Belgians Using Solar Power To Make Beer From Urine

REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

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Craig Boudreau Vice Reporter
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Belgian scientists have built a solar-powered machine to turn urine into clean water, which can then be used to brew beer.

“We call it from sewer to brewer,” University of Ghent researcher Sebastiaan Derese told Reuters. They have even given it its own hashtag, #peeforscience.

The machine works by boiling urine in a tank using solar power, which is then filtered through a membrane that separates the urine and nutrients from water, according to Reuters Wednesday. The scientists brought their contraption to the 10 Days Off music festival in Ghent, Belgium, where they collected 1,000 liters of urine.

Considering the price of beer at music festivals, and given attendees’ general lack of inhibition, the machine could prove very useful in those instances. Star Events says the price of beer is generally inflated by anywhere from 20 to 50 percent at a festival.

“We can make the best beer in the world starting from urine,” Denis De Wilde, a Belgian brewer, told the New York Daily News.

The scientists also say the machine can be used to make fertilizer.

“We’re able to recover fertilizer and drinking water from urine using just a simple process and solar energy,” Derese said.

Since it runs on solar power, the machine has applications for those living off the grid. They say the goal is to bring a larger version of the machine to poor, rural communities where it could be used to give them much needed clean drinking water and fertilizer for their crops.

Not limited to just urine, Derese said the machine can also be used to filter out industrial waste-water.

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Craig Boudreau