Friday Funny – pissing away the CO2 alarm

Exquisite sample of urine produced after a lon...

Exquisite sample of urine produced after a long game of chess. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the FECYT – Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology  comes this hilarious bit of news pushed as serious science. I like the idea of a “potion”. It fits right up there with some of the other crazy CO2 sequestration ideas we’ve seen. Sounds like a pee bargain to me.

A urine based ‘potion’ can act as a CO2 absorbent

The ocean, the ground, rocks and trees act as carbon drains but are far from places where greenhouses gases are concentrated, especially CO2. A Spanish researcher has proposed human, agricultural and livestock waste, such as urine, as a way to absorb this gas.

Absorbing the large quantities of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases present in cities would require millions of tonnes of some naturally occurring substance. A study published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials suggests urine as a reactive. As a resource available across all human societies, it is produced in large quantities and is close to the pollution hubs of large cities.

“For every molecule of urea in urine, one mole (a chemical unit used to measure the quantity of a substance) of ammonium bicarbonate is produced along with one mole of ammonia, which could be used to absorb one mole of atmospheric CO2,” as explained to SINC by the author of the study, Manuel Jiménez Aguilar of the Institute of Agricultural and Fisheries Research and Training of the Regional Government of Andalusia.

After absorbing the CO2 another unit of ammonium bicarbonate is produced, which is used in China as a nitrogen fertilizer for 30 years. Jiménez Aguilar points out that “if applied to basic-calcium rich soils this would produce calcium carbonate thus encouraging gas-fixation in the ground.

To avoid the urine from decomposing, the researcher suggests the possibility of including a small proportion of olive waste water (a black, foul-smelling liquid obtained from spinning the ground olive paste). This acts as a preservative. The researcher confirms that “the urine-CO2-olive waste water could be considered an NPK fertilizer (ammonia-nitrate-phosphorous-potassium).”

The result is that the urine mixed with a small percentage of olive waste water can absorb various grams of CO2 per litre in a stable manner and over more than six months. According to Jiménez Aguilar, “CO2 emissions could be reduced by 1%.”

The fluid created can be inserted into domestic and industrial chimneys (reconverted into containers to accumulate the urine-olive waste water mixture) so that the greenhouse gas passes through the liquid, increasing the pressure exerted on the CO2 and thus increasing its absorption capacity.

As the scientist makes clear “these containers or chimneys should have a urine filling and emptying system and a control system to detect when the mixture has become saturated with gas.” When taken out of the chimney, the urine is stored in another container or can be channelled for its distribution and use as an agricultural fertilizer.

Making the most of urine

By applying this methodology as a greenhouse gas absorbent, the way in which industrialised countries use waste water and solid waste would never be the same again. The author hints that the whole water and waste treatment system would be reviewed to adapt newly built areas to a waste recycling and waste management system.

“In developing countries this nutrient recovery system could be implemented thanks to its environmental advantages,” says the expert.

Furthermore, urine recycling in every home would allow for nutrients to be recovered, leading to a lesser need for artificial fertilizers. Jiménez emphasises that “if urine and faeces are recycled there and then, as much as 20 litres of water per person per day could be saved and this would reduce waste water treatment costs.”

The study suggests that urine should be recycled for it to be used as fertilizer liquid and that faeces should be treated with solid organic waste to produce compost or solid fertilizers. The researcher also states in another study that is pending publication that the urine-olive waste water mixture can also be used to reduce the CO2 and NOx emissions of vehicles.

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VIDEO: A Spanish researcher has proposed human, agricultural and livestock waste, such as urine, as a way to absorb CO2.

 

 

Click here for more information.

 

 

References:

Jiménez Aguilar, Manuel. “Urine as a CO2 absorbent” Journal of Hazardous Materials 213: 502-504 DOI: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2012.01.087, 30 April 2012.

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John Ratcliffe

This has got to be someone trying to pull the Skeptics’ chain(s)??
Johnr

Richard deSousa

Is it April Fool’s Day already? 🙂

Luther Wu

Insert urine into chimneys? I don’t think so. Every kid that has ever been around a campfire knows what happens when…

JinOH

Pi$$ on that idea… lol

temp

Ironically this may not be a horrible idea… assuming the maths work out. The problem comes down to logistics.
The only way this would have a hope of breaking even/profiting is if you basically build coal plants in major US cities. That is the only place you can easily get waste on the scale needed. They would then need to create a pipeline to the country to be able to sell the waste without huge cost of transport.
The other option is a hybrid hydroponics system. However as soon as the government goes anywhere near such a system it will cost 5x more then it should.
Without government involved(which is pretty much impossible) this idea might have some merit. However currently its just pie in the sky theory right now.

Maus

Excellent. From now on I’m not going out to the bar so I can walk home on my lips. I’m sequestering carbon and raising fuel costs for all those planet destroyers that think 80 proof should be automotive fuel.
And I no longer have to worry about catching a felony sex charge for dropping trou and relieving my bladder by a dumpster on the way home. If a friendly member of the local constabulary should inquire as to my behaviour I shall simply inform him that I am fixating carbon dioxide to save the planet for him and his offspring.
Though I imagine the uniformed sort would start calling a breathalyzer sustainable wind-powered energy generation. In fact, I wonder if someone hasn’t gotten around to patenting the idea yet.

View from the Solent

This is taking the p*ss.

DanJ

The author either has a subtle sense of humor or is seriously loco in la cabasa. Urea, the primary waste product in human urine, has a formula of NH2-CO-NH2 so that, when it reacts with water, it forms ammonium carbonate and ammonia-a gas that readily dissolves in water. If you’ve ever had to open a diaper bucket (before the Luv generation) you’re well aware of this reaction as the ammonia rush can be strong enough to knock you back. To make his system work, you would have to insure that the ammonia remains in solution and introduce CO2 over the solution so it can react to form more ammonium carbonate. Good luck on that one. You can make his idea work but , I don’t think there’s much olive waste lying around most of the world and the smell of decomposing urine is not one of my favorites. Essentially, he’s proposing that we make every urban area-big producers of both CO2 and urine-into the urban equivalent of a industrial pig farm. I guess no sacrifice is too much to defeat that bogeyman CO2. It really pisses me off.

Gunga Din

I sure hope that none my tax dollars (US) went into this study. Talk about money down the drain!

dearieme

I’m not clear whether you use the urine after you’ve washed your face with it.

Amr marzouk

What is Spanish for” pull the other leg.”?

Gunga Din

Even if there was a need to do something like this, it would require a doubling the wastewater plumbing and wastewater plants. How else are you going to separate urine from the rest of what goes down the drain? Every bathroom would need two “thrones”. Jumping (scooting?) from one to the other depending on what was going on? Flush that!

polistra

Hey! Leave us alone. We are fighting with the evil CO2 with their own weapons, stinking urine. It’s a winning move. Oh, god!

Joachim Seifert

Everybody has to bring a bucket full to the municipal collection center…..
There are 50 gallon drums and funnels waiting. For each bucket, you will
get one carbon pollution credit point and with 365 points you are allowed
to breeze 1 full year…. no problem at all….we do all things the green way…..

dave38

Amr marzouk says:
August 17, 2012 at 3:21 pm
What is Spanish for” pull the other leg.”?
“tire de la otra pierna”

Werner Brozek

“For every molecule of urea in urine, one mole (a chemical unit used to measure the quantity of a substance) of ammonium bicarbonate is produced along with one mole of ammonia, which could be used to absorb one mole of atmospheric CO2,”
A mole is 6.022 x 10^23. So one molecule of urea produces 6.022 x 10^23 molecules of ammonium bicarbonate? That is more than the number of stars in the universe! Something smells!

John Ratcliffe

First time I get to be first comment, and it has to be a piss-take article. Sheesh!!!!!
[Not only that, but you weren’t first. ~dbs, mod.]

Steve Tabor

As a lifelong environmentalist, I’ve always been irritated at being forced to pollute our sewer system (and ultimately the ocean when the sewer overflows) with noxious liquid waste. I’ve always wanted to fertilize the plants instead with these pure and nourishing fluids. As a public service. I’ve been able to do this out in the dry and barren desert, at least when I can identify certain plants that I feel definitely deserve what I have to offer (not all that I see do qualify). Now it just may become socially acceptable to “sequester” my concerns in this way in the urban zone as well, as was already eloquently stated by another commenter above.
It’s nice to see warmers now “thinking outside the bowl”, if not “outside the box”. Luckily the local Italian restaurant uses its unwanted “olive black” as fertilizer in the flower beds in front of the building. I’ll be watching for the phizzz, just in case the chemical reaction starts prematurely. I’ll be ready to run if I see a pot smoker or a Bogart-type coming by, also environmentally responsible, reluctant to throw a still smoldering butt or blunt into the gutter.

Ethically Civil

New slogan for the alarmists: “Recycle your carbon or urine real trouble!”

GeoLurking

Werner Brozek says:
August 17, 2012 at 3:48 pm
“For every molecule of urea in urine…”
I really hope that is a typo.
As Werner Brozek says:
“…So one molecule of urea produces 6.022 x 10^23 molecules of ammonium bicarbonate? ”
If they intended “mol of urea” it might make sense, if not, they are creating something from nothing.

William Martin in NZ

Nah,they’re pissing into the wind.

Greg House

“A Spanish researcher has proposed human, agricultural and livestock waste, such as urine, as a way to absorb this gas.”
=============================================
We should double our pissing immediately!
Do not just take a piss, take two!
Let us piss the “warming” away!
LOL

Curiousgeorge

Budweiser is going to love this! 🙂

Werner Brozek says:
August 17, 2012 at 3:48 pm

“For every molecule of urea in urine, one mole (a chemical unit used to measure the quantity of a substance) of ammonium bicarbonate is produced along with one mole of ammonia, which could be used to absorb one mole of atmospheric CO2,”
A mole is 6.022 x 10^23. So one molecule of urea produces 6.022 x 10^23 molecules of ammonium bicarbonate? That is more than the number of stars in the universe! Something smells!

I’m not familiar with the chemistry, but “mole” would read a lot better than molecule. it even sounds like what DanJ is describing.
Of course, if molecule is right, then I’d be glad to support a foreign aid project where the USA makes enough molecule of urea to provide every man woman and child two molecules (to have a spare if they lose the first) or more and ship them to each federal government for distribution.

David Ross

View from the Solent wrote:
“This is taking the p*ss.”
For the benefit of non-Brits.
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=taking%20the%20piss
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taking_the_piss
And for the benefit of fellow Brits: maybe we should call this one “Taking the micturition”.
P.S. Apparently, my local airport use the stuff (obtained from pig farms) as anti-freeze for runways.

John Ratcliffe

John Ratcliffe says:
August 17, 2012 at 2:57 pm
John Ratcliffe says:
August 17, 2012 at 3:49 pm
First time I get to be first comment, and it has to be a piss-take article. Sheesh!!!!!
[Not only that, but you weren’t first. ~dbs, mod.]
@dbs – mod
If not me, then who was first???
Johnr

John Ratcliffe

Apologies for being O/T.

Jimbo

Why would any sane person want to extract co2 from the atmosphere over this century? Greenhouse growers do not wait 88 years but more than double c02 in their greenhouses overnight and sustain it for faster growing veggies. What’s the problem? Even our very own biosphere has greened for decades now, why is this bad? Drought bad, green bad, what do Greens want?

Jeffrey Ziegler

I think the urine/olive waste water mixture could be better used by aging it in oak for 10 years and selling it as an expensive aperitif.

Ed MacAulay

OK so if we promote more beer drinking will that help?
I remember an old quote about how much nitrogen human urine contains for corn.
“Every day, Americans excrete about 90 million gallons of urine. That day’s urine contains an estimated seven million pounds of nutrients in the form of nitrogen. By some estimates, that’s enough to fertalize up to 31,963 acres of corn for an entire year. And over one year, Americans “piss away” enough nitrogen to fertalize almost 12 million acres of corn — about twice the corn grown in Indiana.” http://www.concordma.com/magazine/autumn08/nitrogencycle.html
“A study out of Finland has found that plants fertilized with urine performed four times as well as nonfertilized plants and just as well as plants given commercial mineral fertilizer.” “And more good news was that the study’s panel of 20 taste tasters found no taste difference between mineral or urine fertilized tomatoes.”
That was for tomatoes but any family garden should do. Remember for any healthy person, that urine is sterile so no reason not to take the family out to the garden before bedtime.

Up here, one of the recommended solutions for gardeners with lilac bushes that are not doing well is to occasionally relieve yourself on them. Kind of bothers the neighbors, though. Cheers –

The whole thread reminds me of an old aviation story out of the SW US in the late 1970s. One night someone on frequency in Albuquerque Center dropped the F-bomb. Center controller immediately keyed his mike and demanded to know who dropped the F-Bomb, only he used the actual word. There was a moment of silence and the airliners started checking in with: ABQ Center, United 546 didn’t say f*** on the radio; Delta 1677 didn’t say f*** on the radio; and so on. It went on for nearly a half hour. EVERYBODY on frequency made the call. Flights who had checked out to the next sector checked back in and relayed the same message after hearing about it on company freq.
This reminds me of the story because once you start talking about urine, the natural progression is to see what we see above. Funny stuff, though. Cheers –

RACookPE1978

Werner Brozek says:
August 17, 2012 at 3:48 pm
“For every molecule of urea in urine, one mole (a chemical unit used to measure the quantity of a substance) of ammonium bicarbonate is produced along with one mole of ammonia, which could be used to absorb one mole of atmospheric CO2,”
A mole is 6.022 x 10^23. So one molecule of urea produces 6.022 x 10^23 molecules of ammonium bicarbonate? That is more than the number of stars in the universe! Something smells!

Er, uhm, ahhhh. Sort of.
Yes, one “mole” of anything of that molecular weight is 6.022 x 10^22 molecules: 2 grams of hydrogen (at STP), 12 grams of carbon, 28 grams of nitrogen (at STP)32 grams of oxygen (at STP), 56 grams of iron, 235 grams of pure Uranium235 (or 238 grams of pure U238) , etc. all have one “mole” of molecules in them.
So one mole of nitrogen (N2, a gas at STP with 6.022 x10^22 molecules) will combine with the proper ratios of the other elements to produce your one mole of urea, which will have 6.022 x 10^22 molecules. In reverse, one mole of the urea will break down into the other elements: one mole of nitrogen, two moles of hydrogen, one mole of carbon, 1/2 mole of oxygen.
One molecule of urea CO(NH2)2 can only break down into two atoms of nitrogen, one atom of carbon, one atom of oxygen, four atoms of hydrogen.

Greg House

After reading that study, communists are going to change their well known slogan from “Workers of the world, unite!” to “Workers of the world, urinate!”.

Gail Combs

OH,WOW!
I wonder how much Al Gore will pay for my manure pile…..
I wonder if I can get Mikey Mann and Jummy Hansen to muckout my stalls for the good of mother Gaia.

gringojay

Sweden mixed aged community of 160 people annual yield = 78 cubic meters urine which gave
285 Kg. nitrogen (N) + 24.5 Kg. phosphorus (P) + 79 Kg. potassium (K); the nitrogen form converts at 80% efficiency which would give plants 217 Kg. nitrogen/yr. Generally 1 liter of urine said to contain 11 gr. N & 0.8 gr. P & 2 gr. K and an adult pees +/- 1.5 liters daily.
When put urine (being +/- 59% urea) directly on ground growing site the urea -> ammonia -> acted on by nitrosomes -> nitrite ions (which can be root toxic, like see where dog pee burned grass) & some nitrite ions acted on by topsoil nitrobacter -> plant assimilable nitrate. That open field conversion should take less than 2 weeks. Gardeners find it safer to use aged urine because standing urine in a few days hydrolyses the nitrogen component ( NH2CONH2 & 2H2O -> NH3 & NH4+ & HCO3- ). African experiments were successful in augmenting the urine potassium (K) content by fermenting urine with banana peel &/or comfrey leaf. There are also procedures to extract the urine’s phosphorus (P) as crystals of Struvite (NH4)MgPO4.6(H2O) with bittern leftover from NaCl salt pan evaporation.
Cow urine is useful for crop applications controlling bacterial leaf blight, fusarium wilt, helminthosporium leaf spot & ripe rot. Hindus have a tradition that cow urine removes sin & the rear of the cow is where Maha Lakshmi manifests. Camel urine is recently reported to have nano-particles with beneficial implications for human health. Human urine is a bush remedy for dropsy; someone gives their urine to person who has urine stoppage to induce urination.

Luther Wu

Ed MacAulay says:
August 17, 2012 at 5:15 pm
…urine is sterile so no reason not to take the family out to the garden before bedtime.
______________________________
gringojay says:
August 17, 2012 at 6:27 pm
When put urine (being +/- 59% urea) directly on ground…
_________________________________
For application as fertilizer, human urine needs dilution in addition to “aging” to prevent the build- up of salts, otherwise good to go.

Luther Wu

Gail Combs says:
August 17, 2012 at 6:11 pm
OH,WOW!
I wonder how much Al Gore will pay for my manure pile…..
I wonder if I can get Mikey Mann and Jummy Hansen to muckout my stalls for the good of mother Gaia.
_________________________
When Jim retires, see if he’ll hire out as your pilot. Just tell him “whatever you find in that stall, pilot outside”.

barryjo

Out here in flyover country, the local “honey wagons” (the trucks that pump out septic tanks) are more than happy to spread their “load” on farm fields. Otherwise, I hear the city charges them to unload into the sanitary sewer system. A win-win.

David Davidovics

This isn’t much of a joke. Diesel exhaust fluid is already required for many late model diesel vehicles. DEF is made of roughly 1/3 urea and 2/3 water.
One of many reasons I drive an older mechanical injected diesel.

Werner Brozek

Ric Werme says:
August 17, 2012 at 4:56 pm
Of course, if molecule is right, then I’d be glad to support a foreign aid project where the USA makes enough molecule of urea to provide every man woman and child two molecules (to have a spare if they lose the first) or more and ship them to each federal government for distribution.

They obviously meant mole and not molecule. It is also obvious the WUWT team did not peer review this. However even if we had a mole of urea, CO(NH2)2, and distributed it evenly among Earth’s 7 billion people, each person would get about 6 x 10^23/7 x 10^9 = 9 x 10^13 molecules. This sound like a lot, but with a molar mass of 60 g/mol, and with each person getting 1/(7 x 10^9) of a mole, the total mass each person would get is about 10^-8 grams.
(P.S. Thank you RA, but it should be 6.02 x 10^23 and not 10^22.)

Mike M

After stealing so much money from us to “combat climate change” I’m surprised they actually think anyone has a pot left to pee in!

eyesonu

Keep an eye on the pee under the thimble with this one.

Gunga Din

Ric Werme says:
August 17, 2012 at 4:56 pm
Of course, if molecule is right, then I’d be glad to support a foreign aid project where the USA makes enough molecule of urea to provide every man woman and child two molecules (to have a spare if they lose the first) or more and ship them to each federal government for distribution.
==================================================================
What would the slogan for such a program be?
“A pissin’ in every pot!”?
Would it be promoted by yellow journalism?

Would this be better named “peequestration” ?

RoHa

@ Ed MacAulay
Sorry!
I love the idea of being able to tell my wife that I am drinking to save the world. The trouble is that beer production involves both yeast (which not only pees alcohol but also farts CO2) and energy to heat the mash. If it isn’t direct solar heating, it will probably cause more CO2 to be produced that the resultant urine would absorb..
Damn!
Heating is also needed for making tea, but the production of the leaves is photosynthesis, so maybe tea drinking is, overall, CO2 negative. Since tea is a great diuretic, that might be the one to encourage. We will have a CO2-free atmosphere in no time.

Patrick Davis

“Ed MacAulay says:
August 17, 2012 at 5:15 pm”
Far too many years ago I care to remember my mum once told me her father, my gramps, used to do exactly this to, in particula, his tomato plants. So, in effect, he had already developed CO2 sequestration technologies by being nitrogenous in his greenhouse.

meltemian

Yes, over here I’ve heard it’s good to pee on your herb bed. Mind you that could have something to do with “Greek Plumbing”!!!
……we’ve got lots of olives too, this could be the answer to our financial problems.

Steve C

Well, I’ve known a fair few people down the years who have peed on their compost heaps. As Luther Wu points out (7pm) you need dilution and aging for best results, which the heap provides, and the results those people achieved were generally pretty good. Presumably it was the little beasties in the heap which kept the ammonia smell down. None of these gardeners ever mentioned CO2, though.
I have an uneasy feeling that my assessment of this practice might count as “pee-er review”.