Bordeaux-based Toopi Organics scales up urine recycling network in France with €3.8 million funding

Based in Loupiac-de-la-Réole, a few kilometres from Bordeaux, Toopi Organics continues to move forward at a rapid pace. The biotech company collects and transforms human urine into fertiliser products, and so far their ambition and objectives has helped them secure a €3.8 million funding from ADEME (The French Agency for Ecological Transition). This watershed moment will certainly allow the structuring and further development of the business in the next years. 

Toopi Organics aims to transform human urine into an alternative to agricultural fertiliser. Certified by the French Ministry of Ecological Transition and Solidarity, the young Gironde-based startup has been delivering one good news after another lately. A few weeks ago, it announced that it had been selected to install waterless toilets during the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, at least in one of the buildings, which was followed by the recent funding news. Is human urine the way forward to changing agricultural practices when it comes to fertilisers? Toopi Organics strongly believe so. 

As part of the call for expressions of interest in the Impact Contract, the French Agency for Ecological Transition has granted the startup €3.8 million over five years. In return, Toopi is committed to creating a urine recycling network, with the support of toilet manufacturers, design offices, installers (construction and public works) and collectors. The objective is to create and secure local and non relocatable jobs while making the ecological transition easier. As far as the agricultural sector is concerned, Toopi Organics will be able to offer fertiliser products that are less expensive and as effective as chemical fertilisers of mineral origin. 

Founded in 2019, the startup developed an innovative microbiological process. It then set up its own factory to transform human urine into fertilisers. Toopi sells these to agricultural cooperatives and fertiliser manufacturers.

Their process makes it possible to cultivate bacteria on a large scale that are capable, for example, of fixing atmospheric nitrogen, in order to replace nitrogenous fertilisers derived from fossil resources. The first Toopi product has been tested in the field in a dozen studies and has shown similar agronomic efficiency to synthetic fertilisers, at a lower cost to the farmer says Pierre Huguier, scientific manager and co-founder of Toopi Organics.

The challenge is now to collect large volumes of human urine. The startup is offering two types of toilets: fixed toilets (male and female) and separated toilets. Toopi Organics has started to install them in middle and high schools, in a stadium and in a company. At the same time, it is also collecting it in other places such as medical analysis laboratories. The company is also targeting gas stations, schools and, more broadly, all places that receive the public.