When I first heard about this next “urinvention”, I almost peed my pants… almost. Suddenly the value of my urine had increased, so I used that knowledge to create a surge of extra tension in my pelvic muscles to stop the flow.
Believe it or not, people have figured out how to use animal and human urine in ways that can significantly improve the quality of our lives.
The waste product that we unconsciously fill our toilets with on a daily basis, sometimes responsible for giving people ‘golden showers’, has proven itself useful in numerous ways that can notably improve human life on earth. It turns out urine is not a waste product at all, and it holds great promise for us if we can lift the current cultural taboo about it.
Here is a list of 7 surprising and practical uses for urine:
1. Heating your Home
Architecture and Urban Design Laboratory at Keio University in Tokyo, Japan created an award-winning experimental dwelling that is actually heated by urine. The Co+Labo department creation is enough to shelter two humans, and two horses, in a home heated by the thermal energy produced during the fermentation of horse urine. After the fermentative energy has all been used up, the ammonia is absorbed using charcoal, and the remaining nutrient-dense urine is used as a potent fertilizer for the plants around the house… which brings me to our next use.
2. A Rich Organic Fertilizer
In a project by the Rich Earth Institute of Brattleboro, Vermont, the organization is testing human urine as a replacement for chemical fertilizers. Urine contains nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium — essential plant nutrients that are usually mined from the earth or the air for agricultural use.
After Jay Bailey, owner of Fair Wind Farms, volunteered a few hay fields for the initial stages of the project in 2012, a human urine solution was spread over the crops and at harvest time, the urine-treated fields were twice as productive as unfertilized controls.
UK art student Peter Trimble invented what he calls the Dupe stool – a compostable seat made only of bacteria, sand, and urine.
Using a machine which he fabricated himself for the production of the Dupe stool, the result is a low-cost, low-energy sandstone design that is completely biodegradable and can be used as fertilizer when its usefulness as a stool expires.
4. Virgin Eggs
A bizarre culinary delicacy from China, “Virgin Eggs” are made by boiling chicken eggs in urine collected from boys under the age of 10.
With origins in the city of Dongyang, these eggs are traditionally consumed as a snack to celebrate the arrival of spring, and is said to have superb nutritional qualities that boost the immune system.
5. Creating Artificial Teeth
Artificial teeth have been constructed using everything from animal bones, wood, or even gold, like Harry in the movie Home Alone. Scientists have now figured out a way to create teeth made from… yep, you guessed it, urine. Urine teeth were invented by a team of researchers at the Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health. The process they invented involves the growth of miniscule tooth-like structures from the stem cells that they were able to harvest from urine.
6. Powering Cell Phones
The world’s first pee-powered cell phone was developed by a team of scientists at Bristol Robotics Laboratory. It is one-up on both solar and wind power systems because this “urinvention” will work even on a cloudy, wind-free day. Based on fuel cells which gather energy from the fermentation process, electricity is generated as a by-product.
7. Energy Generation
When I first heard about this next “urinvention”, I almost peed my pants… almost. Suddenly the value of my urine had increased, so I used that knowledge to create a surge of extra tension in my pelvic muscles to stop the flow of urine.
A group of four 15-year-old Nigerian girls have developed an energy generator that produces 6 hours of power from one liter of urine. Presented at Maker Faire Africa, the device uses an electrolytic cell that separates hydrogen from the urine, then purifies it, and sends it through a cylinder containing liquid borax. The borax is the final stage, and it eliminates humidity from the hydrogen so it can be cleanly burnt by combustion engine.