Carbon footprint of urban source separation for nutrient recovery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Source separation systems for the management of domestic wastewater and food waste has been suggested as more sustainable sanitation systems for urban areas. The present study used an attributional life cycle assessment to investigate the carbon footprint and potential for nutrient recovery of two sanitation systems for a hypothetical urban area in Southern Sweden. The systems represented a typical Swedish conventional system and a possible source separation system with increased nutrient recovery. The assessment included the management chain from household collection, transport, treatment and final return of nutrients to agriculture or disposal of the residuals. The results for carbon footprint and nutrient recovery (phosphorus and nitrogen) concluded that the source separation system could increase nutrient recovery (0.30–0.38 kg P capita−1 year−1 and 3.10–3.28 kg N capita−1 year−1), while decreasing the carbon footprint (−24 to −58 kg CO2-eq. capita−1 year−1), compared to the conventional system. The nutrient recovery was increased by the use of struvite precipitation and ammonium stripping at the wastewater treatment plant. The carbon footprint decreased, mainly due to the increased biogas production, increased replacement of mineral fertilizer in agriculture and less emissions of nitrous oxide from wastewater treatment. In conclusion, the study showed that source separation systems could potentially be used to increase nutrient recovery from urban areas, while decreasing the climate impact.

Details

Authors
Organisations
External organisations
  • Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Environmental Sciences

Keywords

  • Carbon footprint, Food waste, Life cycle assessment, Nutrient recovery, Source separation, Wastewater management
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)250-257
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Volume197
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jul 15
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes