At last, beer you really can pour back into the horse!

It’s long been an English idiom that “This beer is so bad, it should be poured back into the horse it came from!” (or words to that effect).  Well, perhaps now we can.

A solar-powered machine that can create drinkable water out of urine, could now be used to make beer, according to researchers.

The researchers at the University of Ghent created a device that uses a solar-powered boiler and special membrane to separate the urine into two parts: water and fertiliser.

Having tested the method at a music festival in Ghent, where the team collected 1,000 litres of water in 10 days, it is now looking at using the water to make beer.

“We call it from sewer to brewer,” Sebastiaan Derese, one of the researchers from the University of Ghent, told Reuters. “We’re able to recover fertiliser and drinking water from urine using just a simple process and solar energy.”

. . .

Separate research has shown other innovative uses for urine. The University of the West of England created a pair of socks that can send a text message in an emergency when powered by urine.

There’s more at the link.

So, there you have it:

  1. Collect large quantities of horse urine.
  2. Process the horse urine through this new device.
  3. Use the water thus obtained to make beer.
  4. If the beer is good, use in the traditional manner.
  5. If it’s lousy, give it to the horse to drink, then proceed to Step 1 again.

I suppose this machine might even produce a sort of ‘perpetual motion beer’.  Drink the first batch;  dispose of the resulting ‘output’ by collecting it;  then process it through the machine to produce more beer.  I can see the slogan now:  Prevent waste!  It’s ecological!

As for the socks sending text messages . . . better watch where you’re aiming when you’ve had too much beer, lads.  The message might be self-incriminating, which would be the ruinurination of you!



  1. I came up with that back in the early 80's, it's always been my line. I had no idea that it was an English idiom.

    There is nothing new under the sun…..

  2. It was customary to take a sip of beer, hold the glass up to the light and proclaim, "This donkey has rickets ".

  3. Things like this happen when scientists have no useful work to do.

    Imagine the challenge of marketing such a product once it's manufacturing process were known.

  4. In response to your perpetual machine, you forgot to fertilize the soil of the grass the horse was eating… a very important factor with grazing animals on pasture! 😛

  5. For some time now the ECLSS on board the International Space Station has been able to recover clean water from waste fluids, urine, sweat, and the like. Not really required on ISS, but critical should we ever attempt long duration manned missions.
    I would note that though the water recovered is perfectly safe to drink, for esthetic reasons it generally gets fed into the electrolytic system that breaks it down into oxygen and hydrogen. The O2 is released into cabin air to replace what the crew uses while the H is vented to space.
    Most folks think that we send whomping great tanks of oxygen up to ISS for the crew to breath. In fact it is much more efficient and safe to send up water. No pressurization or thermal insulation required. And as long as you have power you can replenish the only component of cabin air that gets used up.

  6. So, if the ISS had its own horse, oops,- pony on board, their Saturday nights might be a whole lot more entertaining?.
    Does NASA have a suggestions box?.
    Just a thought………

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