PeeCycling: Make Phosphorus From Your Own Pee

The Alchemist
The Discovery of Phosphorus Through Henning Fire in Hamburg 1669.

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Here is a weekend project for Sami, TreeHugger's champion peecycler: make phosphorus from your own urine! It's toxic and explosive in its pure form, but chemistry is fun, right? IO9 describes the process used by innovators like the Rich Earth Institute:

First, you should allow some urine (preferably your own but I don't judge) to sit in an open container for about a week. Keep it in a room away from people. During this week, get some charcoal and grind it up into very very fine powder. You should make about two tablespoons of powder. Also get two tablespoons of powdered cinnamon. Mix the powders together.
kid with chemistry set

You then mix the urine with the tasty powder and heat it in a retort like that kid in the chemistry set has.


Hold your breath and wear protective clothing and eye protection when working with the mixture to limit exposure to ammonia, which comes from urea. Additionally, keep the mixture under water to prevent a spontaneous ignition.

Then again, Sami, maybe this isn't such a good idea.