Meet Hlumelo Marepula: Groundbreaking Research by SA Engineer Turns Human Urine Into Fertilizer South Africa


  • UCT MSc Candidate Hlumelo Marepula’s Research into Turning Human Urine into Usable Fertilizer Could Become a Cost-Effective Alternative for Farmers
  • The civil engineer collected urine from the UCT bathrooms which was given before processing and mixing it with ethanol
  • The urea-ethanol solution would recrystallize, ultimately creating a fertilizer that could soon become a valuable commodity.

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A civil engineer, Hlumelo Marepula’s ultimate goal is to transform human urine into usable fertilizer. It will inevitably become a valuable commodity that helps the planet as well as a profitable alternative for farmers.

The UCT master’s candidate recently received an award for making a urea-ethanol solution. His groundbreaking research recrystallized urea-ethanol solution to produce urea or fertilizer and eventually diesel engine fluid with a by-product of water.

Marepula began his research by exploring whether the use of human urine in the production of jet fuel would be feasible. She did so under the direction of Associate Professor Dyllon Randall. His work eventually evolved to focus more on turning human urine into fertilizer.

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Urea can be described as a raw material used to produce a number of chemicals, it is also a nitrogen rich fertilizer, more than 90% of the synthetic urea on the planet is currently used as a fertilizer.

Inspired young woman turns urine fertilizer
Hlumelo Marepula’s research into transforming human urine into fertilizer has been described as “groundbreaking.” Image: Hlumelo Marepula
Source: Facebook

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According to UCT website, Marepula hopes to change Africa’s agricultural industry. She explained that fertilizers for food production remain scarce in Africa due to the fact that synthetic fertilizers are often unaffordable for small farmers.

A report of Business intern explained that when Marepula realized that urea could be used as a fertilizer, she took action. It aims to solve the problems of the agricultural industry as it will then be able to cope with the food shortages / insecurities that plague the continent.

Urine for Marepula’s research was collected from UCT bathrooms where waterless urinals were installed – people donated their urine (s) to the project. The urinals were taken to a lab when filled and were treated before being mixed with ethanol.

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Meet the incredible Dr Sebopetsa, recipient of the 2021 Global Principal Award

In other inspiring news, Brief News reported that an extraordinary educator was recognized by a panel of his peers. The incredible Mr. Ngwako Stephen Sebopetsa is the winner of the Global Principal Award 2021.

Heading to their official website, the South African Council of Educators thanked the principal of Limpopo for his dedication to the profession. The prestigious award saw Dr Sebopetsa beat competitors from across the country.

“Dr Sebopetsa is the principal of Rathaga Primary School in Ga Mokwasele, outside Tzaneen in Limpopo Province. He has been recognized for his excellent leadership skills, winning spirit, hard work and contribution in the field of education, ”the council said.



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