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Here's Why A Piece of Poop Was Put on Display at the Paris Climate Talks

Poop may be the fuel of the future, and it showed up to the climate negotiations in Paris to stake its claim.
Image: Phillip Pessar/Flickr

Among the world leaders, powerful negotiators, and renowned scientists in attendance at the Paris climate talks last week, there was one silent, unmoving attendee: a single turd.

The poop was part of a display meant to advocate the use of waste as raw material for a host of products, including water bottles, according to Agence France-Presse.

"This is the third Industrial Revolution," Regis Nouaille, founder of biotech startup Afyren, told AFP. "It changes the world from using oil products to using biomass."

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Other materials the company suggested could be used include slaughterhouse discard and scraps from vegetable farms. Afyren asserts that by adding a chemical cocktail to these raw materials, "building blocks" can be extracted that are then used to make materials like plastic and petrol. There are many applications, but Afyren hopes to implement the technology in African communities without electricity.

This is far from the first time that waste has been put forward as a more sustainable fuel source. In fact, last November, the U.K. debuted its first poop-powered buses, vehicles meant to transport some 10,000 monthly commuters.

Just before, Caltech won a contest with a campaign to create a solar-powered toilet. The toilet converts human waste into hydrogen fuel cells and fertilizer — what was called a "miniature power plant" that cuts down on waste while also producing energy.

Poop, it might be said, is the power of the future. And if Afyren has anything to do with it, we'll all be drinking out of water bottles that we pooped out ourselves someday.