Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

MS in Environmental Engr. (M.S.E.V.)

Degree Granting Department

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Major Professor

Qiong Zhang, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jeffrey A. Cunningham, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Shengqian Ma, Ph.D.


Urine source separation, Nutrient treatment, Ion exchange, Polymers material, Clinoptilolite


Urine comprises around 1% of domestic sewage volume but holds 80% of total nitrogen. Source separation is a sustainable way to wastewater management than traditional way due to low energy cost and preventing certain pollutants into wastewater treatment plants. Currently, removing and recovering nitrogen from source-separated urine has attracted more and more interests. Of them, ion exchange was used for removal and recovery of nitrogen in the form of ammonia from synthetic urine for potential application as a fertilizer in agriculture. No previous research studies were conducted to investigate the removal and recovery of nitrogen from hydrolyzed urine by ion exchange using POPs (porous organic polymers). So this study focused on evaluating the performance of POPs and comparing with clinoptilolite in synthetic hydrolyzed urine in terms of adsorption capacity (isotherm), adsorption rate (kinetics), regeneration rate, and cost. The ammonium removal from hydrolyzed urine using POPs was rapid with a high capacity of 68.03 mg/g than clinoptilolite (15.36 mg/g), and the regeneration efficiency of clinoptilolite and POPs can achieve 91% and 95.3%, respectively based single time use result. Although POPs had the better performance at one time use and multiple times use, it also had high materials cost. Additionally, the capacity of POP was estimated using the integrated ion exchange regeneration process model as 30.24 mg/g and 28.65 mg/g on cycle 10 and cycle 24, respectively. The regeneration efficiency of POPs was predicated as 45.4% and 38.4% in cycle 10 and cycle 24, respectively. The predicted capacity decreased with the number of cycles, but remained at about 55% of virgin POPs after 24 cycles, indicating POPs can maintain good performance after multiple reuses than clinoptilolite.