Urine technology, powered by a urine converter named ‘GreenBox’, has been proposed by Professor Gerardine Botte for future Mars missions. Gerardine Botte has invented GreenBox. Botte is the director of Ohio University’s Center for Electrochemical Engineering Research.
GreenBox is one of the finalists in a Mars One competition and is a device that converts urine into energy and water. The Ohio University scientist expects that her ‘pee power’ technology will persuade the astronauts of future Mars missions to consume their own waste.
Botte came to know that hydrogen and water can be taken out of urine at the time of working on a fuel-cell technology in 2002. The fuel-grade can be utilized to charge small electronic devices like MP3 players.
Afterward, she made and trademarked the GreenBox. The US Department of Defense acquired GreenBox, that converts urine into energy and water and it was bought for a project associated with wastewater treatment. GreenBox is a system of tubes due to which urine gets converted into a small amount of energy and potable water.
About 20 ml of urine gets converted into 16 ml of water, leaving hydrogen and nitrogen as byproducts. Then, a fuel cell in the box captured some of those byproducts and it harnesses 53% of the energy from the urine.
The competition provides the chance to scientists and engineers around the globe to see their technology utilized in a future Mars mission. About 35 universities submitted designs to the competition and Mars One has opened the vote up to users of social media to decide a winner. On December 31, voting will be closed and the winner will be announced on January 5.
“Who wouldn’t dream to contribute at least a tiny piece to the success to explore other planets?” said Botte. She also hopes that her project will help carry on Ohio’s tradition of invention and innovation with regards to aviation.