Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Human Waste to A Nitrogen Fertilizer Use

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Pollution, Sustainability, Global Change, Climate Change

Ed Hessler

Below is the introduction to a great video (8m 35s) on waste water and how it, to get specific, urine, can become a recyclable resource, one that is extraordinarily valuable to all of us, worldwide. Liquid gold indeed!

"Each year, farmers must produce a staggering amount of food to meet the demand of a rising global population. Ammonia is a critical ingredient in the fertilizers that enable farmers to grow the enormous amount of food that’s needed to feed the world’s 8 billion people. But the factories that manufacture the ammonia used in fertilizers are a major source of planet-warming carbon dioxide. Will Tarpeh, a chemical engineer at Stanford University, is developing a groundbreaking technology to tap into an unlikely new source of nitrogen for fertilizer: ammonia contained in human waste."

The film focuses on the link between waste water and sanitation, especially in Africa. Looking ahead I can imagine research by scientists and engineers into ammonia recovery here and elsewhere on complex wastewater systems. I especially appreciated Dr. Tarpeh's remarks on growing up curious about how nature works and where it has led. The video also provides another take on scientific and engineering careers.

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