Urine concentration (building a network of actors working with urine concentration)

2061 views

  • jrmcconville
  • jrmcconville's Avatar
    Topic Author
  • I have a background in environmental engineering and planning with a focus on sanitation and wastewater management. My research focuses on resource recovery using concepts of sustainability, life-cycle thinking, participation, serious gaming and decision-support frameworks to better understand and shape planning processes.
  • Posts: 7
  • Likes received: 5

Urine concentration (building a network of actors working with urine concentration)

There are a number of technologies that are being tested at pilot scales for concentrating urine into fertilizer products. The concept of urine concentration is to remove the large volumes of water in urine to create a fertilizer product that has similar nutrient concentrations was commercial fertilizers. The advantage of urine concentration is that it makes transportation and storage of urine products easier as the volumes can be significantly reduced, as well as making it a more attractive fertilizer for agriculture use.

As many of these technologies are still developing, there can be many opportunities for learning and sharing experiences. By learning from each other we can increase knowledge diffusion, improve the technologies and hopefully increase the recovery of resources from urine.

Is there interest in this community for building a network of actors working with urine concentration? I have started a LinkedIn group that can be a discussion and networking platform (Urine Concentration @ LinkedIn) – welcome to join!

We can also continue the conversation on this Forum thread. Welcome to share your experience and knowledge related to urine concentration.
Dr. Jennifer McConville
Associate Professor

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Department of Energy and Technology
Environmental Engineering
Box 7032, SE-750 07 UPPSALA
Telephone: +46 18-672 816
Mobile: +46 76 783 7084
Skype: jrmcconville
Blogg: blogg.slu.se/kretsloppsteknik/
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The following user(s) like this post: canaday, Jsenecal, Robert74
You need to login to reply
  • Jsenecal
  • Jsenecal's Avatar
  • Bioresource engineer with PhD in Safe Nutrient Recovery from Human Urine – System and Hygiene Evaluation. Now working on the commercialization of the alkaline urine drying technology.
  • Posts: 15
  • Likes received: 9

Re: Urine concentration (building a network of actors working with urine concentration)

Thanks for starting this Jennifer! To share some exciting news about urine concentration, we (at the Swedish University of Agricultural Science) have used dried urine in a seed driller. We stabilized and dried urine into a powder (7.2% nitrogen) and planted barley seeds with the dried urine directly.  The barley will be used to produce beer. This is part of a three year project in Sweden with the aim to customize the dried urine fertilizer for barley production.
_____________________________________
Jenna Senecal, PhD.
Environmental Engineering Grp.
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Research: blogg.slu.se/kretsloppsteknik/
Company: sanitation360.se
Attachments:
You need to login to reply
  • Wolase
  • Posts: 3
  • Likes received: 0

Re: Urine concentration (building a network of actors working with urine concentration)

Thanks for this initiative. I'm interested by the topic. 
You need to login to reply
  • Heiner
  • Heiner's Avatar
  • I am a retired organic farmer and interested in nutrient cycles. As an volunteer I now travel mainly to poor countries and together with locals I would like to find new ways of sustainable agriculture. This is beyond the regulations of IFOAM.
  • Posts: 69
  • Karma: 1
  • Likes received: 56

Re: Urine concentration (building a network of actors working with urine concentration)

Hi Jenna,

just a short question. What kind of nitrogen (solubility) is in your dried fertilizer: urea, ammonium or nitrate? 
I grew barley myself and to receive a good quality (low protein content!) it was quite important to have a quick starter. If the plants get the nitrogen in a late phase we had too much protein and the brewery was not really keen for the barley.

Cheers,
Heiner
Heiner, the old farmer.....
The following user(s) like this post: Jsenecal
You need to login to reply
  • Jsenecal
  • Jsenecal's Avatar
  • Bioresource engineer with PhD in Safe Nutrient Recovery from Human Urine – System and Hygiene Evaluation. Now working on the commercialization of the alkaline urine drying technology.
  • Posts: 15
  • Likes received: 9

Re: Urine concentration (building a network of actors working with urine concentration)

Hi Heiner, thanks for the question. Majority of the nitrogen is in the form of urea. But how soluble/accessible it is, I do not know at the moment. It is something that we will be analyzing in the coming months in preparation of next year's fertilizer batch. Curious, do you remember how much nitrogen you applied and how often? It was recommended to use 150 kg N/ha, but we have started 100 kg/ha.

Cheers,
Jenna 
_____________________________________
Jenna Senecal, PhD.
Environmental Engineering Grp.
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Research: blogg.slu.se/kretsloppsteknik/
Company: sanitation360.se
You need to login to reply
  • Heiner
  • Heiner's Avatar
  • I am a retired organic farmer and interested in nutrient cycles. As an volunteer I now travel mainly to poor countries and together with locals I would like to find new ways of sustainable agriculture. This is beyond the regulations of IFOAM.
  • Posts: 69
  • Karma: 1
  • Likes received: 56

Re: Urine concentration (building a network of actors working with urine concentration)

Hi Jenna,

it all depends.......

but let's start to calculate: if you expect a harvest of 4 t per hectare and your barley has 12% total Protein then you will export 77 kg N/ ha (16% N in Protein). There is always a little loss (some is fixed to humus, some goes in the air, some in the groundwater. Depending on temperature an rainfall).
So 100 kg is enough, 150 kg by far too much!
But.... if the majority is in form of urea it becomes complicated. The temperature in the soil and the availability of water is essential to activity of the bacteria to transform urea to ammonia and ammonia to nitrate. And barley needs mainly nitrate. So this process takes time and the barley will lack nitrogen in the beginning and get a goof shot at the end.  UNluckywise this means a high content of Protein (12-13%??) what the breweries usually dislike very much. The maximum my  breweries accepted was 11%.
But perhaps in your case there are different standards. If I remember right (years back....) the main reason for the wanted low content of protein was the wanted long durability.
If you drink it very fast and itdoesn't become old, it might be fine.

So give it a go and drink as fast as you can! You swedish guys are known for this behavior anyway ;-) ;-) ;-)

skol! Heiner
Heiner, the old farmer.....
The following user(s) like this post: Jsenecal
You need to login to reply
  • Jsenecal
  • Jsenecal's Avatar
  • Bioresource engineer with PhD in Safe Nutrient Recovery from Human Urine – System and Hygiene Evaluation. Now working on the commercialization of the alkaline urine drying technology.
  • Posts: 15
  • Likes received: 9

Re: Urine concentration (building a network of actors working with urine concentration)

Haha brilliant - thanks! I will double-check with our local brewer on project about what their acceptable protein range is. I guess we could add compost with the fertilizer at the beginning of the planting season to accelerate the conversion of urea to ammonia. Getting even more excited about sharing our results from the coming harvest (:

Skol!
Jenna 
_____________________________________
Jenna Senecal, PhD.
Environmental Engineering Grp.
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Research: blogg.slu.se/kretsloppsteknik/
Company: sanitation360.se
You need to login to reply
  • Jsenecal
  • Jsenecal's Avatar
  • Bioresource engineer with PhD in Safe Nutrient Recovery from Human Urine – System and Hygiene Evaluation. Now working on the commercialization of the alkaline urine drying technology.
  • Posts: 15
  • Likes received: 9

Re: Urine concentration (building a network of actors working with urine concentration)

Hi again,

The acceptable protein range from the brewer we're working with is 9,5-11,5%. So let's see how we fair!

Curious, do you (or anyone else) know of a place that can malt barley in small batches (10-30 kg)? The places I am connecting with work with 1-4 ton batches. We're not there yet.

Cheers,
Jenna 
_____________________________________
Jenna Senecal, PhD.
Environmental Engineering Grp.
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Research: blogg.slu.se/kretsloppsteknik/
Company: sanitation360.se
You need to login to reply
  • Heiner
  • Heiner's Avatar
  • I am a retired organic farmer and interested in nutrient cycles. As an volunteer I now travel mainly to poor countries and together with locals I would like to find new ways of sustainable agriculture. This is beyond the regulations of IFOAM.
  • Posts: 69
  • Karma: 1
  • Likes received: 56

Re: Urine concentration (building a network of actors working with urine concentration)

You would send your barley to Germany then??
Because I can only ask here, I know nothing and nobody in sweden.....
But if you want, I know a guy here who should know everything about small scale testing laboratories.

Heiner 
Heiner, the old farmer.....
The following user(s) like this post: Jsenecal
You need to login to reply
  • Jsenecal
  • Jsenecal's Avatar
  • Bioresource engineer with PhD in Safe Nutrient Recovery from Human Urine – System and Hygiene Evaluation. Now working on the commercialization of the alkaline urine drying technology.
  • Posts: 15
  • Likes received: 9

Re: Urine concentration (building a network of actors working with urine concentration)

Yes, willing to ship! Thanks for your connections (:
_____________________________________
Jenna Senecal, PhD.
Environmental Engineering Grp.
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Research: blogg.slu.se/kretsloppsteknik/
Company: sanitation360.se
You need to login to reply
  • Elisabeth
  • Elisabeth's Avatar
  • I'm passionate about SuSanA's role in the WASH sector since about 2005. I'm a freelance consultant since 2012 (former roles: program manager, lecturer, process engineer for wastewater treatment plants)
  • Posts: 3286
  • Karma: 54
  • Likes received: 892

Re: Urine concentration (building a network of actors working with urine concentration)

Hi Jennifer,

This sounds very interesting. You wrote:

Is there interest in this community for building a network of actors working with urine concentration? I have started a LinkedIn group that can be a discussion and networking platform (Urine Concentration @ LinkedIn) – welcome to join!
We can also continue the conversation on this Forum thread. 

I am always interested how people use different platforms for communication and networking. Therefore my question: what do you perceive as the benefits of a new LinkedIn group compared to using this forum? E.g. is the LinkedIn group easier to use on a mobile phone? Or is it advantageous for those posts that people don't want to be "out in the open"? I am curious. I hope your group goes well and that you continue to also share / cross-post to here.

And one more question: I noticed you placed this thread under the sub-category "urine reuse". Doesn't it fit better in the sub-category on "urine treatment" as urine concentration is a form of treatment? I mean this sub-category:  forum.susana.org/urine-treatment
(although I did notice that that one is under "toilets with urine diversion"; perhaps that's not ideal because it's too limiting? I could move that sub-category to be within this one " Treatment of wastewater, sludges, organic waste, excreta ")

Regards,
Elisabeth
Head moderator of this Discussion Forum
(with financial support by GIZ)

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant located in Brisbane, Australia
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Twitter: @EvMuench
Founder of WikiProject Sanitation: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Sanitation
My Wikipedia user profile: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:EMsmile
You need to login to reply
  • Jsenecal
  • Jsenecal's Avatar
  • Bioresource engineer with PhD in Safe Nutrient Recovery from Human Urine – System and Hygiene Evaluation. Now working on the commercialization of the alkaline urine drying technology.
  • Posts: 15
  • Likes received: 9

Re: Urine concentration (building a network of actors working with urine concentration)

Hi Elisabeth,

Thanks for your questions. Jennifer is currently on vacation, so I will share my thoughts:
1- I see SuSanA and LinkedIn playing different roles. On this forum we have discussions with people who are often deep into the subject matter and I use this forum as a network for finding out information or support, which has been super useful. While on LinkedIn, I mostly use it for sharing quick up-dates about the progress of a project -> where outreach includes people who don't necessarily know about the needs and benefits of improved sanitation. LinkedIn has helped our company gain interesting leads. And yes LinkedIn is easier to make quick posts. With SuSanA, there is slightly more navigation to do and more to think about when making a post (such as is this in the ideal/correct category).

2- About the location of this thread - it is difficult as I think there will be discussions around the technology and the reuse.

Hope this helps.
Cheers,
Jenna
_____________________________________
Jenna Senecal, PhD.
Environmental Engineering Grp.
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Research: blogg.slu.se/kretsloppsteknik/
Company: sanitation360.se
You need to login to reply
Share this thread:
Recently active users. Who else has been active?
Time to create page: 0.299 seconds