Development of a tool to synthesise and communicate knowledge on resource recovery

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  • jrmcconville
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  • 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.
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Development of a tool to synthesise and communicate knowledge on resource recovery

I would like to solicit some input from this group of knowledgeable people. We are a group of Swedish researchers who are trying to synthesise and communicate knowledge on resource recovery.
We are designing a tool that will:
- Map peer-reviewed English language research on nutrient recovery and reuse (i.e. systematic map)
- Develop an online evidence platform to help users navigate relevant scientific papers with ease.
 
At this stage, we are seeking input regarding:
- What types of scientific research to include?
- What search terms to use to find relevant research?
- What is the best way to categorise and present the relevant research?

You can provide input to the design of the tool here: https://forms.office.com/r/L7QfNgFbbe
Dr. Jennifer McConville
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Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Department of Energy and Technology
Environmental Engineering
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  • Elisabeth
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Re: Development of a tool to synthesise and communicate knowledge on resource recovery

Hi Jennifer,
I just filled in your form. Interesting project! You said "who are trying to synthesise and communicate knowledge on resource recovery". Who are you trying to communicate this knowledge to, i.e. who is your target audience?*

Also, how is this work funded and will the website tool be maintained over time?

I hope you'll include a lot of studies that include information about costs of nutrient recovery systems (which is usually not included in any of the lab studies; you might dig more into the grey literature or reports by consultants for this).

Is your work only looking at nutrient recovery or also recovery of energy, water and organic matter? (might be easier to keep it narrow and only look at the nutrient recovery aspect; it's just that the title of your thread is "resource recovery" in general)

Regards,
Elisabeth

* If your target audience is the general public then please include editing the relevant Wikipedia articles in your project budget as well, i.e.:
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  • rharder
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Re: Development of a tool to synthesise and communicate knowledge on resource recovery

Hi Elisabeth,

Thank you for your interest in our project. The project ( www.endofwastewater.net ) is funded by the Kamprad Family Foundation. Initially, the idea was to (i) synthesise existing knowledge from research and practice, and (ii) to target the general public with an outreach campaign. However, we only got funding for part (i). So, realistically, the target audience are mostly researchers. Hopefully the tool will also  be useful for municipalities and other actors in the field of wastewater/human excreta management. We do also have a minor sum in the budget earmarked for communication later in the project. The wiki suggestion is certainly something we should look into.

As for the website tool ( www.egestabase.net ) - the idea is to attract continued funding to keep it running and up-to-date even after the initial project life cycle.

Also, you are certainly right that considering resource recovery beyond nutrients would be too broad for our project. To start with, we will indeed focus on nutrients. Depending on how that goes, we might extend to organic matter (for non-energy purposes). Energy and water is less of a priority for us. As for the types of literature, we will start with the scientific literature, and in a next iteration will dig into the grey literature.

Thank you again for your suggestions and questions.

Regards,
Robin
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  • paresh
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  • Budding WASH researcher, especially interested in governance, public policy, finance, politics and social justice. Architect, Urban & Regional planner by training, Ex. C-WAS, India. I am a patient person :)
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Re: Development of a tool to synthesise and communicate knowledge on resource recovery

Have you already decided on the keywords to be used for search and the type of literature you would include?  looks like the form has been closed for comments; thankfully, I can provide inputs here.

If resources and time permit, I'd suggest include resource recovery from solid waste in the project. For a very long, the sub-sectors within WASH have worked in silos despite practitioners and researchers across board being aware of the possible synergies and benefits of integrated planning. In most developing countries, both SWM and wastewater management continue to be a challenge; an integrated planning process can also save money and save them from reinventing the wheel. 

Robin's post and and the description on your website make it clear that the focus is on recovery of nutrients for agriculture. That rules out arranging literature according to end-products (post treatment).  The other way I can imagine organising the literature is by the products of the sanitation service chain- urine, faecal sludge, sewage, brown water, yellow water, etc. The Compendium of sanitation technologies by Sandec provides a comprehensive list of products. This could be useful as a researcher/practitioner interested in resource recovery from a particular product (say faecal sludge) would not need to filter through literature related to other products. 

Such an arrangement however will not be able to include literature on perspectives of farmers, farm workers, consumers about use of  products derived from human waste and agricultural products grown using human waste products. I don't recall the exact paper, but the argument is that while farm owners are happy to use treated human waste, labours are unwilling to work with it. May be user perspectives could be another category to arrange literature.

Regards
paresh
Paresh Chhajed-Picha
Researcher at Indian Institute of Technology - Bombay, India
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  • rharder
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Re: Development of a tool to synthesise and communicate knowledge on resource recovery

Dear Paresh,
I am about to updating the search based on the survey the coming week. So your thoughtful and most welcome suggestion were still in time. The importance of emphasizing user perception has also been emphasized in the survey results, so we will try to extend the search in this direction. Going broader than nutrient recovery would ultimately be desirable but given our limited resources, for now, we'll have to focus on nutrient recovery.
Best regards and thank you again for your feedback.
Robin
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