Phosphorus-recycling toilet »P-Bank« opens 3 May

»Nothing is waste water, everything is a resource« – in accordance with this motto students and teachers of the Faculty of Civil Engineering at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar have developed an interactive toilet. The »P-Bank« project, which is funded by the German Federal Environmental Foundation, intends to show sustainable alternatives to the conventional waste water system. Until 16 August 2019 interested persons are warmly invited to try out the New Alternative Sanitation System (NASS) located on Marienstraße 11 (LÜCKE) and to donate phosphorus.

A unique toilet block has been present on the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar campus for a short time: the bright yellow construction trailer, with a No-Mix toilet on the left and a water-free urinal on the right, not only invites people to use the toilet but also specifically encourages visitors to »Come donate your P«.

Behind the scenes, a sophisticated system is able to extract the vital raw material phosphorus from human urine. »Phosphorus is a finite resource which cannot be substituted by anything else, it is in shorter supply than crude oil«, explains project director Prof. Jörg Londong, Professorship - Urban Water Management and Sanitation at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar. »In the form of waste water and manure, phosphorus is dispersed in the water and ultimately squandered - we want to change this«. Everyone is therefore now able to donate their »P« so that the valuable raw material can be extracted.

Countering the shortage of phosphorus

The »P-Bank« cooperation and demonstration project, technically and financially supported by the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU), draws attention to the environmental issues of a phosphorus shortage and the recirculation of nutrients. The letter ‘P’ stands for the chemical element phosphorus as well as for the environmentally-damaging misdirection of nutrients when urinating (from the verb ‘to pee’). 

»This closed-loop recycling which can be experienced directly at the University, shows that it is relatively easy to transform the phosphorus excreted in urine into a fertiliser«, says Prof. Londong. In order for this to happen, the urine must first be collected separately. The way this works - namely in a so-called No-Mix toilet and water-free urinals - is demonstrated in the P-Bank. The result is a fertiliser which can be used universally and, for example, is also providing the garden herbs grown at the University with the nutrients produced here via the P-Bank. 

Sustainability, resource conservation, and recycling strategies

A toilet facility for public use is to sensitise users to sustainable solutions concerning the waste and recycling economy. General Secretary of the German Federal Environmental Foundation Alexander Bonde supports the project: »If in future we want to close the phosphorus cycle, we not only require the technical foundations but also a societal awareness of how necessary this is. This project, from our perspective, can make an important contribution in this regard.« 

For many years alternative problem-solving approaches regarding how we handle waste water have been a core component of Professor Londong’s work group’s research at the Bauhaus-Institute for Infrastructure Solutions ( As part of centenary celebrations at the Bauhaus, the P-Bank is a good example of how Bauhaus-Universität Weimar actively engages with questions relevant to society and presents unusual, and in some cases, radical answers. 

In the implementation of the project the environmental engineers have been supported by designers Anniek Vetter and Silvia Debit under the leadership of Prof. Wolfgang Sattler, Faculty of Art and Design, as well as the company Werkhaus Design + Produktion GmbH, award-winning, pop-up restaurant »LÜCKE«, non-profit Goldeimer gGmbH and EOOS Design GmbH from Vienna. The project has been financed by the German Federal Environmental Foundation which has provided funding of €100,000.   

Recycling-toilet »P-Bank«
3 May to 16 August 2019
Marienstraße 11, 99423 Weimar (LÜCKE)

Opens: Friday 3 May 2019, from 6pm onwards
The official opening of the P-Bank will take place on Friday 3 May 2019, together with the opening of »LÜCKE«, from 6pm at Marienstraße 11 in Weimar. The P-Bank can be found behind LÜCKE on the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar campus until 16 August 2019.

This project has been supported by the Bauhaus100-Centenary Fund

Please contact project director Prof. Londong if you have any questions: 

Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jörg Londong
Bauhaus-Universität Weimar
Faculty of Civil Engineering
Professorship - Urban Water Management and Sanitation
Coudraystr. 7 Room 215
 99421 Weimar
Tel.: +49 (0)3643/58 46 15
E-Mail: joerg.londong[at]