The journey begins…

Hi, my name is Henrique and I am fascinated about anthroponics!

The first time I heard about the concept was when I was about to start my Erasmus Internship in Sweden building aquaponic systems, which are pretty damn mind-blowing of themselves. The idea that you can grow plants in a soilless environment (hydroponics) is just mind-boggling for a city dweller such as me. The idea that you could also grow fish and use their waste (aquaculture) to grow these plants makes it even more incredible at just how adaptable and resilient life can be.

My coordinator, Louise Lundberg, and I had come across “peeponics” (using urine instead of fish in an aquaponics system) experiments on-line, particularly in webforums. We decided to give it ago since we both like challenges and we had some room in our budget/thesis to experiment. We succeeded in building a system which fed us with cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, herbs and strawberries using the nutrients from urine which would have been wasted if we had just flushed them down the toilet like most people do every day.

I heard the first use of anthroponics through a contact of Louise, Folke Günther, a former wastewater-engineer-now-turned-aquaponics-enthusiast. Since hydroponics essentially means “to put the water to work”, and aquaponics means “to put the fish to work”, it felt like a better term (anthro is a shorter version of anthropo which means human being) than peeponics. It could also be used for both types of human waste.

As fascinating and groundbreaking as this technology is, I was surprised at how little information I could find about it. The only information available was from backyard enthusiasts, and nowhere could I find any academic research on the subject. While my ego was boosted by effectively being the first person to study this in a university environment, I still feel disapointment at how aquaponic and anthroponic systems alike are largely ignored by most engineering faculties.

As a way to explore and expand the collective knowledge on this topic, I decided to start this blog and share as much information, opinions and research as I can find and create. I also started a subreddit (r/anthroponics) where I hope to gather a community of like-minded enthusiasts so we can help each other and expand the knowledge of this new technology.

So, join me in this “smelly” journey about nutrient recovery, growing crops sustainably and changing our perspective on waste!

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