UPR has successfully developed a bio-electrochemical method using urease for wastewater treatment. Urease is an enzyme that catalyzes the ureolysis reaction and has been used to remove urea.
The objective of this project is to obtain a urea/ammonia free solution that can be later treated by reverse osmosis to eliminate the rest of the components of urine and obtain water.
The bacteria P. vulgaris will produce the urease that converts the urea to ammonia, then the ammonia will be oxidized into N2 and water on square wave treated platinum particles. We will monitor the bacterial production of ammonia for the systems, in which a potential is applied to the platinum electrode to oxidize the ammonia produced by the bacteria.
This research will use microorganisms to treat wastewater at the next level; the combination of microorganisms with electrocatalysts will ensure the complete oxidation of nitrogenated species that are contained in wastewater. The treated wastewater can later be either returned to the land or sent into the Assembly Wastewater Bioreactor/Energy Device.