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Creating a bespoke container laboratory to synthesize human urine

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When a Bristol-based start-up decided to expand its innovative concept of converting critical nutrients from urine into fertiliser, it needed a portable laboratory to begin the next step of its journey. Through close collaboration with our container conversions team, the perfect solution was developed.

NPK Recovery specialises in the removal of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) from human urine that can be used as natural plant fertiliser. By removing these naturally occurring elements from human waste, the UK agricultural industry can use these sustainably sourced chemicals to fertilise the land for crops. This, in turn, reduces the sector’s dependence on synthetic alternatives to ensure fields have the necessary levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium for high-quality plant growth.

The Challenge

Aiming to optimise the process of removing the naturally occurring chemicals as efficiently as possible, the team at NPK Recovery elected to commission a portable container laboratory to transport between their partner locations. These include motorway service stations and festivals where collection of the commodity is easier but where having a permanent laboratory is not possible.

When on site, the container will synthesize the waste product and efficiently remove the chemicals without the need to transport the urine between sites. Once separated, the natural fertiliser will be taken to farms to help promote healthy plant growth.

With the first container laboratory set to be the official blueprint to help NPK Recovery define what it needs for future models, the team appointed us to help them navigate this new process.

Designing the perfect container

After selecting to use a shipping container following a positive recommendation from a fellow customer, NPK Recovery briefed our team to create a bespoke container laboratory. Immediately being assigned a direct contact for the duration of the project, the teams sat down to design the converted unit.

Although critical elements of the laboratory could be decided ahead of installation, aspects such as the location of certain pieces of machinery were unclear. Although this posed a minor issue in designing the internal structure, our Conversions team were able to advise the NPK Recovery team on critical elements such as the access door placement and ventilation.

With the design finalised and in place, the Conversions team set out to bring NPK Recovery’s laboratory to life. Selecting a 30-foot unit, the conversions team insulated the structure by installing a new lining and fitting a ventilation system to create a continuous air flow.

Internally, electrical plug sockets were installed to power equipment used by NPK Recovery alongside lighting and storage units.

Externally, an access door and windows on the side of the container were created as well as it being painted green so that it would blend with its surroundings when placed in rural locations. Alongside this, access ports for the pipework to the urine containers held outside were installed so that it could be easily accessible from within.

Once we completed the structure, it was delivered to the NPK Recovery site.

The Result

The container laboratory was delivered to the NPK Recovery site in Bristol by one of our trusted hauliers. Hoping to be placed within the building, the delivery team were able to transport the unit through a tightly sized entry way to its temporary home. Through skill and determination, they were able to place the container in the desired place without issue.

Our Conversions team remained on hand following the delivery of the unit to ensure that the NPK Recovery team were completely satisfied. After a minor issue arose with the sink, the Conversions team were able to resolve the matter within 48 hours.

Speaking on the process of delivering the new container laboratory, Lucy Bell-Reeves, lead project manager at NPK Recovery said: “Now that we have the unit in hand, we have a blueprint that we can use in the future for our next set of container laboratories. As we start to understand exactly what will be used within the structure, we have discovered minor tweaks and changes, but this was something that the S Jones Conversions team said would happen during the design process.

“Overall, we’re thrilled with our container laboratory that will hopefully assist in our journey to creating a natural source of vital chemicals that can help the agricultural industry move away from synthetic alternatives. When we make the jump and commission our next unit, we’ll be returning to S Jones Containers for their help and expertise.”

What Our Customers Say

17th May 2024

Nice easy process and very competitive price.
Great to deal with throughout to delivery.

Thank you.

16th May 2024

good customer service with flow up calls

3rd May 2024

Excellent service from start to finish, requested a modified 20ft container with man door @ opposite end from double doors and the workmanship was excellent.

3rd May 2024

Elisha has been very helpful in my purchases of containers from s Jones. Will continue to buy from s jones

23rd Apr 2024

Excellent service very friendly service

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