An alternative to artificial fertilizers?
The scientists from Reach Earth Institute in Vermont were seeking for an effective fertilizer, which is not manufactured synthetically. Their immediate pick was at urine.
First experiments proved successful
In 2012 the team initiated a field trial. The scientists believed that if urine contains nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous, it may be used for enriching soil. The mineral elements were obtained from the residue present in water treatment plants. The first experiment involved using 600 gallons of urine. The test results were promising, as the efficiency of cereals fertilized in this manner was twice as high as in the areas where cultivated crops were not fertilized.
What the future holds
In 2013 the volunteers provided 3000 gallons of urine. REI staff are preparing another trial, in which as many as 6000 gallons are to be used. According to experts, if the Americans produce 30 billion gallons of urine, they might provide 5 kilograms of fertilizer per person. There are plans to develop drugs based on minerals present in human waste. The application of urine as a fertilizer is possible on a local scale. Nevertheless, practical application of this solution on truly large farms remains a challenge.