Resource recovery from black water

M.S. de Graaff

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


New sanitation systems based on separation at source offer a large potential for resource recovery from wastewater, e.g. energy and nutrients from black water and irrigation water from grey water. This review focuses on the components in source separated black water. The treatment options for the key components are reviewed, focusing on recovery of organic compounds, nitrogen and phosphorus and removal of hormones, pharmaceutical residues and pathogens. A feasible treatment system for black water (faeces and urine), collected with vacuum toilets, would consist of anaerobic treatment followed by struvite precipitation for phosphorus recovery and autotrophic nitrogen removal. By applying these techniques, it is possible to produce 56 MJ/p/y of electricity, representing 40% of the energy that now is required for conventional WWTPs. Furthermore, the production of global artificial phosphorus fertilizer can be reduced by maximum 21%. As an alternative a higher degree of separation could be applied by separating the urine from the faeces, but this only would be feasible if the urine can be directly reused as a fertilizer. The issue of hormones, pharmaceuticals and pathogens in wastewater and their entry into the environment requires more research to determine to which extent additional treatment is necessary. Finally, the scope of this thesis is explained and the research questions which were addressed are presented.
Original languageDutch
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • Buisman, Cees, Promotor
  • Zeeman, Grietje, Co-promotor
  • Temmink, Hardy, Co-promotor
Award date16 Apr 2010
Place of Publication[S.l.
Print ISBNs9789085855484
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • sewage effluent
  • new sanitation
  • anaerobic digestion
  • bioenergy
  • nitrification
  • collection
  • sewerage
  • urine

Cite this

de Graaff, M. S. (2010). Resource recovery from black water. [S.l.: S.n.