Passive evaporation of source-separated urine from dry toilets: UES optimization and dry product accumulation over time

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

A urine evaporation system (UES) was optimized and evaluated in a laboratory by adding 5 L of urine at the same time each day for 65 days. The UES consisted of a wooden box that is open at the front only with tracks for 22 vertically stacked cafeteria-type trays and a fan and chimney at the back. Urine flowed from tray to tray via gravity exiting each tray via a weir along the long side of the tray. A distinctive physical and chemical zonation in the solid urine product was observed from the upper to lower trays due to leaching of precipitated minerals in the upper trays and mineral accumulation in the lower trays. The redox conditions became increasingly oxidizing from the top to bottom trays due to contact with the atmosphere thus favouring more stable mineralized forms of nitrogen (ammonium and nitrate) and sulphur (sulphate) and disfavouring the less stable and volatile ammonia, nitrogen gas and hydrogen sulphide. The quality of the fertilizer product is higher in the upper trays with higher levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, whereas the lower trays have higher levels of sodium chloride. Nitrogen losses due to ammonia volatilization were approximately 35%.

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