Innovation Anthology

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Program ID: Innovation Anthology #860
Program Date: 04/11/2017
Program Category: Alberta, Engineering, Health and Medicine, Water

Dr Nicholas Ashbolt 2017: Blackwater Energy and Nutrient Recovery

Dr. Nicholas Ashbolt holds the Alberta Innovates Translational  Health Chair in Water  at the University of Alberta.

His research indicates there would be great benefits to the economy, public health and the environment if we were to adopt a vacuum flush sewer system.

This would allow for the separation of greywater and blackwater, and also the recovery of imbedded energy from the residual waste.

DR NICHOLAS ASHBOLT:  We can then recover the energy from that blackwater.   If we connect it to the kitchens, for example, the food residuals, it is a far more efficient way of recovering the embedded energy in that food and fecal residual whichcan supply more than total amount of energy used to treat all drinking and waste water services in a community.   And it even gets better, that the energy residual, after we've stripped out the energy in the form of methane, we're left with ammonium and phosphorus   We can actually precipitate those because they're at a higher concentration and produce a fertilizer and turn those nutrients back out to agriculture where they came from in the first place. 

Dr Ashbolt says blackwater refers to  toilet and kitchen waste.  Greywater is all the other household water .


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