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"The ideas that we proffer are based on off-the-shelf existing technologies. We just change the solution-bases and do things that aren't necessarily as obvious. We don't have a problem with thinking about science fiction -- in fact we actually embrace it."

Mitchell Joachim

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pee shit bricks...

Waste not want not? Well, Ginger Krieg Dosier, an assistant architecture professor at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, is making what some call waste into building materials. What if we could grow and cultivate architectural materials by employing natural minerals and microorganisms?

The built environment that we all know and sometime love consists as is a limited palette of traditional, static materials such as concrete, glass, steel, and wood. These materials embody high concentrations of energy, with most components of concrete and steel mined from non- renewable resources. Not that great for the sustaining the environment or leaving a minimal carbon foot print. (Though LEED and other associations will give you brownie points otherwise....) Did you know 40% of global carbon dioxide is linked to the construction industry, primarily due to material production and disposal? So why not "grow" bricks? Biologically grown materials can be pollution free (note can be- they might just have a lower production of waste until we figure out how to recycle it). These grown materials also have the potential to contain a low embodied energy and could be produced as part of a local ecosystem.

Dosier has been working on a new breed of biologically “grown” bricks that are durable, sustainably manufactured, and easily produced from readily available materials. These “Better Bricks,” can be “grown” from sand, common bacteria, calcium chloride, and urea. (There's the pee again!) Growing bricks instead of being baking them, which consumes a ton of energy, saves and produces a great amount of energy!

Something to think about. I know it has been a while- but I have just been occupied with settling down in my new home/city/etc. Inhabitable Organism is on the rise! And I have a feeling it will be a pissing good time....


pee power again!!?!

I've done a few posts about Urine at this time but here's something new!

Urine could be the next big alternative energy source

Youtricity, a research group of the Engineering & Physical Sciences at Heriot-Watt University, is developing the world's first Direct Urea Powered Fuel Cells. They are focusing their efforts to water treatment/purification and renewable energy where urea is a contamination problem.

This revolutionary new fuel cell takes in urine and out comes electricity and clean water. Brilliant! This would mean wonders for third world energy and clean water problems.

How does this magic work? The fuel cells convert chemical energy into electricity through a series of reactions between a fuel and an oxidant. Urea is a great (and redily) replacement hydrogen or methanol fuels. The only catch is that the batteries don't store any chemical energy inside them. This means they can only operate when external fuel sources are supplied. So keep drinking that aqua.

Urine could be the next big alternative energy source

This yellow wonder is the brainchild of Doctors Shanwen Tao and Rong Lan. It uses cheaper materials for its membrane and catalysts. It uses a non-toxic, non-combustible fuel: urine. Talk about reducing your carbon foot print. Did you also know that urea is also known as carbamide? Urea is not strait urine and comes from humans and mammals. These batteries work with both.

Dr. Tao explained his inspirations::::

"Growing up in rural eastern China I was aware of the use of urea as an agricultural fertilizer. When I became a chemist and was looking at fuel cell development I thought of using it in the process. We are only at prototype stage at present, but if this renewable material can be used as a commercially viable and environmentally friendly energy source then we will be absolutely delighted, and many people around the world will benefit."

Urea elsewhere- it is being used in trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles to reduce nitrous oxide emissions. Other interesting urea items are Urea-formaldehyde, aka pee plastic! This is a non-transparent thermosetting resin or plastic. These resins are closer to you than you think. They are used in adhesives, finishes, MDF, and molded objects. It also has a high tensile strength and used to glue wood together! Ah, the resources we piss away everyday!