After a long day at the office, the thought of coming home and cracking open a beer is often an enticing one. But what if that ice-cold beverage you had in mind was actually made from (wait for it....) pee?
If the notion of drinking fermented, human urine doesn't sound too appealing to you, well, you're probably not alone. But researchers in Belgium—a country typically known for its rich brewing history—seem to have ignored their better judgment and discovered a new form of alcoholic alchemy, first transforming pee into water before using the liquid in the brewing process.
"We're able to recover fertilizer and drinking water from urine using just a simple process and solar energy," Sebastiaan Derese, a researcher at the University of Ghent, told Reuters. "We call it from sewer to brewer."
Methods of turning urine into water have already existed for some time, but the University of Ghent's product claims to be more environmentally sound, operating without the need for electricity. In order to complete the transformation, a large tank collects the urine while a solar-powered boiler heats it and passes it through a special membrane that collects the water.
In all fairness, the machine could be a game-changer, especially in developing countries where fresh water is in short supply. But Belgium being Belgium, the team will of course use the water it gathers to make ales and lagers.
The scientists recently put their invention to the test during a 10-day festival in Ghent. Using the hashtag #PeeForScience, the team encouraged festival-goers to stop by their stand and donate to the cause by relieving themselves. The researchers ended up collecting a whopping 1,000 liters of pee from everyone who participated.
Whether or not the invention will ever make it to the US still remains to be seen. Beer continues to be the most popular alcoholic beverage in the U.S. and with states like Arizona and California experiencing water shortages in recent years, an invention that recycles what's already available could help cut down on the amount brewers' use.
But considering the fact that many beer company will begin including calorie and nutritional information on their labels, we're not sure advertising "urine" as a main ingredient would be the best thing for sales.