Urine volume reduction with a biomimetric membrane.

Intresserad av att göra examensarbete tillsammans med Sweden Water Research?

The urban population is an important point source of recycled crop nutrients in a sustainable and resilient society. In conventional wastewater treatment plants with enhanced nutrient removal more than 95% of the phosphorus ends up in the wastewater sludge, while, e.g., only 25% of the nitrogen is bound to the sludge. The availability of the phosphorus in the sludge is, however, questionable, and sludge spreading on farmland is also under debate due to the content of micropollutants. Moreover, the amount of reactive nitrogen in the environment is exceeding the earth’s planetary boundaries causing eutrophication, acidification, ozone destruction and global warming. There is a need for close and shorten the urban nitrogen cycle loop. Urine contains most of the crop nutrients in the toilet waste (e.g. 80 % of the nitrogen). Urine has also a very low cadmium content and is easily and quickly sanitised. In large cities, there is a need of volume reduction of urine to decrease the storage volume. In previous studies energy-demanding methods like electrodialysis, reverse osmosis, freeze/thaw concentration and distillation has been tested to separate water and dissolved compounds. Forward osmosis with a biomimetric membrane with embedded aquaporins with the aim of decrease the water content in a urine solution has not been studied before.

The aim is to study the volume reduction efficiency of the biomimetric membrane with embedded aquaporins on fresh and stored urine, as well as of nitrified urine. The fugitive nitrogen losses will also be measured.

A lab-scale reactor with a biomimetric membrane from Aquaporin A/S will be used. The high-osmolarity draw solution will be seawater from the Öresund strait. Urine will be collected from Östratornskolan in Lund. The nitrogen contents of the different substrates and products will be analysed. A continuous stirred tank reactor for nitrifying urine will also be set up in the laboratory.

Associate professor Karin Jönsson, Lund University

Supervisors: David Gustavsson, VA SYD and Sweden Water Research AB, Jes la Cour Jansen, Lund University, and Claus Hélix-Nielsen, Aquaporin A/S

Time period
January 2015 – May 2015 (or sooner)

Send an e-mail with a few words about you, your educational background and why you are interested in this master’s thesis project to david.gustavsson@vasyd.se or jes.la_cour_jansen@vateknik.lth.se