Innovations at the nexus of food, energy, and water: Reclaiming wastewater from local food industries to produce energy and high-value urban crops

Organization profile

Organization profile

By 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population is expected to live under water stress. The global impact of the water crisis has been identified as the top global risk. Simultaneously, the world’s population is growing and it is estimated that by 2050, 66% of people will reside in urban areas. Urban agriculture (UA) can provide food close to home, improve water use efficiency and utilize locally available sources of nutrients. Local food-based industries (e.g., dairies, breweries) pay high costs to discharge wastewater containing organic matter and surplus nutrients. This wastewater has the potential to be “reclaimed” for use in UA. The energy-dense compounds in wastewater could be biologically treated for electricity production and nutrient recovery via plant uptake, allowing us to close a water usage loop. Our research will reimagine waste treatment and link it to urban food production using hydroponics and new technologies to generate clean energy from the waste itself.

Projects 2017 2019

Grand Challenges Research Awards: Phase 1

1/1/171/1/19

Project: Grand Challenges