Field Utilization of Dried Water Hyacinth for Phosphorous Recovery from Source-Separated Human Urine


This research demonstrated the feasibility of converting source-separated human urine into a solid fertilizer by means of continuous absorption and solar thermal evaporation using dried water hyacinth as adsorbent. In a preliminary experiment, the dried petioles of water hyacinth (DWH) absorbed urine in a mean rate of 18.78 ml·g-1 within 7 d, retrieving about 3.46% urine dissolved solids (UDS). In an advanced experiment, the DWH’s capacity of urine absorption declined from an initial 2.73 L·kg-1·d-1 to 0.68 L·kg-1·d-1, with a requirement of material change in about 25 effective days and an average ratio of 25 (L) to 1 (kg). Phosphorus (P2O5) concentration in the adsorbent increased from 0.46% (material baseline) to 3.14% (end product), suggesting a satisfactory recovery of the element. In field application, the urine was discharged, not in wet weather, onto the DWH via a tube connected to a waterless urinal. There are several ways to use the UDS-DWH as P(K)-rich fertilizer, e.g., making soluble fertilizer for foliage spraying to encourage prolific flowering and fruiting. Apparently, utilization of water hyacinth waste to recover dissolved plant nutrient elements from source-separated urine will benefit the environment in a wide range of perspectives. The herein innovative use of water hyacinth is also expected to be useful in the recycling of certain dissolved hazardous materials.

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B. Weng, J. Zhou, S. Zheng, X. Chen, W. Zhang and Q. Huang, "Field Utilization of Dried Water Hyacinth for Phosphorous Recovery from Source-Separated Human Urine," Journal of Environmental Protection, Vol. 3 No. 8, 2012, pp. 715-721. doi: 10.4236/jep.2012.38085.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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