Nutrient and Energy Recovery from Sanitary Waste Water and Urine

1. Nutrient Recovery from Urine

if urine is separated from black water as some waterless urinal systems do, then the high ammonia content in the urine can be stripped at high pH and recovered as a nutrient such as ammonium sulfate. Research at EAWAG in Zurich and MIT has demonstrated that this is possible. Also the phosphate in urine can be precipitated using magnesium as Struvite.

Ammonium recovery and energy production from urine by a microbial fuel cell - Research in the Netherlands

Urine Treatment - Research at EAWAG

2. Sludge reuse in agriculture and its risks (hormones, heavy metals)

Sludge from waste water treatment can be used in enriching soils if the content of heavy metals and/or hormones is not deemed as potentially hazardous to health.

3. Possible reuse of fat, oil and grease for biodiesel production

If the fat, oil and/or grease content of waste water is separated, then it can be recycle into biodiesel and used as a source of energy.

4. Methane gas production from sludge digestion

Methane can be produced from the anaerobic digestion of the sludge produced from municipal waste water treatment. This can be used to produce electrical energy and heat using methane powered generators such as the ones available from GE and Caterpillar.

5. phosphorus recovery from urine

Phosphorus can be recovered from urine using precipitation with magnesium in the form of Struvite. This is described at the site Value from Urine.


Compiled by Rami E. Kremesti M.Sc.

Water Treatment Specialist