LONDON - Scientists at Bristol Robotics Lab in the UK have worked out how to turn urine into electricity. They feed off things they find in waste water and urine.
A collection of cylinders is filled with electro-active micro-organisms. Electrons are created as a by-product, which can then be turned into electricity and used to charge phones and power some lights.
The device is due to be tested at Glastonbury Festival, it will be fascinating to see the results. This device would be a heaven send for many festival goers that may not have access to power outlets, unfortunately the device does slowly charge smartphones. So no fast charging just yet, hopefully this is something the Bristol Robotics Team could look into implementing.
Professor Ioannis Ieropoulos from UWE Bristol is an expert at harnessing power from unusual sources using microbial fuel cells.
“We are very excited as this is a world first, no-one has harnessed power from urine to do this so it's an exciting discovery. Using the ultimate waste product as a source of power to produce electricity is about as eco as it gets,” he says.
“One product that we can be sure of an unending supply is our own urine. By harnessing this power as urine passes through a cascade of microbial fuel cells (MFCs), we have managed to charge a Samsung mobile phone. The beauty of this fuel source is that we are not relying on the erratic nature of the wind or the sun; we are actually re-using waste to create energy," he added.
So far the microbial fuel power stack that we have developed generates enough power to enable SMS messaging, web browsing and to make a brief phone call. Making a call on a mobile phone takes up the most energy but we will get to the place where we can charge a battery for longer periods.
"The concept has been tested and it works, it's now for us to develop and refine the process so that we can develop MFCs to fully charge a battery,” he said.