Technology Opportunities for Improved Nutrient Removal from Human Waste

Nutrient pollution is harming aquatic ecosystems, leading to negative economic impacts, a decrease in biodiversity, and a threat to human health.

Many sources contribute to nutrient pollution; however, contributions from human waste—like wastewater and fecal sludge—are particularly concerning.  As populations grow and the demand on existing infrastructure and resources increases, nutrient pollution impact will continue to rise.

Governments worldwide are tightening nutrient effluent standards for treatment plants. As governments introduce regulations, smaller-scale facilities need for simple, cost-effective nutrient treatment technologies.

RTI Innovation Advisors collaborated with wastewater-focused utilities, investors, engineers, researchers, and technology providers to identify solutions. We identified algae, electrochemical, and membrane-separation systems as promising emerging technologies. Next, we searched for researchers and startups that are developing wastewater and fecal sludge treatment technologies.

The information we uncovered—and that we present in this report—helps potential investors and partners understand and engage with developers of emerging nutrient treatment technologies

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