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An investigation into human biowaste management using microwave hydrothermal carbonization for sustainable sanitation

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posted on 24.11.2015, 09:59 by Oluwasola O.D. Afolabi
The prolonged challenges and dire consequences of poor sanitation, especially in developing economies, call for the exploration of new sustainable technologies. These need to be: capable of effectively treating human faecal wastes without any health or environmental impacts; scalable to address rapid increases in population and urbanization; capable of meeting environmental regulations and standards for faecal management; and competitive with existing strategies. Further and importantly, despite its noxiousness and pathogenic load, the chemical composition of human biowaste (HBW) indicates that it may be considered to be a potentially valuable, nutrient-rich renewable resource, rather than a problematic waste product. This doctoral study therefore investigated microwave hydrothermal carbonization (M-HTC) as a sanitation technology for processing HBW – to convert it into a safe, pathogen-free material, while also recovering inherent value and providing an economic base to sustain the technology. To this end, the products of M-HTC treatment of sewage sludge, human faecal sludge, synthetic faecal simulant and human faeces were characterized with a suite of techniques and tests to demonstrate pathogenic deactivation, and the intrinsic value of the resultant solid char and liquor. [Continues.]


Loughborough University, Graduate School (RTT Project under Professor M. Sohail). Nigeria, Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF).



  • Science


  • Chemistry


© Oluwasola Olakunle Daniel Afolabi

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.