Development of Nutrient Rich Crystals from Wastewater for the Fortification of Compost | AIChE

Development of Nutrient Rich Crystals from Wastewater for the Fortification of Compost

Improved management of nitrogen and phosphorus in municipal solid waste
(MSW) compost through nutrient-rich crystals from wastewater provides a sustainable alternative to current industrial soil amendments for gardening and agricultural practices. Current petroleum based fertilizers contribute excess nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous to the environment. Excess nitrogen and phosphorous cause eutrophication in waterways, biodiversity loss, contribute to global warming, and reduce air quality. Within an institution such as Lafayette College, food waste can make up a large portion of an institution’s reactive nitrogen footprint. Composting MSW, including food waste, provides a way to recycle nutrients typically lost to the environment. This research considers opportunities to add value to MSW compost while building on lessons of soil scientists. The goal is to make MSW compost a more competitive alternative to fertilizers by engineering a technique to maximize nutrient value of nitrogen and phosphorous in compost. The crystals will be comprised of recycled nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous) from local wastewater treatment plants.