Though typically uttered with more vulgar language, the off-color remark of "defecating a brick" usually signifies a person's shock. Once you see this solar-powered toilet, you may be inspired to do the same, quite literally.
PHOTOS: Tasty Tech Eye Candy Of The Week
Led by Karl Linden, a environmental engineering professor at the University of Colorado, a team of engineers built the Sol-Char, a toilet that scorches waste via fiber-optic cables, heated by solar concentrators on the roof. The system produces a useful byproduct called biochar, a sanitary charcoal briquette-like material that can be used for agricultural fertilizer and soil amendment.
"A solar concentrator has all this light focused in on one centimeter. It'd be fine if we could bring everyone's fecal waste up to that one point, like burning it with a magnifying glass," Linden told Motherboard. "But that's not practical, so we were thinking of other ways to concentrate that light."
Eight parabolic mirrors aim the sun's rays onto a postage stamp-sized collector, which is then beamed into the cables. When heat combines with photons in the "reaction chamber," 700 watts incinerate the waste at up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit.