Date of Graduation
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Nutrient and resource recovery (NRR) has become increasingly crucial as regions face deteriorating sanitation infrastructures, limited support, and growing environmental challenges. Implementing region-specific NRR technologies and systems could provide effective circular economy insights into addressing these challenges. Because of the multidisciplinary challenges associated with the design and implementation of NRR strategies, various government and local decision-makers need to collaborate effectively in the decision-making process. Structured decision-making (SDM) methodologies are practical when determining the most appropriate NRR strategy for nutrient-rich waste streams. However, applications of computational SDM limited because of the vast amounts of data that are needed to analyze the nutrient material flows. The overall goal of this study was to develop an NRR framework address West Virginia (WV) sanitation and NRR challenges. The research objectives were to 1) design an NRR framework for managing nutrient-containing wastes in WV, 2) analyze the potential benefits of NRR applications for local crop production, 3) identify circular economy opportunities, and 4) develop a management strategy to utilize the framework for WV. In this study, the NRR framework applies the sanitation planning software, Santiago, to utilize a substance flow model (SFM) that quantifies the NRR potential of four substances: total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorus (TP), water, and total solids. Santiago was applied to an 'NRR-County' representing the state's population and sanitation infrastructure characteristics at the county level. Inputs for the model included a case input file with characteristics of WV sanitation management challenges. The model outputs were categorized as NRR technologies that produce solid fertilizer, liquid fertilizer, and soil conditioners. The selected technologies were labeled as Circular Nutrient Design (CND) options to narrow the sanitation options. The CND technologies with solid fertilizer products were compared to crops' (I.e., Alfalfa) nutrient content and uptake capacity for crop production estimation. Circular economy opportunities were identified by evaluating the economic value of the recovered fertilizer and potential crop sales. This study successfully developed an NRR framework with WV sanitation challenges as the inputs for the SFM. It devised a circular economy through nutrient recovery that extended the Santiago software to fertilizer and crop production. A management strategy resulting from the NRR framework could be applied as a baseline scenario for communities in WV.
Lopez, Scott A., "Development of a Framework to Support Community-Scale Nutrient Recovery for Local Crop Fertilization and Production" (2023). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 12036.