Developing urine diversion systems in a developed world context

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Re: Developing urine diversion systems in a developed world context

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Hi David

The whole reactor setup is not produced on an industrial scale yet; we are operating three pilot reactors, which tend to be expensive. Based on our current calculations, a pilot reactor costs about 80,000 EUR and can serve 400 people. This price includes the costs for the distiller. Without the distiller the costs are less than 40,000 EUR.

Kai

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Re: Developing urine diversion systems in a developed world context

Emmanuel et al.

Since 2010, Ostara reactors at wastewater treatments plants operated by a public utility in Hillsboro, Oregon have been converting urine from late stage effluent into struvite. The high quality white "pearls" produced at Clean Water Services are sold for use in container gardening.

Clean Water Services www.cleanwaterservices.org/AboutUs/Waste...ormwater/Ostara.aspx
Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies www.ostara.com
Report of PHLUSH tour of the facility. www.phlush.org/2011/04/18/visit-to-the-n...e-recovery-facility/

Hope this helps. Good to see this important discussion continuing. (All the more so with the Forum's cool new format. Yay!)

Carol

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Re: Developing urine diversion systems in a developed world context

Hi Carol

I didn't know that Ostara is also operating urine treatment reactors at Clean Water Services. I thought they treated digester supernatant.

Kai

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Re: Developing urine diversion systems in a developed world context

hello Carol and Kai

thank you for all this information.
If I understand correctly, there are 2 existing systems :
The Vuna project :
* concentration of urine on one side
* pilot project
* cost about 80 000€

The Pearl Process from Ostara :
* production of solid fertilizer from wastewater
* industrial process
* I asked for a cost of a small machine

I thought there was also a german producer of machine transforming urine in a solid fertilizer.

I try to see if it is possible to start a business transforming urine. The 2 options above seems good for me.

Emmanuel

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Re: Developing urine diversion systems in a developed world context

At the Rich Earth Institute in the United States we take a simpler approach, and just sanitize the urine through storage or pasteurization and then apply it to hay crops in liquid form. This works for us because we are in a rural area and transport distance from participating households to the farms where the urine is used is generally under 15 km. Because little specialized equipment is needed, cost is low and is mainly accounted for by transport and tanks for storage.

We are just beginning trials to incorporate urine into a solid product by co-composting it with other dry materials.

Abe Noe-Hays
Rich Earth Institute
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Re: Developing urine diversion systems in a developed world context

Emmanuel,

There are many ways to treat and reuse urine. Rich Earth Ostara's production of Crystal Green is a very high tech, commercial, proprietary option usually incorporated into large waste water treatment systems. Expensive.

For a lower tech solution see the STUN reactor used to produce struvite for fertilizer in Nepal. www.eawag.ch/forschung/sandec/gruppen/ew...uvite_production.pdf

And as Abraham notes, Rich Earth Institute is sanitizing urine for reuse in structured experiments through "storage or pasteurization". I hope he's say more about these basic procedures that we may be able to replicate in other communities.

All the best with your continuing investigations at Ecodomeo.

Carol

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Re: Developing urine diversion systems in a developed world context

Hi Carol,
Thanks for the document
Here in my Laboratory in Cameroon, we have already worked on struvite production.
The best information here is about struvite reactor which can be built with locally available materials and it low cost.
Thanks

Carol McCreary wrote: Emmanuel,

There are many ways to treat and reuse urine. Rich Earth Ostara's production of Crystal Green is a very high tech, commercial, proprietary option usually incorporated into large waste water treatment systems. Expensive.

For a lower tech solution see the STUN reactor used to produce struvite for fertilizer in Nepal. www.eawag.ch/forschung/sandec/gruppen/ew...uvite_production.pdf

And as Abraham notes, Rich Earth Institute is sanitizing urine for reuse in structured experiments through "storage or pasteurization". I hope he's say more about these basic procedures that we may be able to replicate in other communities.

All the best with your continuing investigations at Ecodomeo.

Carol


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PhD Student, UYI (Cameroon)
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Re: Developing urine diversion systems in a developed world context

Hi Emmanuel

Here is a bit more of information about struvite:

The German manufacturer, which you refer to, is probably Huber. They provided the reactor for the Saniresch project at GIZ. Here is a link to a description of the reactor:
saniresch.de/en/project-components/plant-technology

Huber has stopped producing struvite reactors after the project. I also think that there is no commercial version of the Ostara reactor for urine treatment.


When deciding, which process you want to choose, you should think about the goal of your project.

Struvite precipitation is a good way to recover the phosphorus which did not precipitate yet. Normally, about 30% of the phosphorus already precipitates spontaneously during urine storage and settles at the bottom. The rest can be recovered by magnesium dosage.

However, struvite precipitation leaves you with a strongly concentrated effluent, which contains high concentrations of ammonia (only about 5% are recovered as struvite), other nutrients such as potassium and sulfur, organic substances (bad smell) and pathogens (except for worm eggs, and some viruses and bacteria, which remain in the struvite).

For more information on the fate of pathogens in struvite from urine, please look at:
www.eawag.ch/forschung/eng/gruppen/vuna/...ks_of_urine/index_EN


There have been many studies on struvite precipitation and in some studies struvite precipitation was combined with ammonia stripping. Here are two references:

Antonini, S., Paris, S., Eichert, T. and Clemens, J. (2011) Nitrogen and Phosphorus Recovery from Human Urine by Struvite Precipitation and Air Stripping in Vietnam. CLEAN – Soil, Air, Water 39(12), 1099-1104.

Winkler, M.-K.H., Rossum, F.v., Oskam, N., Dijk, L.v. and Pol, G.J.v.d. (2013) Saniphos® technology for the recovery of ammonium and phosphate from human urine. WEF/IWA Nutrient Removal and Recovery 2013: Trends in Resource Recovery and Use, 28-31 July, 2013, Vancouver.

As far as I know the Saniphos process is still used in The Netherlands.


Many other processes have been proposed for urine treatment, but to my knowledge, not too many of them have been tested. In addition to struvite, stripping and the VUNA process there have also been some filtration processes. Please see the following link for information:

www.novaquatis.eawag.ch/arbeitspakete/nova4/index_EN

Best regards, Kai

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Re: Developing urine diversion systems in a developed world context

Dear all,

The Canadian company Ostara has been mentioned a few times in this thread, so when I saw their promotional video today mentioned on their twitter account (@OstaraTech) I thought that some of you might be interested in it:



I think it's quite a nice little video.

And Kai was right to point out that the crystals (fertiliser) that they produce comes from wastewater and not, as Carol had said from pure urine (OK, you could say wastewater is a mixture of water and urine and therefore the fertiliser is made from urine indirectly).

It really seems like quite an innovative company. The fertiliser is called Crystal Green.

More information is on their website of course: www.ostara.com/

Is this one example for a system where a water-based sanitation system with conventional wastewater treatment plants is leading to an ecosan-type system (i.e. with reuse) like we discussed quite controversially about the wastewater reuse in Braunschweig, Germany here: ?

forum.susana.org/forum/categories/40-irr...s-it-goodsustainable

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Re: Developing urine diversion systems in a developed world context

Is it just me or has this thread moved well away from the initiating poster's intent of implementing decentralized, low-tech, low-energy, low-cost sustainable sanitation solutions (using a source separation model) in the Minority World into one in which we're discussing centralized capital and energy intensive "solutions" instead? The "technofix" exhibited by the massive struvite reactor being marketed by Ostara is a response to the fact that we don't separate urine at the source. ANd the fact that its also being deployed in industrial settings is further proof that this is yet another band-aid designed to "clean-up" systems and processes that are flawed to their core. Urine diversion absolutely means keeping urine out of wastewater streams in the first place. Isolating it at the front-end precludes our having to spend millions/billions removing it (or its base constituents) at the back-end.

Kai Mikkel Førlie

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Re: Developing urine diversion systems in a developed world context

OK, while it at least in part meets the goals of ecosan, it bears pointing out that much of Ostara's technology is inherently unsustainable.

For example:

1) Ostara has at least once availed itself of magnesium chloride sourced from a supplier in China (the procurement of which undoubtedly involved the use of fossil-fuel powered ships) [this could be mitigated in some cases by using locally derived bittern;

2) The production of lye (sodium hydroxide) is inherently unsustainable,

3) Ostara's reactor is designed primarily with legacy wastewater systems in mind;

4) Ostara's technology is heavily dependent on large sources of capital and large amounts of energy.

Based on the above, Ostara's "Reactor 2000" strikes me as a classic example of a "green" techno-fix; in other words, something that's being billed as "green" but which will not in the end solve the underlying problem that it purports to be tackling. And as a result this is not something that I would support given that as far as I'm concerned those scant public funds available should instead be going towards systems (like that being pushed by Rich Earth Institute) that will better stand the test of time (and, in particular, the low-water and low-energy future facing us). In marked contrast to Ostara's "solution", source-separation and reuse can be very easily implemented using locally sourced materials and facilitated, if need be, via horse-drawn (or even bicycle-powered) forms of transportation.

Kai Mikkel Førlie

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Re: Developing urine diversion systems in a developed world context

Hi,

thank you everyone for your contribution.
It is very interesting to see all different solutions and ways of thinking.

I am working on a "french" subject.
In summer in France, we have lots of outdoor concerts and music festivals.
People who rent dry toilets for that festivals use also dry urinals and collect huge quantities of urine. They can collect sometimes more than 50 000 liters in 3 days.
Today we do not know how to use that urine correctly.
The NPK concentration is not sufficient to use it directly in agriculture as a fertilizer.
We can not put it in the earth near the festival place.

So I am working on 2 options for the treatment :
1/ treat urine directly on site during the festival
2/ bring urine in a "treatment" plant after festival to treat it,

and I want to separate urine in 2 other products :
* a clear water that can be put directly in the earth or a pipe for raining water or ...
* a concentration of the rest (liquid or solid)

Do you think that an existing solution is available ?
Is it possible to have an economic interest in doing that ?
What do you think about that project ?

Regards

Emmanuel
Ecodomeo

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