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Nitrogen Recovery from Human Urine by Membrane Processes

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This dissertation investigated the use of membrane processes to selectively separate and concentrate nitrogen in human urine. The targeted nitrogen species to be recovered were urea from fresh human urine and unionized ammonia from hydrolyzed human urine. Chapter 1 investigated

This dissertation investigated the use of membrane processes to selectively separate and concentrate nitrogen in human urine. The targeted nitrogen species to be recovered were urea from fresh human urine and unionized ammonia from hydrolyzed human urine. Chapter 1 investigated a novel two-step process of forward osmosis (FO) and membrane distillation (MD) to recover the urea in fresh human urine. Specifically, FO was used to selectively separate urea from the other components in urine and MD was used to concentrate the separated urea. The combined process was able to produce a product solution that had an average urea concentration that is 45–68% of the urea concentration found in the fresh urine with greater than 90% rejection of total organic carbon (TOC).Chapter 2 determined the transport behavior of low molecular weight neutral nitrogen compounds in order to maximize ammonia recovery from real hydrolyzed human urine by FO. Novel strategic pH manipulation between the feed and the draw solution allowed for up to 86% recovery of ammonia by keeping the draw solution pH <6.5 and the feed solution pH >11. An economic analysis showed that ammonia recovery by FO has the potential to be much more economically favorable compared to ammonia air stripping or ion exchange if the proper draw solute is chosen.
Chapter 3 investigated the dead-end rejection of urea in fresh urine at varying pH and the rejection of unionized ammonia and the ammonium ion in hydrolyzed urine by reverse osmosis (RO), nanofiltration (NF), and microfiltration (MF). When these different membrane separation processes were compared, NF is found to be a promising technology to recover up to 90% of ammonia from hydrolyzed urine with a high rejection of salts and organics.
Chapter 4 investigated the use of the RO and NF to recover ammonia from hydrolyzed human urine in a cross-flow system where both rejection and fouling experiments were performed. For both RO and NF, ammonia rejection was found to be 0% while still achieving high rejection of TOC and salts, and MF pretreatment greatly reduced the extent of fouling on the membrane surface.

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Date Created
2020

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Advancing the Implementation and Adoption of Urine Diversion Systems in Commercial and Institutional Buildings in the United States: A Focus on Control of Urea Hydrolysis

Description

This dissertation focused on the implementation of urine diversion systems in commercial and institutional buildings in the United States with a focus on control of the urea hydrolysis reaction. Urine diversion is the process by which urine is separately collected

This dissertation focused on the implementation of urine diversion systems in commercial and institutional buildings in the United States with a focus on control of the urea hydrolysis reaction. Urine diversion is the process by which urine is separately collected at the source in order to realize system benefits, including water conservation, nutrient recovery, and pharmaceutical removal. Urine diversion systems depend greatly on the functionality of nonwater urinals and urine diverting toilets, which are needed to collect undiluted urine. However, the urea hydrolysis reaction creates conditions that lead to precipitation in the fixtures due to the increase in pH from 6 to 9 as ammonia and bicarbonate are produced. Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 describes the creation and use of a cyber-physical system (CPS) to monitor and control urea hydrolysis in the urinal testbed. Two control logics were used to control urea hydrolysis in realistic restroom conditions. In the experiments, acid was added to inhibit urea hydrolysis during periods of high and low building occupancy. These results were able to show that acid should be added based on the restroom use in order to efficiently inhibit urea hydrolysis.
Chapter 4 advanced the results from Chapter 3 by testing the acid addition control logics in a real restroom with the urinal-on-wheels. The results showed that adding acid during periods of high building occupancy equated to the least amount of acid added and allowed for urea hydrolysis inhibition. This study also analyzed the bacterial communities of the collected urine and found that acid addition changed the structure of the bacterial communities.
Chapter 5 showed an example of the capabilities of a CPS when implemented in CI buildings. The study used data mining methods to predict chlorine residuals in premise plumbing in a CI green building. The results showed that advance modeling methods were able to model the system better than traditional methods. These results show that CPS technology can be used to illuminate systems and can provide information needed to understand conditions within CI buildings.

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Date Created
2021