New research by a team at West Virginia University suggests it may be possible to turn “yellow into green” — by recycling urine. Researchers contend that waste flushed away every day is wasted and could benefit the environment all while providing valuable resources and profits.

Once realized, this technology could potentially sit underneath toilets, allowing for quick treatment of urine, subsequently promoting the recovery of nitrogen — a nutrient sold as a fertilizer. Personally, Prof. Orner envisions toilets that separate urine and feces, allowing each separate waste product to be collected, treated, and changed into a useful commercial product (in most cases, as agricultural fertilizer). The most viable way of accomplishing that? Prof. Orner says an approach requiring no power to operate is ideal. This urine-separating toilet’s design would separate solids from liquids, then send the urine to a nutrient recovery unit that’s either located within or attached to the toilet itself, or housed in a residential or commercial basement.

Study authors also stress that speed is of the essence when it comes to large-scale implementation. Since the average toilet typically receives several doses of urine throughout a day, the urine must be treated quickly so that it can be released into another unit, making room for the next “dose.” This is especially vital in a system that’s small enough to attach to a toilet.

Source: Study Finds

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