Modular Functionalization of Metal-Organic Frameworks for Nitrogen Recovery from Fresh Urine

L Guo and Y Zhang and S Osella and SM Webb and XJ Yang and W III Goddard and MR Hoffmann, ANGEWANDTE CHEMIE-INTERNATIONAL EDITION, 62 (2023).

DOI: 10.1002/anie.202309258

Nitrogen recovery from wastewater represents a sustainable route to recycle reactive nitrogen (Nr). It can reduce the demand of producing Nr from the energy-extensive Haber-Bosch process and lower the risk of causing eutrophication simultaneously. In this aspect, source-separated fresh urine is an ideal source for nitrogen recovery given its ubiquity and high nitrogen contents. However, current techniques for nitrogen recovery from fresh urine require high energy input and are of low efficiencies because the recovery target, urea, is a challenge to separate. In this work, we developed a novel fresh urine nitrogen recovery treatment process based on modular functionalized metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). Specifically, we employed three distinct modification methods to MOF-808 and developed robust functional materials for urea hydrolysis, ammonium adsorption, and ammonia monitoring. By integrating these functional materials into our newly developed nitrogen recovery treatment process, we achieved an average of 75 % total nitrogen reduction and 45 % nitrogen recovery with a 30-minute treatment of synthetic fresh urine. The nitrogen recovery process developed in this work can serve as a sustainable and efficient nutrient management that is suitable for decentralized wastewater treatment. This work also provides a new perspective of implementing versatile advanced materials for water and wastewater treatment.

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