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Breakthrough: Drinking Water Made From Urine




Bio-engineers at Ghent University have developed a water purification process to recover pure water and fertilisers from urine. They’re testing their solar-powered installation on the urinals at this year’s Gentse Feesten.

Urine contains 70% of all useful fertilisers in wastewater but makes up only 1% of the total volume of wastewater. Instead of diluting it and disposing of it in sewers, the Ghent installation will filter it at the urinals.

As the concept works on solar power, it’s ideal for summer festivals, which suffer from logistical problems concerning wastewater. The researchers also aim to introduce the installation in developing countries where farmers often have little access to commercial fertilisers, resulting in loss of harvest. If local farmers were able to recover fertilisers and water from urine, agriculture could be organised more sustainably and locally.

The urinals are a project of the Centre for Advanced Process Technology for Urban Resource recovery, which gathers experts from various backgrounds to use resources from waste streams. Last year the centre created a beer called From Sewer to Brewer on the basis of recycled waste water. The purified water from the urinals might also be used to create a new version of this beer.

Culled from the Bulletin, Belgium

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