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Electrochemical Nutrient Recovery for Enhancing Agricultural Circularity

  • 1 June, 2023
  • Wageningen University, Environmental Technology
  • prof.dr.ir. H.V.M. Hamelers

Agricultural productivity depends on N, P, and K fertilizers. Production of these fertilizers requires massive amounts of raw materials and fossil fuels. After food consumption, the fertilizers end up in organic waste streams, requiring treatment using additional energy and chemicals. Therefore, our linear use of fertilizers leads to the depletion of critical resources and contributes to extensive environmental damage like eutrophication and climate change. Producing fertilizers from food-associated and source separation based waste(water) is of great benefit for society as nutrients for agriculture get recycled, which leads to fewer resources depletion and prevention of environmental damage. Electrochemical systems are exceptionally well suited for producing these circular fertilizers as renewable electricity can be used, and no chemicals are needed. In this project, we will explore the future potential of electrochemical separation technologies to produce novel and valuable fertilizers like NH4NO3 and K rich streams of high purity. Next to this, we want to reduce the occurrence of unwanted mineral precipitation (scaling) inside the electrochemical separation system. Therefore, we will investigate possible integrated solutions for chemical-free scaling mitigation. A model will be developed describing the relation between the wastewater composition and the performance of the electrochemical separation system, which is crucial for integration with other conventional waste(water) treatment.

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Widya Iswarani

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