Urine Can Now Be Recycled into Beer Thanks to Science

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(image: Frank Geenen)

Everyone who’s ever attended a music festival knows how much of a struggle it is to find a proper bathroom, especially after drinking lots of beer. And once you get to one, you really have to well, you know, go. Beer plus waiting equals a lot of pee, so why not put it to good use?

For the second year in a row, researchers from Ghent University have been collecting urine from Roskilde festival-goers in a solar-powered machine. The reason? To turn it into beer.

The recycled brew, cheekily named “piss-to-pilsner,” is made by filtering urine through the machine to create purified water. Researchers from the Belgian university promoted its use at the festival with the hashtag #peeforscience.

(image: Reuters/Francois Lenoir)

To start the filtration process, the urine is collected in a tank and then heated through a solar-powered boiler. When the water begins to evaporate from the liquid, it passes through a special membrane that separates out nutrients like potassium and nitrogen (which can be used as fertilizer), leaving behind purified water. The 1,000 liters of water recovered from the Roskilde urine collection is expected to be made into the now infamous beer, rechristened “sewer to brewer.”

Researchers hope to be able to use the machine to create more than just beer. Their ideal scenario would be to have the machines provide reliable drinking water in airports, sports venues and even impoverished communities in the developing world.

But for now, just think—pee is turned into beer, which then becomes pee again, and so on. You could basically drink the same six-pack for the rest of your life. Sounds like a cause worth getting behind. 

To learn more about how urine is turned into something drinkable, you can ready the whole study here.

Check out what else is being recycled into beer:

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