A research team at the University of Melbourne developed a way to convert human urine into fertilizer. Making use of electro-bioreactors, a membrane-based technology used to treat wastewater, the scientists extracted nitrogen and phosphorus from urine to create fertilizer.
As the method makes use of electrochemical processes, unwanted substances such as antibiotics, drugs, viruses, and diseases are bound to break down in the reactor or set to flow out with waste urine post-extraction.
Dr. Stefano Freguia, chemical engineering researcher and team lead, is confident about the technology’s various applications.
“The idea is to create a circular economy of nutrients in Australia by re-using human urine as a source of fertilizer that could initially feed the growth of urban farming like hydroponics, but also ultimately supply broadacre agriculture.”
According to him, the bioreactors used within the research remit do not only serve to effectively filter nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus from treated urine but also help save money as the electricity needed for said electrolysis is sourced from chemical energy contained within the urine itself.
Read the complete article at www.waste-management-world.com.