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This New Green Fuel Is Yellow: A Car That Runs On Urine

Pit stop
Pit stop
Nicola Pinna

SASSARI — The raw material costs absolutely nothing, and to fill up your tank there’s no need to look for a gas station. All you need to do is drink some water to stimulate your diuretic system and take a break at a rest stop.

Yes, the solution to expensive petrol may be a car that runs on urine.

This actually isn’t a new idea, but a Sardinian researcher named Franco Lisci has developed a way to get around the problems that prevented the use of urine as power until now. His environmentally friendly cars are supported by the University of Sassari and other observers, such as Legambiente — the Italian Environmentalist Association.

Lisci created two types of engines: one for cars and one for domestic use, to power lights as well as water heaters, dishwashers and washing machines.

Among many of his innovations, the formation of condensation and abundance of polluting particles has been avoided by using a special filter: pure sheep’s wool.

On going green (or, well, yellow), Lisci is willing to bet that “the energy produced by the machinery from the urine is not just suitable for domestic use but for engines of cars, trucks and boats and could replace gasoline and other fuels. In Italy this is illegal, but you can use it as an additive,” explains the entrepeneur.

To this end, Lisci has developed transformers that allow the use of urine as an additive in cars that run on other fuels. The results from these tests are more than encouraging. A car that runs on petrol can save 35% with the addition of urine while a car that runs on diesel saves 60% and one that runs on a gas combination can save up to 80%. A boat or trawler could reduce their diesel costs by 65%.”

Savings aside, this proposal also solves the smog problem. “At the end of the process the urine turns into clean water,” says Daniela Ducato, coordinator of the project Casa Verde C02.0 (Green House CO2.0). “This clean water is full of useful substances to nourish the earth.”

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A Refuge From China's Rat Race: The Young People Flocking To Buddhist Monasteries

Unemployment, stress in the workplace, economic difficulties: more and more young Chinese graduates are flocking to monasteries to find "another school of life."

Photograph of a girl praying at a temple during Chinese Lunar New Year. She is burning incense.

Feb 20, 2015 - Huaibei, China - Chinese worshippers pray at a temple during the Lunar New Yeat

Frédéric Schaeffer

JIAXING — It's already dawn at Xianghai Temple when Lin, 26, goes to the Hall of 10,000 Buddhas for the 5:30 a.m. prayer.

Still half-asleep, the young woman joins the monks in chanting mantras and reciting sacred texts for an hour. Kneeling, she bows three times to Vairocana, also known as the Great Sun Buddha, who dominates the 42-meter-high hall representing the cosmos.

Before grabbing a vegetarian breakfast in the adjacent refectory, monks and devotees chant around the hall to the sound of drums and gongs.

"I resigned last October from the e-commerce company where I had been working for the past two years in Nanjing, and joined the temple in January, where I am now a volunteer in residence," explains the young woman, soberly dressed in black pants and a cream linen jacket.

Located in the city of Jiaxing, over a hundred kilometers from Shanghai, in eastern China, the Xianghai temple is home to some 20 permanent volunteers.

Unlike Lin, most of them only stay for a couple days or a few weeks. But for Lin, who spends most of her free time studying Buddhist texts in the temple library, the change in her life has been radical. "I used to do the same job every day, sometimes until very late at night, writing all kinds of reports for my boss. I was exhausted physically and mentally. I felt my life had no meaning," she says.

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