Water reuse from wastewater treatment plants can significantly reduce freshwater demand. Additionally municipal sewage and some industrial wastewaters could be used as sources of nutrients and carbon more effectively than they are used today. Biological treatments have attracted the most attention in wastewater purification, whereas, so far, only a little attention has been paid to the physico-chemical technologies. These technologies could, however, have great potential to recover nutrients when purifying wastewater. In this study, the main emphasis was to study the possibilities to utilize existing physico-chemical unit operations for wastewater purification and nutrients as well as carbon recovery. Unit operations were selected so that they could produce exploitable circular economy products from wastewaters and be assembled in a mobile container for carrying out recovery anywhere that is suitable. The results showed that in a mobile container, solids could be successfully separated from the studied wastewaters by flocculation-assisted solid/liquid separation and then processed into hydrochar by hydrothermal carbonization. Phosphate was precipitated using lime milk as calcium phosphate, and ammonium nitrogen was captured from the wastewater using membrane contactor technology resulting in ammonium sulphate for fertilizer use. Additionally, reverse osmosis retained residual impurities well, producing good quality water for reuse. The techno-economic feasibility seems promising.
- Techno-economic assessment