DIY AND HOW TO'S

Urine Filter: Converting Urine into Drinkable Water

Converting Urine into Drinkable Water
Henry Silva
Written by Henry Silva

Hopefully, there will never be a time where you find yourself in a need for filtering your own urine to drink it. This is a life or death situation, most of the time, and if you find yourself trapped in the woods, lost on a hike, or somewhere in the middle of nowhere with no help or supplies, you may need to filter your own urine to stay alive.

While this is not the easiest task, it can keep you alive longer than if you had not filtered it at all. Using a urine filter, you can turn your urine into piss water that is drinkable. Even astronauts have found themselves in the act of filtering their own urine.

Aboard the International Space Station, astronauts have used a urine conversion system for nearly 10 years. With the average person using the restroom 7 times a day, it is no wonder that someone would figure out how to take urine and turn it into clean drinking water. With their prototype, they hope it will be fully used for space travel and within homes.

For astronauts, filtering their urine is important because without it, the space ship would have a lot of excess fluid to hold onto. However, the device that NASA persons came up with is extremely costly and will never be able to be used by everyday people.

Designer Leonardo Manavella has come up with a device that will actually convert your urine into safe drinking water. While it is meant for emergency situations, it is easy to use and is called the H2O Purifier. This device takes away the waste from the water, removing nitrogen and other materials, and will leave clean water at the other end.

h2o urine filter

After all, urine is 95% water. Let us dig into what Leonardo Manavella has started and look into the H2O Purifier a little more.

The features of the H2O Purifier are many, so let us take a deeper look into this intriguing product.

  • Container: This product comes with a container in which you will urinate. The container sits within a stand to keep everything still and in one spot. The container also has all of the gadgets that will make the product work.
  • Pressure: After you have urinated, and are ready to filter the urine into water, this is where you will apply pressure with both of your knees to the side of the device. Applying the knee pressure will allow clean water to flow to the bottom bowl and be ready for consumption.
  • Spout: The spout allows you to drink straight from the canister or allows you to pour the water into another glass. Just be sure there is no excess urine on the outside of the filter.
  • Carbon: Carbon will begin its job once you start urinating, cleaning the urine and allowing it to pass through the micro filter and get cleaned. Carbon is a known cleaning agent, being able to filter what goes through it. Carbon is also used in air filtration.
  • Bacteria: While urine is 5% waste, you still do not want to drink dirty piss water. However, with this product, you can expect “1 a 4 Micrones” left over, which is a small amount.
  • The Ground Method: The ground method that we will speak of later, is another urine filtration system that can be done by hand but is tedious. This involves gaining condensation while keeping out the waste, leaving water that is drinkable. The features of this are that it involves many little items and lots of time, which can be a bad thing.

Urine filters should be only used when there is no option of water and you are in an emergency situation. These are not meant to be a replacement for water intake on a daily basis. Overall, the product is great and works wonders if you are outdoors and have a shortage of drinking water or find yourself in a situation where you may need to filter your urine until you can get safely back to where you need to be.

This product uses carbon filtration and a micro filter to clean the urine and prepare it for consumption. The cylinders on the sides allow you to use your legs to apply pressure for the urine to filter.

h2o urine filter

Once cleaned, the clean urine water will flow into the bottom portion of the device and then be ready to drink via the spout, or poured into a drinking glass. The taste is not the best, but you will prevent your body from dehydrating.

Most other methods of urination filtration make you wait hours, waiting for a buildup of condensation and getting little amounts of water in return. Using a product like the H2O Purifier speeds up the process and allows you to have a larger amount of water versus a few sips over a period of hours.

So, what is another way to turn your urine into water? You can take the long way by doing the following:

  • First, you need to dig a hole where the ground can get sunlight. A plastic sheet, or grocery bag, can be used to put inside of the hole. Here is where a container can sit in the center. The urine should be spread around the sides of the container.
  • When the sun goes down, you can cover the hole with something and secure it with rocks at each end. There will need to be a dip in the center, which will help with condensation and distilling. The heat from the sun will distill the urine and the vapors of water will collect in the container.

This gives you actual clean water versus drinking the urine. But, this process is long and tedious and you must wait a long time to drink your water, which might be hot at first.

Comparing Urine Filter MethodsThe H2O PurifierThe Ground Method
Amount of Time to get the WaterMinutesHours
ConvenienceEasyDifficult
Clean UpEasyMedium
PortabilityEasyNot Portable
Work InvolvedLittleLots
Amount of WaterLotsVery Little

The ground method requires much more work than the H2O Purifier and involves more clean up as you cannot leave your mess sitting in a hole in the ground. It is not safe for the environment or for anyone who may come along and hurt themselves in the hole. You cannot leave your plastic there as animals may eat it or become injured.

One of the best things is that you can grab your H2O Purifier and go, whereas you have to otherwise dig a hole and use the same spot, thus not being able to stray too far. It can easily be taken with you in your gear, whereas bringing along plastic bags and containers can get bulky in your backpack.

For more tips and techniques on how to filter water in a survival situation, read on our piece to be prepared for any eventuality.

What Do Others Think of Urine Filters?

Users who have had experience with urine filters say that they can be messy to use. Some are more convenient like the H2O Purifier and easier to clean. Most urine filtration systems require the use of many items, some that are found in nature to take hours to make urine into little amounts of water.

Users say that modern products work best and allows you to get more water in return. Users like that some filtration systems are easier to clean up and move on. If the process involves several hours or getting too messy, then users must be so inclined to do what they have to in order to survive.

Water Filters, Micropur & Desalinator

Users who use the technique with the ground and producing condensation find that it takes too long to produce water. This can mean that a person will be dehydrating as they wait and could experience dizziness or worse. But they do like this method because it is tried and true and does not cost a thing, even if it can get messy.

Overall, uses like the portability of the H2O Purifier versus the ground method. They could take the device with them wherever they were, instead of using one hole that they took a while to dig.

Using more energy when you are already out of water and becoming dehydrated can be bad for you. This is the time where you would want to conserve all of the energy you have, especially if you are in danger or do not know when you can get to fresh water again.

Pros and Cons of Using a Urine Filter

Most products have a good and bad side. For urine filters, you can tell that there would be some concerns. The H2O Purifier has a few pros and cons listed below.

Pros:

  • Easy to use and stable
  • Easy to convert urine into water by using knees to make the product work by applying pressure
  • Small enough to tote along with you
  • Great for emergency situations
  • Has a carbon filter and micro filter, which optimize the cleanliness
  • Easy to clean up
  • The ground method does give you absolutely clean water that can be consumed.

Cons

  • Can seem gross to use to some people
  • Your water is not going to be 100% clean, but it will be drinkable
  • Some ways of filtration can be tedious and unsanitary
  • The taste leaves something to be desired.
  • The ground method is long and hard
  • The ground method requires a lot of condensation

Wrap Up

You can see how this product would be great in an emergency situation where you are at risk of becoming dehydrated and you have no actual water. This product is fantastic and small, and easy to take along with you camping, hiking, or an outdoor adventure that can last days or weeks. You can also check out essential survival skills in our piece on how to survive in the wilderness without tools or equipment.

How do water filters work

Many filtration ways are easy to use, but some are messy. Consider what is best for you. The H20 Purifier works like a charm and is perfect for those who do not want a mess.

For more tips on how to make your own water filter for any survival situation, check out our article on the topic.

How did we do with the urine filtration? Would you use something like the H2O Purifier? Have you used other urine filtration methods? Tell us your story in the comments, and thanks for reading!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Henry Silva

Henry Silva

Henry was hiking since he was 4. He was lucky enough to be born in Boulder, Colorado and enjoy Rocky Mountain National Park hikes growing up. His favourite is Longs Peak, which rises to 14,259 feet (4,346 m) above sea level. It is the highest point of the park. Henry likes to explore new hikes and spend his spare time in the wilderness.