NPHarvest tests and their legacy
NPHarvest was among the first pilot projects to launch with nutrient recovery from digested black water that originates from the new living area. NPHarvest also assessed its life-cycle costs and end-product quality during the testing period in 2021. In the NPHarvest process, developed by researchers from Aalto University, phosphorus is collected through coagulation while a membrane is used to separate nitrogen, resulting in end products that can be used as fertilizer. NPHarvest can be applied to various circumstances and adapted on a case-by-case basis. So far, the process has been tested with separately collected urine, reject waters from a municipal sewage digestion process and a biogas plant, leachate from a landfill and percolation liquid from an agricultural dry digestion system.
The tests in Recolab were a great leap forward for NPHarvest. Not only was the life cycle assessed but also the process was scaled up successfully. Between Recolab tests and now we have finished the first stint of academic activities and I have finished my dissertation: it is time to produce something useful to the society with the results that we have published. When moving towards commercial activities, the scale up is a critical aspect since the clients that the new company will serve require much greater treatment capacity, along with cost efficiency and operational performance.
’Cost efficiency has been a lodestar for the development of the process along with reliability and adaptability. Economics tend to have a major impact on decisions,’ notes Professor of Practice Anna Mikola, who has been guiding the project since its initial phases.
The next steps we need to take with investors and clients. If you are looking for a solution for nutrient recovery from liquid waste streams, contact me!
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Juho Uzkurt Kaljunen, DSc (Tech)