In an exergy analysis, the actual consumption of resources in physical and chemical processes is calculated. Energy and chemical elements are not consumed in the processes - they are only transformed into other forms with lower quality. The principals of exergy analysis are illustrated by comparing different wastewater treatment systems for nutrient recovery. One system represents an end-of-pipe structure, whereas other systems include source separation of grey water, black water, and urine. The exergy flows analysed in this paper are those related to management and treatment of organic matter and nutrients. The study shows that the total exergy consumption is lowest for the system with source separation of urine and faeces and greatest for the conventional wastewater treatment system complemented by processes for nutrient recovery.

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