Large urine use project in the USA, the Netherlands and elsewhere


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  • scottchen
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Re: Large urine use project in the USA

Dear Elisabeth:
Very interesting!
Possibly, i can copy this practice in China.
Later, using the urine to grow vegetables and sell it back to the urine producer.
best wishes
The general manager of SHEN ZHEN BLUE WATERS AND GREEN MOUNTAINS LTD , the sole importer of Separett AB waterless toilets in China.
Chen Xiang Yang, an apple dealer,is growing apples and cherries with the human waste collected from 31 school UDDTs donated by SOHO China Foundation, based in Tianshui City, Gansu Province , China. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., tel:0086 151 9380 3972

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  • Elisabeth
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Re: Large urine use project in the USA

Something a bit similar seems to be going on in the Netherlands right now. I was made aware of these two links by Mark van Loosdrecht via twitter (Mark is a professor in environmental biotechnoloy at Delft University):

The article was posted 3 days ago:

Great response by male visitors of Amsterdam Sail 2015 event to pee for green roofs

An excerpt from the article:

Male visitors of Sail Amsterdam 2015 massively respond to the request by the city's water utility to pee at special locations for their urine to be collected and turned into fertilizer.

The Amsterdam water utility targets to harvest 100,000 liter of urine during the five-day festival.

Sail Amsterdam is the world’s largest free nautical festival, featuring more than 600 tall ships. This year's event started on 19 August and is expected to attract 1.7 million visitors.

The pee is treated in a special phosphate factory that turns the 100 m3 urine into 140 m3 struvite fertilizer.

The struvite is used for three innovative urban greening projects by the Amsterdam Rainproof platform

and this article has the same story:

I wonder though if this is actually cost effective for the Dutch water boards or if it's more of a communications effort and publicity stint with their customers. I asked Mark about it and he tweeted:

"good way on public communication of the task of wastewater treatments and resource recovery."

If anyone has more insights into the activities going on in the Netherlands with collecting urine at a large scale and reusing it (in this case via the struvite route), please share here. Thanks a lot.

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Freelance consultant on environmental and climate projects
Located in Ulm, Germany
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  • canaday
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Re: Large urine use project in the USA

Hi Abe and everyone else at Rich Earth,

Congrats on the coverage your excellent urine fertilization project just got in the Science Friday radio program: ... with a link to this great video ...

Great stuff. You may want to try dispersing urine in the soil via perforated hoses buried in the soil among fruit trees (and, in your case, also maple trees). These hoses do not plug here in the Amazon; one would have to see in Vermont. They might also have to be just deep enough to not freeze, or only apply the urine in non-winter months. At least in houses in the countryside, you may want to try running these hoses straight from the toilets to thus avoid having to bottle and transport the urine. More info at inodoroseco blogspot com. Let me know if I can help troubleshoot any problem or help in any other way.

Here are a couple of questions for the researchers from the University of Michigan, who are studying this case.
Can plant roots even absorb big organic chemicals, like the artificial hormones of birth control pills and other pharmaceuticals? (As I understand it, plant roots uptake water and necessary ions via active mechanisms in which big organic molecules simply would not fit. Atoms of heavy metals may be a very different case. Please consult with plant physiologists.)
If the urine is dispersed under the surface of the soil, as I propose, it would get excellent treatment, not be in contact with anyone, and we can forget about the minor health risk found in urine, right?

Keep up the good work.

Best wishes,
Conservation Biologist and EcoSan Promoter
Omaere Ethnobotanical Park
Puyo, Pastaza, Ecuador, South America
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  • Bhaskar
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Re: Reply: Large urine use project in the USA

The concept of using urine as a fertilizer is fine, but why use it on land ? Why not use it in water, to grow fish.

Urine is a liquid, so it is easier to handle by flushing it down a drain into a fish pond, rather than to collect it in containers and use it on land.

I understand that your project uses the urine to grow hay to feed cattle. We can give you a solution to use the urine to grow Diatom Algae to feed fish.

Diatoms are known as the 'grasses of the oceans'

"Have you ever wondered who plays the role of grass in the oceans? Try diatoms, delicate unicellular organisms that have a yellow-brown chloroplast that enables them to photosynthesize."


Clean technology promoter.

I am working on a clean technology product to grow Diatom Algae in large waterways. Diatoms account for about 25% of all photosynthesis on Earth and hence are the best solution to consume CO2, N and P and oxygenate water and feed fish.

I am a Chartered Accountant but am now an entrepreneur focussed on clean technology.

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  • noe-hays
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Re: Large urine use project in the USA

Marijn, thanks for mentioning us. We've just started getting press recently on this project and it makes me proud that someone from the SuSanA forum read about us! This article has a few inaccuracies, but it is a generally correct summary of our project.

Anyone who wants to know more about what we are doing can visit our website at . There are also more news articles here , including one in Spanish.

Our actual website is a little out of date, but the current situation is that we are collecting 6,000 gallons of urine from about 200 families this year, pasteurizing it, and then applying it to hay fields. Our ongoing study is on dilution rates, to see if there is a yield benefit to a 50/50 urine/water mix over application of 100% urine.

As far as I know, this is the only project of its type in the United States, but I wonder if anyone on the forum is involved in a similar community-sourced urine recycling project elsewhere?

Abe Noe-Hays
Research Director
Rich Earth Institute
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  • Marijn Zandee
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Large urine use project in the USA, the Netherlands and elsewhere

Dear all,

One of my friends forwarded this link, which I am sharing for your reading pleasure:

I think, some of the people from the Rich earth institute are also on the forum, congratulations to them with their project.


Marijn Zandee

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