SuSanA - Forum Kunena Site Syndication Sat, 01 Oct 2016 13:48:52 +0000 Kunena 1.6 SuSanA - Forum en-gb Estimating the potential for resource recovery from productive sanitation in urban areas - by: ddiba This is to introduce to you my MSc thesis which is now uploaded in the SuSanA library. This thesis was done at the Stockholm Environmental Institute as part of the Resource Value Mapping (REVAMP) project, working with Kim Andersson and Arno Rosemarin and being supervised by Helfrid Schulte-Herbrüggen at KTH Royal Institute of Technology. It is embedded within the SEI Initiative on Sanitation (See more: and A 4-page discussion brief has also been published based on this thesis and it is also available in the SuSanA library.

To-date, sanitation and waste management has mainly been approached from a public and environmental health perspective and this implies that excreta and other organic waste streams are seen not only as a hazard to quickly get rid of but also as only a very costly menace to manage. However, looking at sanitary and other urban organic waste streams from a resource recovery perspective provides an avenue for solutions with multiple co-benefits. Revenues from reuse products can act as an incentive for improving sanitation and waste management infrastructure while also covering part or all of the investment and operation costs for the same. Until now, estimating the potential for resource recovery from sanitation systems and technologies has been largely done on a case by case basis according to project or geography with no standardized universal tools or methodologies being used across the world. This study aimed at developing a generic model for the rapid quantification of the resource recovery potential of organic waste streams in urban areas.

To develop the model, the mathematical relationships between major waste stream characterization parameters and the amounts of reuse products derived from treatment processes, were obtained from published literature and used to formulate equations which were designed into functions in Excel spreadsheets. Testing with waste stream flows and characterization data from Kampala (for faecal sludge, sewage sludge and organic municipal solid waste) showed that the three waste streams could altogether yield; up to 361,200 Nm3 of biogas (which could replace the amount of firewood used by 824,000 people in the city daily) or 752 tonnes of solid combustion fuel (which could replace the amount of firewood used by 1,108,700 people in the city daily) or 198 tonnes of Black Soldier Fly larvae (which could replace 134 tonnes of dry fish per day, currently one of the major animal protein feed ingredient) or 909 tonnes of compost fertilizer (with an amount of nutrients enough to substitute for two tonnes of urea), per day. The results from this model could therefore be a simple way to provide initial decision support towards planning for resource-oriented waste management systems by urban authorities, without the burden of having to do full scale feasibility studies. By highlighting the resource potential in urban waste streams, the model could also provide an incentive for integrated management of the various urban waste streams with a resource recovery and water-energy-food nexus perspective.

Download links
Download the full text of the thesis from the SuSanA Library:
Download the 4-page discussion brief introducing the REVAMP tool from the SuSanA library:
Here’s the 15-minute presentation I made about the REVAMP tool at the 22nd SuSanA meeting in Stockholm:

If you have any questions about this thesis, the REVAMP tool or resource recovery in general, I am more than glad to discuss!

Resource recovery from excreta, faecal sludge or wastewater Sat, 24 Sep 2016 09:38:12 +0000
Re: Membrane processing of urine into drinking water (University of Ghent, Belgium) - by: SebastiaanDerese
I'm just a new member of the SuSanA forum, and I've been around looking at what kind of work is being done. Very interesting indeed, and we are just a new player in this world. I'm sorry we didn't come here first, but the last few weeks have been very busy answering media requests and so on. About me: I am ir. Sebastiaan Derese, a PhD student in Bioscience engineering (environmental technology) at Ghent University since August 2013. Our team further consists of various MSc. students (who write their theses on our project) and my supervisor, prof. dr. ir. Arne R.D. Verliefde. Though this is the core, we have a lot of people involved for small tasks, and as such we have quite a bit of scientific and non-scientific input.

The project, which we like to call SATURN (Solar-Assisted Treatment of Urine with Recovery of Nutrients) is aimed at recovering the majority of fertilizer value in urine, but only through use of 'simple', energy-efficient and robust technology. The project was started in August 2013 when I received a personal grant to investigate a few techniques towards nutrient recovery from human urine. Since then, we've been (primarily) doing lab tests, which have been quite successful and led to a pilot trial at the Ghent Festival. There, we received a lot of media attention with the cross-over between the SATURN project and the Sewer To Brewer project, in which the goal is to use recovered water from wastewater into a beer (both as a statement - it can be done - as well as improving the trust in wastewater treatment and circular water cycles). Indeed: we were able to recover very high quality water directly from urine for beer production. More water is needed to start up a batch of 'urine beer', but that is out of the question here.

I cannot disclose too much of the science behind the SATURN project, unfortunately. We do have some partnerships running under NDA. What I can tell you is that we try and aim for selective nutrient recovery (N, P, K, S...) from urine (without inclusion of pathogens/pharmaceuticals) as well as high-quality water recovery with the only energy input being solar heat (so no PV panels). Due to the 'ease of operation' and modularity of the technique, it is possible to have both a 'high-tech' and 'low-tech' version, allowing this technique to be used stand-alone in festivals and in large buildings, as well as opening perspectives for developing countries. As you point out, Elisabeth, the situation there is infinitely more complex, which is why we're looking for grants to explore the possibilities, and start a project in which we start from scratch and design the system as such that it could work for rural communities. However, I do not doubt the fact that there will be people with a lot more field experience here (we do also have running projects in South Africa, so we're not complete idiots either), whom I'm very willing to exchange with. For us, the goal is to get to implementation of this technology in a broad context, if it is indeed a competitor/successor of existing technology. To do that, we need funding, partners and investors. The media attention helped quite a bit achieving this.

In any case, I welcome any questions, suggestions and remarks, and hope to disclose a bit more soon.

Please contact me and my supervisor through This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

All the best, good luck in your endeavours,
Resource recovery from excreta, faecal sludge or wastewater Wed, 31 Aug 2016 06:32:14 +0000
Re: Membrane processing of urine into drinking water - by: KaiMikkel Resource recovery from excreta, faecal sludge or wastewater Fri, 26 Aug 2016 16:25:21 +0000 Re: Membrane processing of urine into drinking water - by: Karoliina Resource recovery from excreta, faecal sludge or wastewater Fri, 26 Aug 2016 12:23:31 +0000 Re: Membrane processing of urine into drinking water - by: muench
Isn't the first sentence funny:
A team of scientists at a Belgian university say they have created a machine that turns urine into drinkable water and fertilizer using solar energy, a technique which could be applied in rural areas and developing countries.

I mean, why do people always assume that their technology would be so easily applicable for developing countries...?
And: why would you bother to make drinking water from urine unless you're in a space shuttle or perhaps on a boat a long way from land?

The article says:
The urine is collected in a big tank, heated in a solar-powered boiler before passing through the membrane where the water is recovered and nutrients such as potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus are separated.

Would be nice if someone could follow up on it and invite the researchers to tell us more about this?

Resource recovery from excreta, faecal sludge or wastewater Fri, 19 Aug 2016 14:24:26 +0000
Membrane processing of urine into drinking water (University of Ghent, Belgium) - by: KaiMikkel

"Belgian scientists create machine to turn urine into drinkable water"

Is anyone familiar with this technology or project?]]>
Resource recovery from excreta, faecal sludge or wastewater Thu, 28 Jul 2016 17:00:17 +0000
Re: Solid substrate fermentation (SSF) for faecal sludge? - by: indiebio
The PhD is in it's final stages, this report from IWA might be useful in the interim:

Our overview only focuses on wastewater, but my future work would be more aimed at the faecal sludge and excreta from various dry toilets.

We are currently only looking at biologically produced products - the biorefinery, but I will be keen to investigate physico-chemical beneficiation as well, specifically employing concentrated solar thermal applications.

This is a huge area so I doubt I'll get round to doing all of it though ]]>
Resource recovery from excreta, faecal sludge or wastewater Wed, 18 May 2016 08:22:30 +0000
Re: Production and Market Demonstration of Fecal Sludge By-Products At Scale (Sanergy, Kenya) - by: medorabrown We're still in the early phases of working out what works best in our context and what government regulators may require from us; whether it's retrofitting pits to hold our containers or whether it's filling in pits and effectively replacing them with FLTs. For more on Sanergy's thinking around CBS, please check out a recent Woods Institute webinar David participated in here:

Resource recovery from excreta, faecal sludge or wastewater Fri, 13 May 2016 06:41:30 +0000
Re: Production and Market Demonstration of Fecal Sludge By-Products At Scale (Sanergy, Kenya) - by: muench black soldier fly larvae (insect-based animal feed) production from human excreta, read on:

I recently saw this in one of Sanergy's recent newsletters:

Preparing to launch PureProtein

We have made significant progress on commercializing our insect-based animal feed operation. First, we’ve developed a brand name – PureProtein – and logo for the product, which emphasizes the consistent quality of the product as compared to substitutes, in addition to the target livestock markets. We’ve also transferred our operations to a new facility in order to scale up production to 1 ton per month, by growing our colony of Black Soldier Flies. We are currently engaging investors to finance the scaling of our operations.

We are working closely with Germany-based Hermetia, from whom we will be receiving our new bio-reactor in the coming months, which will be used to mechanize and optimize the rearing of larvae. Engineers Laura Kimani and Elizabeth Wangari were in Germany for one month to receive training from Hermetia on the new bio-reactor.

In a pilot conducted on chickens in January, our PureProtein animal feed performed comparably to fishmeal-based feeds (currently the main animal-based protein input for feeds), and we can further optimize the formulations used to outperform fishmeal, often called Omena. We continue to receive strong interest from feed millers and farmers in the region, and we look forward to commercializing the product in the next quarter.

Here is the link to their newsletter:

I tried to find out more information on their website but it's not on there (yet). But if you have questions or comments about this, please put them here.

Interesting for me as a German that they've teamed up with a German company for this.

Resource recovery from excreta, faecal sludge or wastewater Tue, 03 May 2016 12:44:46 +0000
Re: Solid substrate fermentation (SSF) for faecal sludge? - by: ddiba I find the biorefinery concept in your work to be interesting though as Elisabeth pointed out, there is need for more work to develop economically viable models for obtaining biofuels and other "high value products" from wastewater.
You mentioned that your PhD involves "doing an overview of resource recovery from wastewater". Is this still ongoing or have you published something out of it yet? I also wonder if this "overview" is focusing only on wastewater or it includes other waste streams like faecal sludge and perhaps excreta from UDDTs and other dry toilet systems. Or is it only focusing on possible byproducts through "biorefinery" processes? I would be interesting in learning more about your work in this area.

Resource recovery from excreta, faecal sludge or wastewater Wed, 27 Apr 2016 09:44:32 +0000
Re: Solid substrate fermentation (SSF) for faecal sludge? - by: indiebio
Thanks so much for your thoughtful and thorough reply.

I am currently writing up my PhD, the thesis is not yet available. I have not done actual work on this, but am currently establishing the required infrastructure and permissions for a small scale study. I hope to pursue this after the PhD. Part of the PhD and wider research project is doing an overview of resource recovery from wastewater, we have one Water Research Commission (WRC) project published, and just finishing up the second one.

You can find the first report here:

I agree that the conventional FS may be too wet, but it may still have potential, and pre-treatment to reduce the moisture, or to make a blend with dry substrates may work (especially in high sunlight, semi-arid places like South Africa, where I am based). But I agree that dry toilets are more promising, generally.

I think biofuels, or any energy vehicle, is still not of high enough value (but of course good for a final 'mopping up' conversion, to be used on site). I am thinking along the lines of industrial enzymes, organic acids, surfactants... because I agree the cost is a problem, and one will require a high-value, (low volume) product to offset that, while stabilising the solids.

The entire system would have to be designed or retrofitted to reduce the impurities and improve the process, yes, and this represents more cost, but modular (smaller) scales of operation may address this better, and yes, again the dry sanitation may be easier here.

It would be best to be able to process this on site, or in close proximity. I have the idea of bringing back the night-soil concept and have processing plants per neighbourhood / around 10 000 ppe, but not sure how viable that is! I do think it's important to explore how this might work in both affluent and poorer areas. The concept of a 'biorefinery' rests on symbiosis between partners situated close to each other.

Lastly, many thanks for the article links, it looks promising!

best regards
Resource recovery from excreta, faecal sludge or wastewater Tue, 26 Apr 2016 12:07:40 +0000
Re: Solid substrate fermentation (SSF) for faecal sludge? - by: muench
Your questions are very interesting, have you progressed this further in the meantime?

You mentioned that your PhD thesis got you onto this topic (you said "faecal sludge beneficiation to commodity products (more valuable than fertiliser or biogas) emerged as a research need from my PhD") - could you post your PhD thesis as well?

And if you want to take conventional faecal sludge as input to solid substrate fermentation, wouldn't that have far too much water in it? Might it work better with dried faeces from urine-diversion dry toilets (UDDTs)?

This research project from a few years ago (title: Biofuels From Digested Sewage Sludge (Washington University, USA)) might have some similarities to your work?:

Or are biofuels not part of the higher value products that you're looking at?
There are a few more mentioned in this sub-category:

I think though that in most cases the production process gets too expensive and you can't recover the costs from selling your "higher value product". Remember that faecal sludge is also full of rubbish and other impurities that you'd first have to remove (this is less of a problem for dried faeces from UDDTs). And then there are the transport costs for the faecal sludge to your processing site, too. Would be hard to make this economically viable?


P.S. there is also this paper if you haven't seen it yet:

A value proposition: Resource recovery from faecal sludge — Can it be the driver for improved sanitation?

Stefan Diener, Swaib Semiyaga, Charles B. Niwagaba, Ashley Murray Muspratt, Jean Birane Gning, Mbaye Mbéguéré, Joseph Effah Ennin, Christian Zurbrugg, Linda Strande]]>
Resource recovery from excreta, faecal sludge or wastewater Tue, 26 Apr 2016 11:48:53 +0000
Solid substrate fermentation (SSF) for faecal sludge, to produce higher value products? - by: indiebio
Solid-state (substrate) fermentation is generally defined as the growth of micro-organisms on (moist) solid material in the absence or near absence of free water.

I have not seen any work on SSF and fecal sludge. The closest thing I found was composted sludge for growing orchids on.

I have not done targeted research on this yet, but faecal sludge beneficiation to commodity products (more valuable than fertiliser or biogas) emerged as a research need from my PhD, and I hope to investigate it further soon.

SSF – solid substrate fermentation or solid state fermentation – originates from fermented foods in the East, an example is the “Koji” fermentation process. SSF has been used in producing biopolymers from swine manure, for example [1].

It is not a commonly used method for industrial biotechnology, because it has poor heat transfer, and is difficult to scale. But it is a cheaper process than liquid fermentation, more suitable to complex materials like faecal sludge, and in my opinion better suited to fungal bioproduction. The main products include industrial enzymes, organic acids, polymers and perhaps packaging material [2, 3].

Two books which introduces the concept:
* Chen H, 2013. Modern Solid State Fermentation: Theory and Practice, Springer. [4]
* Mitchell DA, Krieger N, Berovic M (Eds.), 2006. Solid-State Fermentation Bioreactors: Fundamentals of Design and Operation, Springer. [5]

[1] –
[2] –
[3] –
[4] –
[5] –]]>
Resource recovery from excreta, faecal sludge or wastewater Fri, 18 Mar 2016 07:17:14 +0000
Re: Production and Market Demonstration of Fecal Sludge By-Products At Scale (Sanergy, Kenya) - by: arno Thanks for the explanations. Looks like good progress on all fronts. What sort of conceptual design is Sanergy considering regarding upgrading pit latrines so they can be connected to your composting stations. This if found efficient could become a breakthrough for faecal sludge management and reuse. Are you thinking about urine diversion and relatively dry pit latrines? Shallow design allowing for easier and more frequent emptying? Fee structure similar to the present ecosan toilets? What about using the Fossa alterna model which will allow composting in situ.

Best wishes]]>
Resource recovery from excreta, faecal sludge or wastewater Thu, 17 Mar 2016 08:44:12 +0000
Re: Production and Market Demonstration of Fecal Sludge By-Products At Scale (Sanergy, Kenya) - by: medorabrown Thanks for your questions. We’ve responded inline below.

Medora Brown
Sanergy Communications Manager

What is the potential for the Sanergy model to tackle large-scale slums like Kibera?
The Sanergy model has great potential to tackle large-scale slums around the world. The success of our model does rely on achieving a certain density of toilets in order to make waste collection as efficient as possible. With our multiple distribution models, we are working both to achieve maximum coverage in the areas we currently serve and to prove the viability and applicability of a variety of different service models that could work in diverse environments.

Can the franchises be integrated with solid waste collection? How is drinking water being managed - linkages there?
Currently our waste collection team visits every Fresh Life Toilet on a regular basis (mostly daily) to safely and professionally remove both the solid and liquid waste from each toilet and from the community completely. As our toilets are waterless, we don’t manage the distribution or removal/treatment of water. We are exploring ways to convert pit latrines, so that they are more hygienic for users and their waste can also be managed by our collection process.

Are the franchise's subsidized even indirectly in anyway? Or can these businesses stay afloat on their own? Transportation seems to always be the major challenge to centralized sites for processing. Are the treatment and storage sites also being franchised?
Some of our school toilets have been subsidized through partnerships with a variety of NGOs and other organizations. Our commercial toilets, however, are stand-alone businesses that stay afloat on their own. All our Fresh Life Operators can access interest-free loans through our partnership with Kiva.

Our central collection points and treatment and storage sites are not franchised; we own all of them outright. We are, however, piloting mobile waste transfer stations and other ways to increase the efficiency and reduce the cost of our collections process.

Saw from Laura Kimani's presentation dated Jan 2015 the slide on "Nitrogen fertilizer from urine". How are you using/transforming urine into a fertilizer? Nitrification? Losses?
In collaboration with EAWAG, we’ve been piloting ways to valorize our urine and the effluent from our biogas for liquid fertilizer. The primary process we’ve been working to develop is nitrification.

The management and logistics surrounding urine are very different compared to dry faecal material. The volume for urine is so much larger (at least 10-fold). Are urinals being promoted? What about franchising vegetable farms using urine where it is being produced following the standard WHO storage requirement?
We are exploring the development of urinals and other ways to collect more urine. As mentioned above, however, our urine valorization processes are still being developed, so the large-scale collection and processing of urine is still a bit down the road.]]>
Resource recovery from excreta, faecal sludge or wastewater Mon, 07 Mar 2016 06:10:52 +0000