The award is made under the aegis of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences “td-net for Transdisciplinary Research”, in recognition of the project managers’ commitment to transdisciplinarity: as well as integrating environmental, engineering and social scientific research, they sought the cooperation of non-academic partners at an early stage.
The basic idea is simple: urine accounts for only 1% of the total volume of wastewater, but it contains up to 80% of all the nutrients. If it is processed separately, wastewater treatment plants can be reduced in size, water protection can be improved, and nutrients can be recycled. Separate treatment of wastewater streams thus opens up new possibilities, and there are many reasons for adopting urine source separation (“NoMix”) technology on a large scale. This applies in particular to emerging countries such as China, where sewerage and wastewater treatment facilities cannot keep up with the rapid pace of urbanization, and water pollution arising from domestic wastewater has reached devastating levels.
While the Eawag researchers’ approach may sound straightforward, there is no guarantee that it can be implemented in practice: infrastructure that is already in place cannot be transformed overnight; the new toilets still have some defects – pipes may be blocked by urine scale; the sanitary industry as yet sees little commercial potential in the NoMix technology, and the fertilizer produced from urine cannot yet compete with low-cost artificial products. So obstacles remain to be overcome. The prize money from the award is therefore to be used to support further research: if urine is to be treated with the aid of decentralized systems, and nutrients are to recovered in a concentrated form for recycling, what options offer the best prospects of implementation and the lowest environmental impact? For Tove Larsen, who received the award, together with Judit Lienert, at the 2008 Transdisciplinary Conference in Zurich, it is quite clear: “It’s standard practice for garden waste to be separately collected. So surely it should also be possible one day for the six kilograms of concentrated phosphorus produced each year by a family of four to be separately processed.”
Once again, the research will involve a transdisciplinary process. According to co-project manager Judit Lienert, this is one of the pillars on which Eawag’s work has always rested: “Problems can only be solved with the involvement of all stakeholders. That includes authorities, engineering consultants, and industrial partners, as well as consumers.”
Innovation Award of the United Nations Environment Programme for PhD Student from ZMT
22.03.2018 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Marine Tropenforschung (ZMT)
ERC Project set to boost application of adhesive structures
19.03.2018 | INM - Leibniz-Institut für Neue Materialien gGmbH
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
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At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
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