Amsterdam’s Public Urinals to Turn Pee into Food
Fertiliser without phosphorous is kind of like coffee without caffeine.
Solar panels, windmills and hydroelectricity, please stand aside. It’s time to introduce the latest in renewable energy sources: urine power. That’s right, if you’ve been feeling helpless in the battle against climate Armageddon, you can now take action — simply by, well, doing a wee. The trick is, it’ll only count if you do it in Amsterdam — and in public.
A Netherlands’ utilities company by the name of Waternet has set up a bunch of pee-collecting urinals in the Dutch capital. Their plan is to send the fluid to a recovery plant, where the all-important phosphorus will be filtered out and transformed into struvite fertiliser. From there, it’ll be transported to farms and flower gardens.
Fertiliser without phosphorous is kind of like coffee without caffeine — lacking the crucial kick. Even though phosphorus is, in and of itself, a renewable resource, modern agricultural access to it depends largely on phosphate rock reserves. Given that they’ve taken millions of years to form, they’re very much finite.
But the good news is that, according to several studies, one individual’s urine delivers sufficient nutrients to grow food for themselves, as well as meet 50-100 percent of the dietary needs of another person. In that sense, Waternet is merely tapping into the biological processes that have kept us alive for thousands of years.
Published on March 11, 2014 by Jasmine Crittenden