An important element of the water-energy-food nexus is the recovery of nutrients from wastewater to use as a renewable fertiliser source. Wastewater treatment plants are increasingly becoming essential recycling facilities for water, energy and nutrients – mainly phosphorous, nitrogen and potassium. Present research is focused on developing technologies which will allow wastewater treatment plants to operate as net energy producers and maximise the recovery of nutrients as a comparable product to existing supplies. This talk will discuss present and future opportunities for nutrient recovery in the context of sustainable food production. While the situation in each country is unique, on a global scale 100% of phosphorous and potassium, and 50% of the global supply of nitrogen could be fully supplied from waste streams such as domestic wastewater and agricultural wastes. The use of resource recovery facilities will buffer the agricultural industry against limiting resources and pricing fluctuations, in addition to decreasing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions association with current methods of fertiliser production.
About the Speaker:
Emma Thompson Brewster completed her Bachelor of Environmental Engineering with Honours at UQ in 2012. Upon graduation she worked with the Queensland Department of Energy and Water Supply for six months. She returned to UQ and is now in the third year of her PhD on the topic of recovering nutrients from wastewater using electrodialysis.
For further information, contact convenor Jane O’Sullivan