Summit Opening and Welcome
9:20-9:30 am EST
Virtual and In-Person
Keynote: Fabien Esculier
9:30-10:30 am EST
Virtual and In-Person
Coordinator of OCAPI and researcher at Ecole des Ponts ParisTech in the LEESU laboratory.
As a higher-level civil servant of the French Ministry of Ecology, he worked for 6 years for various public institutions in the water sector. In 2014, he set up the OCAPI action research program, which aims to study and support the socio-ecological transition of food/excretion systems, and in particular to investigate the potential for a paradigm shift in the management of human urine and feces through source separation and agricultural valorization. He defended his thesis in March 2018 on this topic. He is now the coordinator of a multidisciplinary action research team (biogeochemistry, agronomy, sociology, anthropology, geopolitics, territorial ecology...). The OCAPI program has become a publicly funded national resource centre for source separation.
PANEL: Lighthouse Projects & Nutrient Futures
10:40 - 11:40 am EST
Virtual and In-Person
EOOS NEXT, Austria
Live Presentation via Zoom: Low Flush Urine Diversion Vacuum Toilet Applications
EOOS NEXT is a Vienna based social enterprise working in WASH since 10+ years. The industrial design studio has developed the passive urine separation technology 'Urine Trap' that has been integrated into various toilet typologies so far. The latest project demonstrates the effluent quality improvements for Biogas processes due to separated urine and anal cleansing water at source, currently field tested at 3 sites in India.
Pete Munoz & Pat Lando
Nutrient Recovery Services
In-Person Presentation: The urine-to-fertilizer system at the PAE Living Building
Presenters Pat Lando and Pete Munoz will discuss the urine process system that is part of the eco-sanitation system in the "PAE Living building" in Portland, Oregon. The presentation will address the project design process, urine processing system, regulatory requirements and product launch. Pat Lando is planning on delivering products to the summit for people to examine and purchase.
Live Presentation via Zoom: Current fate of Nitrogen and Phosphorus Excretions in France
Relying on data from the ~20,000 wastewater treatment plants in France, we present a detailed nutrient mass-balance of the current French sanitation system. Overall, ~50% of excreted phosphorus returns to agricultural soils, and only ~10% of excreted nitrogen. Increasing wastewater treatment plants yield could improve phosphorus recovery ; however such an approach will only marginally improve nitrogen recovery. Paradigm shift such as urine diversion could help bridge this gap.
Julie Ginesty & Mathilde Sageot
Pre-recorded Presentation: Saint-Vincent-de-Paul
Saint-Vincent-de-Paul is a future neighbourhood located in the city of Paris, in the 14th arrondissement. This centuries-old site and former hospital is being transformed by Paris et Métropole aménagement into a residential neighbourhood, welcoming many socially inclusive et resilient innovations. One of them is the implementation of the source separation and valorisation of urine at the scale of the area, namely 600 dwellings, schools and gymnasium, shops and workplaces. The pipe network to collect urine and the urine reclycling technology will be operated by the city of Paris. Mathilde Sageot, from the city of Paris water and sanitation departement, and Julie Ginesty, from Paris et Métropole aménagement, will present the main characteristics of this project.
Virtual Tours: Urine Processing & Research Facilities Screening
11:40 am - 12:20 pm EST
Virtual and In-Person
UC Berkeley, California, USA
An automated pilot facility to recover nitrogen via ion exchange
Our research team at U.C. Berkeley has recently completed construction of an automated pilot-scale system to convert fresh urine to fertilizer via ion exchange. The three-step process involves urea hydrolysis, adsorption, and elution. Using the pilot system, we are evaluating the feasibility of automating these processes, as well as the process performance (nitrogen recovery, upconcentration, regenerability of the ion exchange resins), the cost, and the direct and embedded energy and greenhouse gas footprints.
Arizona State University
ASU Urine Diversion and Treatment Facility Tour
The Boyer Research Group at Arizona State University has implemented a pilot-scale urine collection system in a multi-story institutional building, including chemical dosing for urinal maintenance and urine stabilization, membrane treatment for nitrogen recovery, and precipitation for phosphorus recovery. Our work draws on key knowledge from stakeholders, such as facilities management, manufacturers, and users, to improve our urine collection and treatment systems. This virtual tour gives an overview of the entire process, from the restroom all the way to the final product.
University of Melbourne, Australia
Demonstrating nutrient recovery into a liquid fertiliser using a pilot-scale UGold system
UGold is a bioelectroconcentration technology designed to recover key nutrients (nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus) from urine as a concentrated liquid fertiliser. This virtual tour takes you to our pilot scale field demonstration facility, where we are currently trialling the UGold system for nutrient recovery from real source-separated human urine as part of the Nutrients in a Circular Economy (NiCE) research hub (https://www.nicehub.org/). The pilot system operates next to a public toilet block equipped with Wostman EcoFlush urine-diverting toilets and a Uridan waterless urinal facilitating urine collection separately from other wastewater fractions. The system is designed to treat ca. 40 L of urine per day.
zirkulierBAR research project, Germany
Showcasing VunaNexus process operated as a container-based urine treatment technology
The German research project zirkulierBAR has integrated the VunaNexus urine treatment technology into their regional circular organizational model. This back-end solution for urine treatment is a milestone on their mission to demonstrate scalable recycling facilities for the treatment of dry toilet contents. In this virtual tour, environmental engineer Carsten Beneker will present to you the container-based urine treatment facility and give you additional glance on the attached faecal matter composting plant. The end-products are non-hazardous, nutrient-rich and low-emission recycling fertilizers for agriculture and horticulture. Bio-economy and municipalities are offered a blueprint for resource-efficient alternatives to sewager-based systems, particularly interesting for rural communities of arid regions as well as facilitators of public toilets (service).
12:20 - 1:00 pm EST
In-Person Only, included in In-Person ticket
PANEL: Design & Sociotechnical Dynamics
1:00 - 2:20 pm EST
Virtual and In-Person
Live Presentation via Zoom: Ecological sanitation as a social movement : a look in the rear-view mirror
In Europe today, the development of alternatives to conventional sanitation brings together a wide variety of players: citizens, associations, companies, start-ups, researchers, local authorities and even some public agencies. In this presentation, we would like to look back at the history of the emergence of ecological sanitation, emphasizing its "social movement" dimension: indeed, since the 1960s, writings have been circulating, techniques have been developed, mobilizations have emerged, positions have been asserted and networks of players have been organized. This raises questions about the contours of this dynamic, and its place within the environmentalist and political ecology movements. Using France as an example, we'll look first at the actors behind the emergence of compost toilets and urine recollection, then at the types of discourse deployed to challenge conventional approaches to sanitation. Finally, we'll ask how looking back on this history can serve as a resource to support the deployment of this movement today to a "critical mass" it has yet to reach.
Lucas Crane and Ashton W. Merck
Arizona State University, Arizona, USA
NC State University, North Carolina, USA
Live Presentation via Zoom: Technological and Social Dimensions of Urine Diversion Systems in Commercial and Institutional Buildings
Urine diversion (UD) has been shown to provide major benefits for wastewater treatment systems to achieve circular economy goals and can reduce environmental pollution via nutrient separation and recovery. However, there has been limited implementation of UD in the real world, as there are significant technological challenges associated with the current state of UD, such as precipitation within wastewater pipes that leads to clogging and odors. These technological challenges exacerbate negative social perceptions of UD, not only from users but also from implementers of UD, i.e., building managers, maintenance staff, administrators, etc. This presentation details key findings from a convergence research project that addresses both the social and technological challenges associated with implementing UD. In addition to field investigations of a full-scale UD pilot at a multi-story institutional setting on Arizona State University's campus, a benchmarking study was conducted to assess viability of UD in different types of commercial and institutional buildings, and a qualitative research study was conducted to assess stakeholder views and perceptions of the prospects of expanding UD beyond the field trial at ASU. Results from monitoring of the full-scale UD system show the importance of building occupancy and seasonal patterns in urine generation, and that targeted acetic acid dosing schemes can mitigate clogging concerns but allow for suitable phosphorus precipitation after storage. The benchmarking study shows that buildings with higher occupancy counts and/or times, such as office buildings, hospitals, schools, and airports, are most suitable for UD implementation. The qualitative study shows that economic and regulatory/legal factors are major barriers to UD implementation. Social and cultural opposition from existing maintenance staff is also important. These findings suggest that future implementation of UD requires interventions throughout the UD process and relies on engagement from both users and implementers to succeed. Technological interventions must prevent the challenges of current UD systems but should support urine processing methods, as well as align with economic, regulatory, social, and cultural factors of a specific CI building.
CITERES, University of Tours, FranceField research results of the Urocyclus project: Experimentation in a French public university.
The recycling of human urine requires to address sociocultural aspects involved in the alternative sanitation system. The project Urocyclus aims to design and study in this way this kind of innovation. First experimentation of the dry gender-inclusive urinal designed for the project was carried in March 2023 at the University of Tours in France. Field research was carried at the same time to study users' experience and the acceptance process. The presentation aims to present the results of these experimentation and fieldwork.
PAE, Oregon, USA
Designing for source separation – the key to a regenerative building
Source separation of greywater, urine drainage, and feces drainage is a fundamental first step towards regenerative building design and addressing the biochemical flows from buildings that threatens to exceed safe planetary operating limits. We’ll discuss design guidance in this area as well as actual installations in Portland and Seattle and how source separation can be integrated into buildings while minimizing complexity and cost.
Hayley Joyell Smith
Michigan State University and PHLUSH
In-Person Presentation: Answering the Cautionary "What If?": Applying a Risk Analysis Framework to Determine Safe Use of Urine-derived Fertilizers
Advocates of urine diversion systems can use a risk assessment framework to help decision-makers understand how implementing a new toilet system or applying a human-derived fertilizer may or may not pose a public health or environmental risk. Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment (QMRA) is a reputable modeling method that estimates risks under certain circumstances. The risk analysis framework includes: 1. QMRA (hazard identification, dose-response assessment, exposure assessment, and risk characterization); 2. Risk Management; and 3. Risk Communication. QMRA can accommodate varying situations such as length of storage, treatment process, or potential cross-contamination of fecal matter. This presentation will share a case study developed during the QMRA IV Institute (NIH #R25GM135058) that explores the risk of a potential scenario where a child eats soil in a public park that uses urine-derived fertilizer. Results provide evidence that there is a low risk of illness when best practices for risk management are in place. The use of this tool can provide evidence for the safe use of urine-diversion and urine-derived products.
FIELD TRIP: Brattleboro Urine Reclamation Program Tour
2:30 - 4:30 pm EST
Come see how Rich Earth Institute’s community scale Urine Nutrient Reclamation Program operates! This guided tour will visit the urine collecting urinal at Hermit Thrush Brewery, a residential toilet installation, the Brattleboro urine depot.
Open House at Rich Earth’s Research Center
4:30 - 5:30 pm EST
355 Old Ferry Road
Brattleboro, VT 05301
The Open House is free to the public and will feature:
Updates about Rich Earth Institute’s ongoing social, technological, and agricultural research projects
Tours of our urine fertilizer processing facility
Rich Earth Institute’s spin-off company, Brightwater Tools, creating technologies for regenerative sanitation
Light refreshments (including harvests from Rich Earth’s demonstration garden!)
Optional Dinner Gathering
6:00 pm EST
In-Person Only (not included in in-person ticket)
Ramunto's Brick Oven Pizza
1111 Putney Rd #9051, Brattleboro, VT 05301