation strategies, choice of tank, joint measures or single toilets?
– What are the economical incentives for implementation of urine diversion? How to design the economical system with the regard to municipal responsibility and financial support/ interactions. How should the systems be organized and which are the most important drivers for the different stake holders.”
other related links
- Inactivation of bacteria and viruses in human urine depending on temperature and dilution rate.
- The Swedish Eco-Sanitation Experience pdf
- Ecosan Sanitation Facilities resources
- Reuse of faeces and urine – Appropedia: The sustainability wiki
- Guidelines for the safe use of wastewater, excreta and greywater. Volume 1: Policy and regulatory aspects
- Guidelines for the safe use of wastewater, excreta and greywater. Volume 2: Wastewater use in agriculture
- Guidelines for the safe use of wastwater, excreta and greywater. Volume 3: Wastewater and excreta use in aquaculture
- Guidelines for the safe use of wastwater, excreta and greywater. Volume 4: Excreta and greywater use in agriculture
- Human urine – Chemical composition and fertilizer use efficiency
The Bill &Melinda Gates Foundation supports joint project by Swiss aquatic research institute and South African water utility
Urine as a Commercial Fertilizer?
14 October 2010 – press release reprint
The separate collection of urine provides innovative opportunities for the improvement of sanitation and the recycling of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Urine separation is an excellent sanitation solution, particularly in places where classic sewer-based sanitation is not sustainable. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is providing a grant of 3.0 million US dollars to support a joint project by the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) and the eThekwini Water and Sanitation utility (EWS) in South Africa to continue developing practical, community-scale nutrient recovery systems.
The project, covering a period of four years, focuses on the further development of technical solutions for urine processing for nutrient recovery. In addition, project participants, together with experts from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, will study the logistics of collection and transport of urine from toilets to processing facilities. The Swiss aquatic research scientists and their partners in South Africa will also examine ways in which sanitation can be paid for by the production and sale of urine-based fertiliser, thus enabling a cheap, efficient and widely-accepted sanitation system to be set up.
Alternatives are urgently needed
There is a growing awareness that in many parts of the world an alternative is needed for the conventional sewer-based sanitation and central wastewater treatment system – if only for the reason that not enough water is available for drinking, let alone to be used for flushing. There is a pressing need to reduce the number of people with no access to basic sanitary facilities and safe drinking water, as required by the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). As well as endangering people’s health, inadequate disposal of faecal material poses a risk to the drinking water supply and contaminates the natural environment. Last but not least, the global demand for fertiliser is so great that interest in local sources of nutrients is growing.
Successful preparatory work in Nepal
Eawag has many years of experience in the research of urine separation, also known as NoMix technology, and in 2007 completed the transdisciplinary Novaquatis project. Since then, Eawag’s project in Siddhipur near Kathmandu, Nepal, has demonstrated that urine processed to make the phosphorus-based fertiliser struvite can help to close regional nutrient cycles and promote awareness of the value of the nutrients contained in urine. Farmers participating in the scheme also benefit since they do not need to buy as much imported chemical fertiliser (www.eawag.ch/stun). «This experience plus the collaboration with an extremely progressive administrative department in Durban were important reasons for developing our project in South Africa for the next four years», says process engineer Kai Udert, who is the Eawag researcher in charge of the South Africa project.
Collaboration with an innovative water authority
Eawag can count on a forward-looking partner in the South African eThekwini region around Durban, since they have already carried out important pioneering work in the field of sanitation. EWS has been promoting urine-diverting dry toilets since 2002 and there are already around 90,000 such toilets in use. However, urine is simply soaked into the ground, which could create new problems in the longer term. A simple, combined system for nutrient recycling from urine will be developed . This will reduce the costs of sanitation, prevent pollution of water resources and produce fertiliser for the local market. «That’s a completely new way of thinking and not just a small step on an already well-trodden path», says Kai Udert.
More information: Dr. Kai Udert, Telephone +41 44 823 5360
This Came up in a google news watch – worthy of noting – originally published in 2006 by Elizabeth Anne Tilley
“Phosphorus, like oil, is a non-renewable resource that must be harvested from finite resources in the earth’s crust. An essential element for life, phosphorus is becoming increasingly scarce, contaminated, and difficult to extract. Struvite, or magnesium ammonium phosphate (MgNH₄P0₄.6H₂0) is a white, crystalline phosphate mineral that can be used as a bioavailable fertilizer and can be recovered from aqueous solutions such as digestor supernant. In response to diminishing water resources, increasing nutrient pollution, and largely unaffordable centralized treatment, a paradigm of Ecological Sanitation (EcoSan) has emerged. A central tenant of EcoSan technology is nutrient recovery; by separating urine from feces in the absence of water, urine can be used as a clean, concentrated nutrient source. Urine harvested in this manner is used as a liquid fertilizer with varying degrees of success and acceptance. This research examines the potential of urine to be a feedstock for struvite recovery. By recovering a sustainable source of phosphorus from urine, the prospect of appropriate sanitation and closed-loop nutrient systems, may move closer to reality. In laboratory experiments using synthetic and real human urine, different methods of preparing urine to be used as a feedstock for struvite recovery, were examined. The effect of temperature, faecal contamination, dilution, and headspace on stored nutrient levels was examined. The effect of adding different quantities of magnesium, at different times, on the amount of phosphorus that could be removed from solution, was also examined. An average of 70% of phosphorus could be removed from real urine in the form of struvite when magnesium was added to the urine solution after ureolysis had forced the precipitation of calcium and magnesium minerals; magnesium added before ureolysis began retarded the process. Dilution and the presence of wastewater were found to affect the rate of ureolysis but not the purity of the struvite recovered; recovered struvite was approximately 99% pure regardless of dilution or contamination. Based on a comparison of the results, synthetic urine was found to be representative of the general behaviour of real urine during struvite formation.”
download link is VERY slow: ubc_2006-0678.pdf
Here is great video showing how the EcoSan toilet works, stressing:
1 You don’t need water to us an EcoSan toilet, saving a precious resource
2 There is a huge benefit to use urine as a fertilizer
The video the workings of toilet itself. What I find wonderful is that this video explains & shows the full sequence of steps taken to after urination to get the urine onto the the field as fertilizer. This is followed by a wonderful comparison of crop yields comparing side by side fields, on fertilized with urine the other fertilized with commercial fertilizer. The fields fertilized with urine did better than the commercial fertilizers and at NO COST!!!! The video is in English and the location is Ethiopia. Several local experts are use to explain particular points.
Title Urine Diversion Toilets: advantages and use agriculture
a brief Ecosan Documentary by Andreas Wilkin c 2008
produced for the ROSA project
contact Franziska Meinzinger f.meinzinger @ tu-harburg.de
Technische Universitat Hamburg-Harburg TUHH
(Hamburg University of Technology)
WASHLink Notes: addition resources:
other related YouTube videos (using following search terms)
|ecosan urine||ecosan construction||ecosan watsan|
|ecosan design materials||ecosan fertilizer||ecosan toilet|