Australian Centre for Water
and Environmental Biotechnology

U-Gold Project highly commended at national awards night

Wednesday, 08 May 2019
  • Dr Stefano Freguia receiving Highly Commended at Ozwater Gala Dinner

The UGOLD research project, led by the Advanced Water Management Centre’s Associate Professor Stefano Freguia, was Highly Commended at the 2019 Australian Water Association National Awards.

The UGOLD project presents the world’s first decentralised microbial electrochemical system to remove and recover macro+micro-nutrients from source-separated urine right at the source, the toilet.

“It is truly humbling to receive such an important recognition from Australia’s leading water network,” said Dr Freguia.

“This success rewards years of collaborative work between academia and industry, and paves the way towards further projects to turn our concept into a real-world technology”.

UGOLD technology autonomously recovers the nutrients in urine directly from the toilet resulting in a super-concentrated liquid fertiliser.

Nitrogen, phosphorous, and other micronutirents are recovered from the urine at high rates, with low energy consumption and no chemical dosing.

“Nitrogen and phosphorus are in high demand for agricultural fertiliser, but the current process of producing these resources is energy intensive and can create other environmental problems,” Dr Freguia said.

“The UGold system could create a more sustainable source of nitrogen and phosphorus for fertiliser and also reduce the amount of energy required to treat sewage – a win for business and the environment.”

The success of this technology could pave the way for waterless toilets and onsite wastewater treatment plants at high-density offices, apartment buildings and even shopping centres in the future.

The AWA National Awards were presented at the Ozwater'19 Gala Dinner in Melbourne on 8 May 2019.