Would You Live in a House of Bricks Made from Pee and Bacteria?
To make a concrete bench, add sand, bacteria, calcium chloride, and some really concentrated pee?
When we first saw Peter Trimble's sand and urea bio-furniture-the latter is a chemical most commonly found in pee-we were excited to see human
But, but ! The process is technically possible, and that in itself is a rather fascinating example of what bacteria can do.
Urine-inspired, environmentally friendly biobricks first grabbed
our attention back in 2010
The key advantage of these bricks is that they don't have to be fired in a kiln. In contrast, the manufacture of traditional bricks-multiplied over millions of bricks-causes major pollution. These bio-bricks do have an environmental downside, however: the same bacterial metabolism turns the urea into
That brings us to
Among the speculative ideas for colonizing Mars is shelter made from bricks of sand and astronaut pee . When you're colonizing a distant planet, you really can't let anything go to waste-not even human waste. A team of students in the synthetic biology competition iGEM have investigated bacteria that could help astronauts make urine-based bricks on Mars. Even better, ammonia, which is a poisonous byproduct of brick production on earth, is so alkaline it could help tame Mars' acidic environment. So if pee-and-bacteria bricks don't take off on earth, there's always hope on Mars. [ Design Boom - Peter Trimble - Wired - Wired UK ]
Lead image: Peter Trimble