|Marco Foronda |||Dec 29, 2014 05:43 AM EST|
A technology that can convert human urine into drinkable water could be sent to Mars with astronauts who lead the way to the Red Planet on the Mars One mission.
Gerardine Botte of Ohio University's Center for Electrochemical Engineering Research has high hopes that "pee power" technology will convince astronauts on Mars to drink their own waste.
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Botte realized hydrogen and water can be taken out of urine while working on fuel-cell technology in 2002. This fuel-grade hydrogen generated from fuel-cell technology has the capacity to charge small electronic devices like MP3 players.
Human urine will be carried along with the technology during an unmanned flight to Mars in 2018 to determine if it'll be effective in the 2025 mission that will carry humans to the Red Planet. The system could also effectively remove nitrogen from urine.
Botte has trademarked GreenBox, which is a metal box that does the magic of converting urine into energy and water.
In 2012, the U.S. Department of Defense bought GreenBox for a project related to wastewater treatment. The Urine GreenBox is expected to convert 20 milliliters of urine carried from Earth into about 16 mililiters of clean water.
The hydrogen produced by the GreenBox will be paired with a fuel cell to demonstrate a rate of energy recovery of about 53 percent.
The proposed system will include the capability to measure the amount of clean water produced, hydrogen produced, nitrogen produced, energy produced, and basic sensors to test the quality of the water.
Ohio University will build the project via the Center for Electrochemical Engineering Research and using the same team that initially developed the technology for military purposes.
Trying the technology on Mars is significant because of varied gravity levels, which could cause the technology to operate differently than it does on Earth.
Researchers believe this technology will pan out for use in space travel because of the success of the Urine GreenBox used by the Department of Defense.
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