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By Behindwoods News Bureau | Nov 19, 2018 02:40 PM
Your urine can now be put to constructive use

One person's waste is another person's opportunity. Well this time, quite literally! 

As gross as it might sound, you could soon be saying goodbye to simply flushing down your urine. Your pee can now be put to 'constructive' use, thanks to some researchers from South Africa. The set of researchers have made use of urine to create bio-bricks.

The first-of-its-kind in the world, these bio-bricks could possibly be a sustainable alternative to the standard clay and concrete bricks used for construction. The prototypes have been "grown" from urine using a technique somewhat similar to the natural formation of seashells, taking six to eight days to form.

The groundbreaking discovery is the brainchild of two students and a professor from the University of Cape Town. With a grant from a government-run Water Research Council, the feasibility study was launched last year using synthetic urea. And then the study escalated to using human urine.

"I was always curious to know why don't we use urine to do the same thing," Dyllon Randall, the lecturer who supervised one of the two students, told AFP.

A year later, the trio were successful in creating the first bio-brick using human urine. Using a natural process known as microbial carbonate precipitation, they mix urine, sand, and bacteria to make the brick.

The research is still in its early days. So far, it requires up to 30 litres of urine to make just one brick – with the urine provided by male students at the university via a special urinal.

For those who wonder about the stench of urine permeating from the walls, the good news is that the brick does not smell. The strong ammonia smell that comes from urine dissipates after a few days of drying.