© Mike Powell / Getty Images
Mike Pomranz
June 22, 2017

This beer would probably be Bear Grylls favorite – assuming that meme isn’t so dated that no one remembers it. Belgian scientists have built an entirely solar-powered machine that is converting urine into beer.


Researchers at the University of Ghent in Belgium have been perfecting an energy efficient solar-powered system that utilizes a special membrane to convert urine into drinkable water and fertilizer.  Though converting urine to drinking water is nothing new, since this system runs strictly off the sun, the team behind it believes it will be especially effective in rural areas and developing countries with limited access to an electric grid.

To help raise awareness of their work, the Belgian scientists recently took the machine to a nearby 10-day music festival where it collected over 250 gallons of urine from attendees. Once the urine is converted to drinkable water, it will undergo an even more glorious transformation: becoming beer. “We call it from sewer to brewer,” University of Ghent researcher Sebastiaan Derese told Reuters.

Interestingly, this isn’t the first time a witty piece of wordplay has been used to promote music festival pee being turned into beer. At last year’s Roskilde music festival in Denmark, over 6,600 gallons of urine were collected as part of organizers’ “Piss to Pilsner” initiative and converted into beer and fertilizer – albeit with a different system than what the Belgian scientists have recently unveiled.

I guess the more urine we can turn into beer the better. Though with all of this collecting happening at music festivals, I find myself wondering, where does all the marijuana and MDMA residue end up? Does that go into the fertilizer or does that go into the beer?

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