And now for something completely different. Bear Grylls was right all along. Urine really does hold some sort of power. Researchers at the University of Bath and the Queen Mary University of London want to generate energy using...wait for it...urine. Allegedly, this would be able to provide electricity to rural areas at a very small cost of £1-£2. It is a microbial fuel cell that utilizing natural processes to generate natural 'electric' bacteria. This would theoretically turn urine into electricity. 

The urine flows through the fuel cell which causes a reaction, thereby generating electricity that can be stored or even power electronic devices. The team responsible for this creation is the university's Department of Chemical Engineering, Department of Chemistry and the Centre for Sustainable Technologies (CSCT). 

A lecturer from Bath's Chemical Engineering branch said,

If we can harness the potential power of this human waste, we could revolutionise how electricity is generated. Microbial fuel cells can play an important role in addressing the triple challenge of finding solutions that support, secure, affordable, and environmentally sensitive energy, known as the 'energy trilemma'." There is no single solution to this energy trilemma apart from taking full advantage of available indigenous resources, which include urine.

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Credit: The Bath Chronicle

The researchers claim the cell can achieve two watts per cubic metre which would be enough energy to power a mobile phone. Yes. You can power your cell phone with your urine. Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering, Tim Mays, said: "Renewable 'pee-power' is a brilliant idea and its use in developing countries will have a huge positive impact on people's lives in areas of energy poverty." 

The paper titled  Towards effective small scale microbial fuel cells for energy generation from urine was published in the Electrochimica Acta journal. The team also states in the abstract that they were able to connect three devices together and achieve an output ten times higher than one cell by itself. 

The team is now continuing their work into improving the power output and think that they can come up with more efficient designs that could actually see this cell making its way to impoverished communities. 

Source: The Bath Chronicle 


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