Industrial Consultancy & Sponsored Research (IC&SR) , IIT Madras

Technology Category/ Market

Technology:; Onsite Urine Treatment Unit

Industry: Environment Engineering, Waste Treatment, Waste Management;

Applications: Waste management-treatment;

Market: The global external urine management market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 4.9%  during 2023-2030.

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Problem Statement

  • Generally, major sources of nutrient like nitrogen, potassium & phosphorous in wastewater is from urine & accumulation of the minerals & nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium) in surface water due to poor wastewater management leads to eutrophication (algal bloom) in the surface waters, making them unusable.
  • Further there are a few prior art discussed which does not disclosed about the integrated treatment unit used for recovering nutrients from urine. Hence, there is a need an improved system & method.


  • The present invention describes a system and process for recovering water & nutrients from urine.
  • The System includes a urine storage tank, a hydrolysis tank, a distillation column, a steam generator, a condenser, a struvite reactor & an electrochemical reactor.
  • The hydrolysis tank is configured to hydrolyse urea present in urine to ammonium & bicarbonate.
  • The distillation column convert ammonium to gaseous ammonia at temp>100⁰C at operating pressure < 0.5 bar.
  • Said steam generator is configured to generate steam into the distillation column.
  • Said condenser is configured to condense gaseous ammonia to liquid ammonia & obtained depleted urine.
  • Said struvite reactor is configured to obtained ammonia & phosphate depleted urine.
  • The Electrochemical reactor is configured to degrade pollutants in the depleted urine to the top of the reactor.
  • The process for recovering water & nutrients from urine is depicted in the figures. (Refer FIGs 1,2, 3 & 4)

Key Features/ Value Proposition

Technical Perspective:

  • The distillation column convert ammonium to gaseous ammonia at temp>100⁰C at operating pressure < 0.5 bar.
  • The ammonium recovered is 95%.
  • The percentage recovery of phosphate in the struvite reactor is in a range of 95-98.
  • Finally, the pollutant is an antibiotic & the reduction achieved is from a level of 1014 ppb or less to undetectable levels.
  • The ammonia & phosphate depleted urine is transferred to an electrochemical reactor to degrade pollutants in urine & recover water.

Industrial Perspective:

  • It’s an ecofriendly, cost-effective advanced integrated system & process for recovering of water & nutrients/green chemicals from human & mammal.
  • User friendly system with recovery of enhanced nutrients;
  • Required minimal energy consumption.

Questions about this Technology?

Contact For Licensing

Research Lab

Prof. Indumathi M Nambi,

Department of Civil Engineering.

Intellectual Property

  • IITM IDF Ref. 2099

  • IN Patent No: 411075

Technology Readiness Level


 Proof of Concept ready, tested in lab.

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