Belgian researchers have invented a machine that turns human pee into drinkable water.
READ MORE: Pee power? Researchers develop better way to turn urine into electricity
The machine doesn’t require electricity and can be used off the grid. So how does it work? Basically, it collects urine in a big tank where it’s heated in a solar-powered boiler and passed through a membrane that retrieves the drinkable water.
“We’re able to recover urine…just in a simple process without having to use very hi-tech technology, just using solar energy,” Sebastiaan Derese, researcher at the University of Ghent told Reuters.
It all started when the group of researchers at the University of Ghent wanted to find a creative way to recover resources.
“A lot of nutrients are increasingly depleted. So for that we decided it was important. In fact, urine itself is a very rich source of nutrients. So we decided to start from there,” Arne Verliefde, a professor at the university told Global News.
So the quest to invent a machine that can recover nutrients from urine started.
The team started testing out different ways they can filter out nutrients such as potassium, nitrogen and phosphorous, which can then be used to make fertilizers. They made the machine with their own hands and ordered a few parts from around the world. It cost a few thousand euros to make and roughly two months to complete, Verliefde said.
“It doesn’t look fancy but it does the job,” he added.
In constructing the machine, they then discovered they could also turn the pee into water. And that’s when they had the idea of using that water to also brew beer.
“We are planning on brewing a beer from it, so there is a project here in Ghent, which is called ‘sewer to brewer,’” Derese said.
Using the slogan #peeforscience, the team recently used their prototype machine at a music festival in Ghent. They recovered 1,000 litres of water from the urine of festival-goers.
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They hope to introduce the machine to developing countries and rural communities, where water and fertilizer are in short supply.
“We’re talking to potential investors. The idea is to bring it to developing countries at the lowest price possible – hoping to get it down to a few hundred euros to make it accessible to farmers,” Verliefde said.
OTTAWA – It’s barely 50 kilometres from the cascading falls on the Mississippi River in the picturesque town of Almonte, Ont., to the site of the 2016 North American Leaders Summit in downtown Ottawa.
You can draw a straight line that’s arguably even shorter between the theme of last month’s “Three Amigos” meeting at the National Gallery and a tiny, contentious hydro electricity project astride those Almonte falls.
“Certainly, the agreement that we’ve concluded today values our shift towards cleaner renewable energy,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said June 29 at the summit’s closing news conference, flanked by U.S. President Barack Obama and Mexico’s Pena Nieto.
“Canada has a tremendous amount of energy that comes from clean sources right now and we’re always looking to create more.”
A fortnight later, the first heavy equipment rumbled down onto the Mississippi riverbed to begin blasting a deeper channel in the rock for the existing mill race at the garage-sized Enerdu generating station, built into an old mill that has clung to Almonte’s riverbank for a century.
READ MORE: 2015 a record year for clean energy investment, yet Canada is falling behind
The project, owned by a local construction company, has taken six years to launch, while dividing the town and somehow garnering international attention.
Ron Campbell, the project manager, walked a visiting reporter around the construction site in the first week of riverbed work while ruefully noting that the place would never look worse.
In a quietly emotional torrent that was part craftsman’s pride, part bewilderment, part homespun logic, he recited the six-year saga of escalating opposition that included a 2014 municipal election and reached a social media crescendo over an endangered dragon fly species native to the area.
“Now we have (musician) Paul Simon against our (project) and Maude whatever-her-name-is,” said Campbell, an apparent reference to Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians.
“Everybody has a comment on a little tiny project in the middle of nowhere, with the wrong information. We’re not destroying the falls. There was never a plan to destroy the falls. It’s not going to happen.”
Campbell doesn’t want to relitigate the twists and turns of a bitter local fight, but says the battle raises a bigger question.
If an existing, run-of-river hydro project being redeveloped by a local company using local labour in a mill town founded by the river’s power and still harnessed to another, municipally-owned generating station a stone’s throw downstream from the Enerdu plant is getting public grief, what project will not? Even the new turbines purchased by Enerdu are designed and built by a local company headquartered literally across the street from the old mill.
It’s the kind of question that just happens to preoccupy Monica Gattinger.
The University of Ottawa professor is the chair of a research project called Positive Energy, which the university website says brings together various policy players and academic disciplines to explore “how energy resources can be developed in a way that garners acceptance and benefits society at large.”
READ MORE: Renewable energy in Saskatchewan: The untapped resource
The research group is currently completing case studies on community support and opposition to six different energy developments spread across Canada, with the final report to be released in earlier October.
In an interview, Gattinger noted Canada hasn’t seen energy infrastructure skirmishes like today’s since the first great pipeline debates of the 1950s, which helped bring down a national government.
“We’re coming back to very similar kinds of infrastructure decisions – but in a very different societal context,” she said.
Aggrieved Albertans may feel like there’s a national conspiracy against the oilsands sector when they look at the furious pipeline protests, but opposition to energy projects of all descriptions, size and scope appear to be a 21st-century phenomenon.
Whether over wind farms, tidal energy prototypes, hydro projects or transmission corridors, local battles are raging across Canada on any given day.
Most Canadians will be familiar with the NIMBY acronym for project rejections – Not In My Back Yard – but researchers note other variants, including NOPE (Not On Planet Earth) and BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anybody).
Gattinger, who has researched and written on the topic extensively, rattles off the societal changes that have become particularly evident over the past decade:
– Declining trust in institutions and reduced deference to authority and expertise. Citizens, said Gattinger, “might trust their neighbour more than they trust what an industry executive has to say, or what governments have to say about particular energy projects.”
– A desire for greater public involvement in decisions. We’re seeing tensions between participatory democracy, in which everyone gets their say, and representative democracy, in which elected officials ultimately have to make decisions among competing interests.
– The shift to individual values from group or communitarian values. “People’s line of sight is increasingly at the individual or local level and not so much at the group or national level,” said Gattinger. “So appeals to the national interest are getting less traction.”
– Falling tolerance for risk, particularly man-made risks. “What that can mean is that perceptions of risk can actually trump reality of risk in the context of energy project decision-making,” she said.
Layer society’s growing risk intolerance on top of lack of trust in industry and government, said Gattinger, “and it becomes much more difficult, frankly, to get anything built.”
That was a problem for the previous Conservatives in Ottawa and it has pursued the new Liberal government into office.
“Together, we will advance clean and secure energy, with the goal of 50 per cent clean power generation across the continent by 2025,” Trudeau, Obama and Nieto committed in Ottawa last month.
Set against that ambition, the additional 600 kilowatts from Almonte’s Enerdu expansion – up from 300 kilowatts – is less than the condensation from a single drop in the bucket.
Ontario alone can produce almost 8,300 megawatts (8.3 million kilowatts) of hydro power annually, a healthy fraction of Canada’s yearly capacity of 95,000 megawatts of renewable electricity, 83 per cent of which comes from falling water. In fact, hydro alone accounts for 60 per cent of Canada’s electricity, and when other emissions-free sources are factored in, including nuclear, Canada’s clean energy total rises above 80 per cent.
By the measure of last month’s Three Amigos agreement, Canada is already well above the continental 50 per cent target and thus immediately improves the continental average, with the prospect of selling more clean electrical power south.
Canada enjoys a $3 billion trade surplus with the U.S. in electricity sales, said Sergio Marchi, president of the Canadian Electricity Association, and the country has the capacity to double or triple its exports.
Convincing skeptical Canadian communities to increase their current energy output to foster continental exports may compound what is already often a tough sell.
“Once you have a more comprehensive and deep local opinion, how do you balance local opinion with national need?” asks Marchi. “That task has not become easier because the inputs are so much more numerous.”
Paul Norris of the Ontario Water Power Association calls it “the conundrum of ‘think globally, act locally.”‘
“No form of development, electricity or otherwise, is immune,” from public opposition, said Norris, “but in our industry it’s not the norm.”
Opposition, he said, is “site specific, it’s project specific.”
And the objections frequently pit environmentally conscious protesters against “clean” energy projects that are being directly encouraged by provincial or federal policy incentives.
In Almonte, Mississippi Mills mayor Shaun McLaughlin won office in 2014 on a platform opposing the Enerdu expansion. McLaughlin said the new plant will regulate the river level and damage trees in a large swamp about eight kilometres upriver.
“Is it a green project when you’re killing off a wetland?” he asked.
He also cited the endangered rapids clubtail dragonfly. “Is it a green project when you’re messing up the habitat of a critically endangered species? What really is green?”
McLaughlin says the risks outweigh the benefits of adding such a small amount of new power to a grid that’s already well supplied.
Campbell, back at the Enerdu construction site, sounds worn out by engagement.
The delays mean that by the time the project starts generating electricity and revenue, likely early in 2018, the company will have just 13 years left on its 20-year supply contract, which had to be signed before the province would greenlight the redevelopment. The $10- to $12-million investment won’t pay off for 17 to 20 years, said Campbell.
“Power production inevitably is going to be a federal issue, as pipelines are,” said the construction manager. “There has to be something for the greater good of the country. We can’t have a borough in Montreal deciding that a pipeline can’t be built.”
Gattinger said all those societal pressures are setting the table for a rough ride on the coming energy transition.
“I think it’s going to be very difficult and the worst is yet to come,” she said, laughing at her own grim prognosis. “My sense is it’s only going to get harder.”
BERLIN – Scientists hunting for ways to treat hard-to-beat bacterial infections have found a new antibiotic hiding right under our noses.
In the past, most new antibiotics have been discovered by sifting through soil samples. But researchers in Germany chose to look at the germs that already inhabit the human body.
They found Staphylococcus aureus bacteria in the noses of about 30 per cent of people, raising the question why the other 70 per cent weren’t beset by this staph bacterium. A hardened variety, known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is among the superbugs that pose a growing health problem worldwide.
In a paper published online Wednesday by the journal Nature, the researchers reveal that another in-nose bacterium — called Staphylococcus lugdunensis — appears to be keeping the rival staph at bay in some people by producing its own antibiotic.
This undated photo provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) shows plates of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA). (AP Photo/Center for Disease Control)
This undated photo provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) shows plates of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA).
(AP Photo/Center for Disease Control)
Andreas Peschel, a microbiologist at the University of Tuebingen, called the discovery “unexpected and exciting.”
Peschel and his colleagues isolated the new antibiotic, which they called lugdunin, and tested it on mice whose skin had been infected with Staphylococcus aureus. They found it was effective in clearing the bacteria in most cases.
Tests to see whether the new antibiotic would work in humans haven’t yet been conducted.
Finding one that works against MRSA would be a great success because more people are expected to die from infections with resistant bacteria than from cancer in ten years’ time, said Peschel.
So far, staph doesn’t seem to be able to adapt to lugdunin. “For whatever reason it seems to be very, very difficult … for Staphylococcus aureus to become resistant to lugdunin, which is interesting,” he said.
Kim Lewis and Philip Strandwitz, two scientists at Northeastern University in Boston who weren’t involved in the study, warned that lugdunin itself might not be a safe treatment because it appears likely that the antibiotic could be harmful to human cells. However, in a commentary published alongside the original paper, they said the approach taken by Peschel and his colleagues could lead to further antibiotics discoveries.
Peschel said he didn’t believe lugdunin was particularly toxic but noted that research is only just beginning. Even if the new antibiotic turns out not to be suitable it might be possible to adapt the bacterium or transfer key genes to innocuous germs that could then be used to fight MRSA.
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UPDATE (July 19): In a statement posted to 桑拿会所, Melania Trump said her website was taken down because it does not accurately reflect her current business and professional interests.
“The website in question was created in 2012 and has been removed because it does not accurately reflect my current business and professional interests,” read the statement.
— MELANIA TRUMP (@MELANIATRUMP) July 28, 2016
Just one week after being accused of plagiarizing a speech by Michelle Obama, Melania Trump‘s website has mysteriously disappeared following accusations she lied about her education in her biography.
READ MORE: Melania Trump speech closely resembled Michelle Obama’s 2008 address
The accusations stem from a report by The Huffington Post that alleged Trump lied about receiving a degree in design and architecture at the University in Slovenia. According to two biographers, Trump dropped out after her freshman year.
“Born on April 26, 1970 in Slovenia, Melania Knauss began her modeling career at the age of sixteen. At the age of eighteen, she signed with a modeling agency in Milan. After obtaining a degree in design and architecture at University in Slovenia, Melania was jetting between photo shoots in Paris and Milan, finally settling in New York in 1996,” read her website.
Melania Trump plagiarism scandal deepens as questions r raised about her website claim to have 2 university degrees. pic.twitter长沙桑拿/BqoxEHxBzm
— JQ Public (@JQP6) July 19, 2016
However, the website has since disappeared – Melaniatrump长沙桑拿 now automatically reroutes to Trump长沙桑拿.
Last week, Trump came under fire after many pointed out distinct similarities between her Republican National Convention speech and a speech first lady Michelle Obama delivered in 2008.
Meredith McIver, an in-house staff writer for Donald Trump, later took responsibility for passages that were lifted from Obama.
WATCH: Trump campaign chairman denies knowing about Melania Trump’s ghostwriter
“I did not check Mrs. Obama’s speeches. This was my mistake, and I feel terrible for the chaos I have caused Melania and the Trumps, as well as to Mrs. Obama. No harm was meant,” McIver said in a statement issued by the Trump Campaign.
READ MORE: Who is Meredith McIver? Writer apologizes for Melania Trump speech plagiarism controversy
McIver said she offered her resignation to the Republican presidential nominee, but was rejected.
The Trump campaign has not commented on the allegations surrounding Melania’s education.
Netflix is bringing fans back to Stars Hollow on Nov. 25 with the debut of the hotly anticipated Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.
The show’s cast, Lauren Graham (Lorelai), Alexis Bledel (Rory) and Scott Patterson (Luke), joined the show’s creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino, and executive producer, Daniel Palladino, at the Television Critics Association press tour in Los Angeles on Wednesday, to tease what’s ahead for the reboot.
The panel revealed hints of what’s in store for Rory and her mom, including romantic twists, along with Sherman-Palladino’s comment about whether there could be a possibility for another season.
READ MORE: Melissa McCarthy will return to ‘Gilmore Girls’ after all
Bledel, 34, revealed that “all of her ex-boyfriends make an appearance in these chapters in one way or another, and it’s great to work with them.”
The actress also admitted that she was surprised at the amount of interest in Rory’s love life. She pointed out there is more to the character to focus on, “like her ambition and her accomplishments.”
That’s not to say there’s no speculation about who she’ll end up with (if anyone).
“I know they’re not going to end up together but, Rory and Dean seem like a good couple,” David Sutcliffe, also known as Rory’s dad on the show, told USA Today last month.
When asked if Stars Hollow had changed, the show’s creator joked that Warner Bros. must have gotten a “deal on brown paint,” because Stars Hollow’s storefronts no longer existed and had been painted over when they first arrived on set to start working.
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Graham, 49, mentioned that the upcoming episodes focus on family and “how these bonds take us through all the different stages of our lives.”
She added, “It’s not a story about a little girl anymore who’s in high school – it’s a story of a young woman and all the struggles she faces, and the dynamics between these two women. They’ve grown up, but they’re the same.”
When a reporter asked Sherman-Palladino whether another season could be a possibility, she didn’t sound ready to think about that idea just yet. “This is what it is,” she said, referring to the four episodes being the end for now.
READ MORE: Nathan Lane bringing the Canadian jokes to Montreal’s Just For Laughs
Melissa McCarthy is another star who came up at the presser.
McCarthy’s fame has soared since she played Sookie in the series (largely because of movies like Bridesmaids and Ghostbusters), which made it complicated for her to fit taping into her busy schedule, said Sherman-Palladino. But everyone made it work.
And according to the show’s creator, Sookie is the same.
McCarthy and Graham “have a weird Lucy-and-Ethel thing that you kind of have to just see it to understand it,” Sherman-Palladino said. Apparently, the actresses played off each other within minutes of reuniting.
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Graham said the entire cast, including Bledel, Patterson and Kelly Bishop, easily connected again.
“Everything was like, ‘Oh, here’s the chemistry we had from the very first day we met,’ and it was just a joy to revisit,” she said.
The new Gilmore Girls brings back the popular mother-daughter dramedy that aired from 2000 to 2007. Each of the four 90-minute chapters covers each of four seasons of the year.
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life premieres globally on Netflix Friday, Nov. 25, at 12:01 a.m.
Gilmore Girls | PrettyFamous
With files from The Associated Press