Rushab Chopda

Nutrient Recovery.

Host – Gent University, Belgium

EU agriculture is heavily import-dependent for synthetic fertilisers such as ore for phosphorus (P) and fossil fuel for nitrogen (N), and their use results in large environmental impacts at local, regional and global scales. To counteract this, there is a need for increased substitution of nutrients in synthetic mineral fertiliser with waste-derived nutrients originating from bio-based sources. The successful candidate will investigate; mass flows of both major (N, P, K, Ca, Mg, S) and minor nutrients (Cu, Zn, Fe) as well as organic carbon in the downstream processing of digestates exiting AgRefine’s TPB 1st phase; a cascade of recovery techniques that will allow production of multiple refined organo-mineral fertilisers, soil enhancers and growth substrates; and a novel Nitrogen (NH3/NH4) stripping/scrubbing process. The candidate will further investigate the novel continuous N recovery technique by comparing and contrasting it to current post-AD-digestate nitrogen removal techniques.

Initially based at UGent under the supervision of Prof. Meers, the candidate will undertake another secondment to Tipperary Country Council (Ireland) to examine the regulatory aspects governing use of digestates.

Rushab is from India and holds a Bachelor Degree in Civil Engineering from the Pune University, India and a Masters’ Degree in Resource Recovery with specialisation in Industrial Biotechnology from the University of Borås, Sweden.

From his early days, Rushab had a keen interest in working towards building a  sustainable future and chose to work on projects such as developing an eco-friendly substitute for charcoal, developing solutions to treat sludge, amongst others. While pursuing his Masters’, Rushab extensively worked on building a biorefinery of oat husks using organosolv pre-treatment to produce high quality lignin and hydrolysed sugar. Rushab believes that the key to build a sustainable future is to continuously challenge the existing ways of the ecosystem and the research and innovation programme at University of Ghent under the Marie Skłodowska Curie Grant, gives him the ability to do just that, which he is beyond grateful for.

Favourite Quote: “Loosen up a bit – Laugh more, get involved with people around you, do simple things, if you only do important things, you will become dead serious.” -Sadhguru

Favourite Place: Lonavala on a rainy evening with Chai.