The EU is currently relying on phosphorous ore imports and the energy intensive production of ammonia to produce necessary fertilizers. These fertilizers are needed in agriculture to ensure sufficient food production. Urine on the other hand contributes to about 80% of the nitrogen load and 50% of the phosphorous load of conventional domestic wastewater. The challenge proposed in this project is to efficiently recover phosphorus and nitrogen from urine in a way that requires a limited investment of energy.
For this we propose the development of a technology that will treat urine before it mixes with the rest of the wastewater. The recovery of nitrogen and phosphorus is driven by a bio-electrochemical system.
This approach allows the recovery of valuable nutrients (ammonia and phosphate) from an overlooked source with a high energy efficiency.