480659 Solar and UV Treatment of Human Waste to Yield NPK Plant Fertilizer

Monday, November 14, 2016
Grand Ballroom B (Hilton San Francisco Union Square)
John Goetze, School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering, Oregon State University, West Linn, OR and Nick AuYeung, School of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR

Various methods of removal of unwanted substances in human urine as applied to agriculture are examined. The current production processes of nitrogen and potassium for crop fertilizers are notably environmentally taxing. Phosphorus is primarily obtained through mining and will eventually run out. Human urine is abundant, renewable, and contains high concentrations of urea, phosphate, and potassium, all of which are excellent plant fertilizers. Human urine often contains pathogens, particularly if stored for long periods, as well as pharmaceuticals and their metabolites. This investigation covers various methods to degrade pathogens and large organic molecules in urine while maintaining high concentrations of fertilizer compounds. Methods include high temperature and pressure treatments, UV exposure, UV exposure with a TiO2 catalyst, and absorption into activated carbon. 

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