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Membrane distillation and blackwater
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Energy and nutrient local food production (ENSYM)

Published: 18 February 2022

ENSYM is a project focused in the heat and mass transfer in the concentration of blackwater for production of a sustainable urban fertilizer.

Did you know that many of the nutrients in the food that we consume end up in wastewater? Nutrients in wastewaterare considered as a problem, but for us they are an opportunity!

The overall aim of this project is to recover all nutrients from wastewater, safely and efficiently to create a fertilizer product for agriculture. Nowadays just some of the phosphorus is recovered for agriculture purposes, while nitrogen and potassium depend fully on a linear economy. This implies the exploitation of nonrenewable sources, great amounts of energy, and waste. While urban wastewater contains the bulk of nutrients. In Sweden, we can find 84% of nitrogen and 77% of phosphorus in food production in wastewater. That is a problem because it can cause eutrophication in water bodies, if not managed properly.

The main objective of this project is to investigate the potential of membrane distillation to concentrate a wastewater fraction originating from the toilets (black water). This fraction contains most of the nutrients found in the wastewater. In this study, the blackwater has priorly been anaerobically treated to produce biogas. To concentrate the nutrients in the reject water from the biogas reactor, membrane distillation will be used. Membrane distillation is a technology used for water desalinization, and is more energy-efficient than e.g. reverse osmosis One reason for that is that membrane distillation can be operated with waste heat from for instance data centers. At the same time as the nutrients are concentrated in the membrane distillation process, pure water is coming out as a by-product!

To understand the industrial application and the symbiosis between the society and industries, an energy optimization model for the heat and mass transfer of this process is developed. This model will be supported by lab-scale experiments provided by Circular Water Technologies.

That’s how water Energy, Nutrient and SYMbiosis for local production is going to be developed!

 

This Creaternity project is cooperation carried out by researchers from the research groups Urban water engineering and Control engineering at LTU.

Contact

Andreas Johansson

Andreas Johansson, Professor

Phone: +46 (0)920 492334
Organisation: Control Engineering, Signals and Systems, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering
Stephanie Rusch Fehrmann

Stephanie Rusch Fehrmann, PhD Student

Phone: +46 (0)920 491749
Organisation: Urban Water Engineering, Architecture and Water, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering
Annelie Hedström

Annelie Hedström, Professor

Phone: +46 (0)920 492309
Organisation: Urban Water Engineering, Architecture and Water, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering
Elisabeth Kvarnström

Elisabeth Kvarnström, Adjunct Professor

Organisation: Urban Water Engineering, Architecture and Water, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering
Inga Herrmann

Inga Herrmann, Associate Professor

Phone: +46 (0)920 492528
Organisation: Urban Water Engineering, Architecture and Water, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering