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Human urine transformed into agricultural fertilizer.

Each year, more than 18 million tons of mineral fertilizers are used in Europe. The most imported fertilizers are nitrogen (29%), phosphorus (58%) and potassium (78%).

For example, France imports all its fertilizers: nitrogen comes mainly from OPEC countries, and as for phosphorus, a majority comes from Morocco, which holds 80% of the reserves.

© Marie Fontaine -

Rich in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, human urine would therefore be the key to developing affordable bio-agricultural solutions.

Convinced of the benefits of this inexhaustible resource, Toopi Organics, a young French company founded by Michael Roes and his associate Pierre Huguier, embarked on the adventure in 2019 in recycling and valorizing urine into agricultural biofertilizer and bacterial products for industry.

A few years later, the startup is in the industrialization phase of its solutions and opened its first plant near Bordeaux in early June 2022.

In addition to the circular economy approach for the benefit of a more responsible agriculture, the project also aims to promote sustainable management of water resources, contaminated by urine.

"Every year in Europe, 6,000 billion liters of drinking water are contaminated by 200 billion liters of urine", the company said.

Toopi Organics collects, processes and recycles human urine. To collect it, the company has installed waterless men's and women's toilets in public areas, highway rest areas, schools, festivals, etc., and then uses a patented low-tech process that generates no waste to clean the urine.

The urine collected by the company is filtered upstream to eliminate all macro-waste: dust, hair...

Sugar is added to this naturally nitrogen-rich medium. The temperature and the pH are adapted.

Then, bacteria with very specific roles are added in order to multiply. Some allow the plants to capture phosphorus from the soil or atmospheric nitrogen more easily without having to use chemical fertilizers. Others can act as insecticides, pesticides or fungicides.

Credit: Toopi Organics
Credit: Toopi Organics

One liter of urine produces one liter of these biostimulants, which do not directly bring minerals to the plants as fertilizers do, but help the plants to fertilize themselves by improving their capacities.

In addition to providing fertilizer to the soil, urine is an excellent growing medium for microorganisms.

Urine is thus transformed into a range of products for farmers but also for other industries.

Their first industrial human urine production plant located near Bordeaux, France, is capable of processing 250,000 liters of urine per year.

"Our innovation is part of a circular, local and replicable model; our urine recycling process is energy and resource efficient and produces NO waste. All activities (collection, processing, use) are located within a 150 km radius. The urine is collected in urban areas and the bioproducts are distributed in rural areas," says Michael Roes.

Urine is now a natural, more efficient and less expensive alternative for farmers!

Over the next five years, Toopi Organics aims to install new urine recovery units in some 20 French cities.

The company also has ongoing international partnerships with Belgium, Benin and Kenya.


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