O F All the ambitious ideas that can free us from the climate that make the changing climate, turning human…
O F All the ambitious ideas that can free us from the climate that make the changing climate, turning human urine into liquid gold seems like a long shot. But, according to researchers in South Africa, it is found that the ubiquitous liquid contains an important ingredient that can help us in a number of ways – including, strangely, a way to rebuild our cities when rising tide breaks against coastal communities.
On Wednesday, a team at the University of Cape Town showed that human urine can be manipulated into solid brick-shaped shapes as they call “bio-bricks”. Unlike conventional fireplaces, bio-bricks do not require high heat, and they do not spell out thousands of kilograms of greenhouse gases of carbon dioxide.
Water quality engineer lecturer Dyllon Randall, Ph.D., discovered the urinary potential after he began to place provisional urinals around the university in an attempt to make fertilizers. The urinals contain the builder’s lime, which reacts with phosphorus in the urine to produce fertilizers.
However, even after the manure was extracted, Randall soon realized that there was still some fluid left. This, to use his word, was his “floating gold”.
The bricks can be shaped in any shape
The residual values were an important compound called urea, which is naturally present in human urine. Randall discovered that the urea solution could be used to make a brick by mixing it with loose sand colonized by bacteria that produce the enzyme ureas.
The ureas secreted by the bacteria break down urea and, as a bonus, produce the compound calcium carbonate. This hard white compound, which forms the bulk of eggshell and shell of shellfish, solidifies the sand particles together in the bricks.
The more time the bacteria are given to work with their magic the stronger brick is growing, the team says and suggests that several different types of building materials can be created with this method.
“Nobody has looked at it in terms of the whole cycle and the potential of recycling several valuable products. The next question is how to do it optimally so that profit can be created from urine,” says Randall.
This process, known as microbial carbonate precipitation is not entirely new. Previous research has shown that there are plenty of microorganisms that can carry out the process. What seems new here is that the team has finally found a use for a fluid that is in boundless supply. is happy because BBC estimates that it would take about 100 trips to the bathroom to produce one of these bricks.
Randall’s DIY urinal that collects urine needed to create biostars
The urine requires no burning procedures, but the team must massively speed up its process before they can be a real alternative. Just now it takes between two and six days to grow depending on the desired strength, and the team has not yet tried to build with them.
But at the moment Randall is bent over by receiving his product.
“I am grateful for people’s openness and acceptance of such new technology,” Randall said in an interview with . “Who would have thought about recovering urine manure or making the same urine biostar? That kind of interest gives me much hope for the future when it comes to achieving a sustainable future and environment. “