Circular toilet in Ghent recycles urine of visitors

(06-07-2021) This summer the toilet 'The Place To Pee' recycles the urine of visitors of the Ghent urban recreation area Blaarmeersen. Thanks to an innovative technology the urine is processed into disinfecting flush water and fertilizers for agriculture.

Until the end of September, visitors can visit the circular toilet 'The Place To Pee', next to the central beach building in the Ghent urban recreation area Blaarmeersen. The urine does not automatically flow into the sewer, but is separated and processed via an innovative technology, initially designed for applications in space travel.

"Letting urine get washed away is a waste. Urine contains valuable substances that also burden water purification. Moreover, flushing toilets consumes a lot of water. That is why Hydrohm, a spin-off of Ghent University, invented the innovative URIDIS technology. Through this purification technology, we extract phosphorus and nitrogen from urine and use it as agricultural fertilizers. On the other hand, we produce disinfecting flush water from urine, water and green electricity." Pieter Naert, manager and co-founder of Hydrohm, a Ghent University spin-off

Small act, big impact

The innovative technology has numerous advantages: water savings, a more hygienic toilet, cleaner waste water and the recovery of valuable substances for use in agriculture. To separate the urine, Hydrohm called in the international company Laufen.

“The extraction of phosphorus and the industrial production of nitrogen for use as fertilizers in agriculture have a heavy impact on the environment. That is why we developed the innovative save! technology. The separate collection of urine allows it to be processed efficiently, with a much lower impact on the environment. The toilet still looks the same to visitors, but their small act has a big positive impact on the environment, agriculture and biodiversity in rivers and oceans.” Stephanie Voets, project manager Belgium & Luxemburg Laufen

Ghent Technology Capital in Europe

The demonstration project in the Blaarmeersen fits in with Ghent's ambition to be a leader in cleantech and a circular economy. The City of Ghent wants to further support cleantech, biotech, healthtech and digitech in their growth. To this end, the Ghent City council has set up a spearhead fund of 4.9 million euros. The fund serves as a lever for the Ghent economy and to attract supra-local innovation resources, both public and private, to Ghent.

“This demonstration project shows that Ghent has an enormous wealth of innovative companies. The cooperation of educational and knowledge institutions with companies constantly results in new technologies and applications. Through the spearhead fund, we as a City invest up to 40 percent in innovative projects and living labs within our 4 spearhead clusters. This is how we make the difference for the future and strengthen our ambition to become a Technology Capital in Europe.” Sofie Bracke, alderwoman of Economics City of Ghent
  • The demonstration project 'The Place To Pee' is a collaboration between Hydrohm, Laufen, Ghent University, ESA, MELiSSA, CAPTURE, Spraying Systems Co., Verhaert, TECE, COSMIC, Farys and the City of Ghent.
  • More information about the circular toilet on www.stad.gent/theplacetopee (in Dutch).

 

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