The Secret Science of Pee
A research team at an Edinburgh University think they've cracked the answer to providing renewable, commercially viable and environmentally friendly energy from it; harvesting the multitude of medically powerful ingredients it holds could become big business; an innovative Danish company has found a way to turn it into plastics; NASA have even found a novel way of cooking with it in space!
The scientific applications for this wonder substance seem almost to be without end - and the good news doesn't end there. Not only is it free but we humans alone make enough of it every year to replace the entire contents of Loch Lomond - picture a million Olympic sized swimming pools full to brimming and you're getting close - so what's the downside? Attitude. More specifically, ours. Why? Well, because this amber nectar, miracle-working wonder stuff is urine - and we go squeamish at its mere mention, an attitude that has blinded us to its astonishing versatility and potential.
In The Secret Science of Pee Sally Magnusson provides a truly surprising and enlightening look at some of the more extraordinary and innovative contemporary scientific applications for urine; asks why we've become so uncomfortable with even talking about this casually despised blood product when it has been an essential part of life for centuries; and considers the shocking environmental cost (the UK uses 65,000 gigajoules a day to pump, stir, heat and aerate our urine - that's about a quarter of the output of the country's largest coal-fired power station) of flushing away such an abundant and abundantly useful substance.
Flushing the toilet will never be the same again.