dws-wetsus-urine-pilot-container-525pxWater board Friesland asked its 260 male employees to use a special urinal that is connected to a container next to the office building. The container houses a pilot installation for bio-electrochemical treatment of the urine, recovering phosphate and ammonia and producing electricity. The test setup was officially opened on 27 April, preceded by the promotion ceremony of Wetsus researcher Philipp Kuntke who defended his thesis: Nutrient and energy recovery from urine. The pilot is conducted by Wetsus research centre for water technology and is part of the ValueFromUrine project funded by the European Union.

Recovery under real-time conditions
Wetsus successfully developed the innovative treatment technology on lab scale and now up scaled the treatment for real-time recovery. The first step is the removal of the phosphate, followed by a bio-electrochemical treatment that is based on the principle that biological oxidation of organics in urine at a bio-and drives the transport of ammonium through a membrane.

This allows the recovery of ammonia in the cathode chamber, where a production of alkaline compounds also takes place.

Traditional P-removal techniques for waste water treatment consume energy. In this case Wetsus is able to produce energy by using a microbial fuel cell.

The test setup delivers electricity to the electrical cars of the water board to drive upto 50 km daily.


Expertise on bio-electrochemical water treatment
Currently four PhD students of Wetsus are working on bio-electrochemical systems (BWS), and 4 PhD projects have been finished. These projects focused on hydrogen production in Microbial Electrolysis Cells, and electricity production in Microbial Fuel Cells and thus represent a great expertise for the success of the project described in this proposal.

Wetsus research in BES technology let to 8 patents in this field.

About ValuefromUrine
ValuefromUrine is a collaborative research project of Wetsus (NL), Centre de Rescherche Public Henri Tudor (LU), Universidade do Minho (PT), Magneto special anodes (NL), DeSaH (NL), MAST Carbon International (UK) and Abengoa Water (ES).

The ValuefromUrine project will develop, demonstrate and evaluate an energy-efficient system for the recovery of nutrients from urine.

About Wetsus
Wetsus, centre of excellence for sustainable water technology is a facilitating intermediary for trend-setting know-how development. Wetsus creates a unique environment and strategic cooperation for development of profitable and sustainable state of the art water treatment technology.

Wetsus collaborates with 16 EU knowledge institutes and 89 companies worldwide. The institute carries out multidisciplinary research performed by 50 PhD students that are mostly located in the Wetsus laboratories in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands.


This news item was originally published on the website of Wetsus

More information
Wetsus, centre of excellence for sustainable water technology
Leeuwarden, the Netherlands
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