Researchers at the University of Ghent have created a device that separates urine into water and fertilizer. Naturally, they want to use the water to make beer. They call it Sewer to Brewer.
Sebastiaan Derese and Arne Verliefde use solar energy to boil the urine and separate the water from nutrients, which are used as fertilizer. The actual goal of Derese & Verliefde’s research was finding a way to better utilize waste in developing countries. They hope to create an easy way for people use the device to produce fertilizer for their farms.
After the process, the water is pure enough for drinking. This project is based in Belgium thus, the water becomes beer. Derese & Verliefde partnered with a former student who has a brewery, De Wilde Brouwers, to create a batch of beer using wastewater from a brewery. For their second batch (2.0), they made beer from water collected at a municipal wastewater treatment plant. The upcoming 3.0, which should be coming to market this month, is made from urine collected at the Ghent Festival.
This is not an entirely new idea, Bill Gates said he enjoys drinking poo water. Oregon’s Clean Water Services hosts a contest where home brewers use purified wastewater to make beer as well. The Danish Agriculture & Food Council collected urine at the Roskilde Festival which will be used to fertilize barley fields for a beer that will be served at the 2017 festival. This movement seems to be revolving around festivals because large events like that can really burden wastewater plants.
Obviously, recycling our urine has a lot of environmental benefits but who would have thought beer was one? Plus, microbrews were running out of clever names, but now we’re entering a future with loads of piss puns! Perhaps even beer styles will have to change? We could have a pee pilsner, piss pale ale, the squat stout, leak lager and whiz wheat. Alright, I’m going to stop before I make us both sick.