PhD position in technology development with focus on recovering nutrients from source-separating sanitation systems

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)

Uppsala, Sweden 🇸🇪


Department of Energy and Technology

At the Department of Energy and Technology, research and education are conducted focusing on how agriculture can contribute to a sustainable society. We have extensive expertise in technology and systems for sustainable production of food and bioenergy, including optimal nutrition circuits and logistics systems. Within the field of methodology, we have extensive competence in System Analysis including Environmental Systems Analysis and LCA, as well as Biometrics (statistics and mathematics with applications in biological systems) and Automation.

Read more about our benefits and what it is like to work at SLU at

Multilayer alkaline earth chemical pellets for on-site urine treatment

Topic: Technology


The sanitation sector is increasingly focusing on resource recovery as a way to adapt to environmental challenges. At the same time, the world needs flexible and safe sanitation systems that can be scaled-up quickly to service the billions of people currently lacking access to a proper toilet. A new sanitation paradigm is emerging with flexible, decentralized solutions that recover resources in the form of nutrients, water and energy for use in a variety of productive sectors.

The overall goal of this PhD project will be to develop the next generation of treatment technologies for source-separating sanitation systems, with focus on recycling human urine. The project will develop a key technology that could accelerate implementation of such sanitation systems in real-life settings – a unique on-site reactor that chemically stabilizes nutrients excreted in urine, so that it can be transported without loss of nutrients for further centralized treatment (e.g., concentrated by alkaline dehydration to produce a solid fertilizer). The ambition is to transition urine source-separation from a niche, single toilet technology (e.g., at Scandinavian summer houses) to a mainstream community-scale technology (e.g., multi-story buildings). Because urine is safely converted to fertilizer, nutrients will never reach wastewater treatment plants or water recipients where they cause eutrophication.



  • Master of Science with a focus on environmental-, chemical-, civil- or process engineering or its equivalent.
  • Good knowledge of English in speech and writing.


  • Knowledge in inorganic chemistry
  • Modelling of chemical processes
  • Knowledge and experience working with wastewater systems
  • To be able to communicate in Swedish

Great emphasis is placed on personal qualities, such as the ability to work together, analytical and problem-solving ability as well as the ability to work independently.

Place of work:      


Forms for funding or employment:

Employment 4 years

Starting date:

According to agreement.


The application must contain the following:

  • An Essay summarising and reviewing literature on the technology – alkaline urine dehydration (maximum 2 A4 pages);
  • A Letter of Motivation, describing the applicant’s previous academic and professional experience and motivation for applying for this position (maximum 2 A4 pages);
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Copy of degree certificate including transcript of academic records
  • Copy of degree thesis
  • A list of two reference persons familiar with the applicant’s qualifications

Click the “Apply” button to submit your application. The deadline is 2023-03-08.

To qualify for third-cycle (Doctoral) courses and study programmes, you must have a second-cycle (Master’s) qualification. Alternatively, you must have conducted a minimum of four years of full-time study, of which a minimum of one year at second-cycle level.

Applicants will be selected based on their written application and CV, degree project, copies of their degree certificate and transcript of records from previous first and second-cycle studies at a university or higher education institution, two personal references, and knowledge of English. More information about the English language requirements can be found here:

Please note that applicants invited to interview must submit attested copies of their degree certificate, a transcript of records from previous first and second-cycle studies at a university or higher education institution. Applicants who are not Swedish citizens need to submit an attested copy of their passport’s information page containing their photograph and personal details.

Read about the PhD education at SLU at

Academic union representatives:

The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) is a world-class international university with research, education and environmental assessment within the sciences for sustainable life. Its principal sites are in Alnarp, Umeå and Uppsala, but activities are also conducted at research stations, experimental parks and educational establishments throughout Sweden. We bring together people who have different perspectives, but they all have one and the same goal: to create the best conditions for a sustainable, thriving and better world.

SLU has just over 3,000 employees, 5,000 students and a turnover of SEK 3 billion. The university has invested heavily in a modern, attractive environment on its campuses.

Contact person

Björn Vinnerås



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IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development