A researcher in Sweden is suggesting that urine could be the new fertiliser. Zsofia Ganrot explains that we each contribute about 7.9 litres of urine a week and if this is treated with magnesium oxide it forms white crystals. The addition of zeolite ensures that the crystals maintain 70 – 80% of the ‘goodness’ namely nitrogen. The resulting powered fertiliser is call struvite.
Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorous are three ingredients needed for plant growth and many believe that supplies are running out; Phosphorous could be in very short supply as early as 2030 and the others within 50 – 100 years. Hence the need to produce an alternative source. Urine contains all three ingredients and even if the sources don’t run out, this recycling process could save cities a lot of money.
The Netherlands are taking this seriously
This research isn’t new but it seems with supplies of specific fertilising chemicals running out, The Netherlands is keen to put it the test properly.
Water utility company, Waternet in Amsterdam are taking the research very seriously. Following an experimental collection of urine, work started in September on a processing plant which should be ready any time now. Amsterdam will use the fertiliser on public parks and the many green roofs in the city.
The experimental collection of urine was from temporary public urinals set up in the city similar to those shown in the photo. It is estimated that Amsterdam can collect and recycle urine from 1 million people in the city to produce 1,000 tones of fertiliser. That will definitely keep those roofs green!
Urinal pod design
Meanwhile American industrial designer Eddie Gandleman designed a four sided urinal pod some years back that processes the urine and works as a fertiliser. His design would not only help with plant fertilisation but also improve public urinal design. The pod is economical in the way it uses space and adds the facility to distribute recycled urine as a fertiliser.
Sticking with the traditional
If you’re not quite ready for this yet but prefer to stick with a more normal toilet, American manufacturers Kohler are introducing a deodorising seat for a toilet! This seat can be fitted to an existing standard toilet and make your bathroom smell of a garden waterfall, fresh laundry or an avocado spa!
The Purefresh seat is powered by batteries which operate carbon filters and scent packs to neutralise any unpleasant bathroom smells. The seat is activated as soon as someone sits on it. The seat also houses a LED light so that you can see in the dark! It will only set you back $90 that’s almost £60 to us.