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News Picks : ISS may one day generate power from astronauts' urine

By: Physics Today
14 April 2014
Science: Because water is such a valuable commodity on the International Space Station, all wastewater gets recycled through a process of filtering and distilling. About 81% of that wastewater comes from urine. Whereas current processes can recover only 75% of the water, NASA is working to improve the technique and increase the recovery percentage to 85% by next year and to 100% eventually. In addition, rather than dispose of the urea, a nitrogen-rich compound in urine, researchers are experimenting with a new process to convert it to ammonia and use it to power a battery-like fuel cell. Although the amount of electrical power generated is small so far, researchers are working to improve the output.


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