Emma T. Gaskell

Pee Tea

Filtering Human Pee into Drinking Water

Sure, you've heard of recycling waste into energy and peeing in the shower to save water. But have you heard of filtering pee into pure drinking water?


Distillery/Filter System - NASA's Water Recovery System - www.universetoday.com NASA

In the early years of Y2K, NASA decided they needed to find a more efficient way to keep their astronauts well hydrated while in space. Their solution? Filtering the astronauts' urine into pure drinking water.

On earth, this has been successfully done when adding heat to urine. The high temperatures separate the toxins from the liquid and produces pure water due to gravity, through evaporation. In space, however, the toxins remain in the liquid because of the lack of gravitational pull. So, a new idea was needed.

A distiller and filter system was formed to separate contaminates from pure water. Prior to the urine filtration system, an astronaut's only source for clean water was by space shuttle delivery. You can imagine that this is not your average convenient pizza delivery but one that only happens every so often for obvious expense reasons. Not so practical.
In addition to the filters, a distiller is used to spin the liquid, similar to the motion of a tire on a fast moving vehicle. The spinning generates heat, causing steam to form in the center of the distiller, mean while forcing the toxins to the outside of the spiral. A pump is then used to suck the steam through a filter.

Throughout these past few years this technology has been improved both functionally and physically. A new and lighter device has been said to filter urine into a sugary fluid like that of a sports drink to help hydrate the astronauts after a more strenuous activity. This transformation of pee to sugary drink substance, takes place over a short 4-6 hour time span, within a small plastic bag.

Canadian Space Agency/NASA Astronaut Chris Hadfield demonstrates how the new and improved water purifier is utilized.

A resourceful device, such as a urine purifier, is something that will likely take many years of adjusting and tweeking to conquer perfection. Once it has been proven functional, water purifying will have endless possibilities on earth and beyond!

Despite this almost unimaginable invention, we can never underestimate the world of comedians interacting within the excitement offering the world a bit of comic relief . FunnyorDie.com contributed their part to the ingenious, world changing invention.