We told you about these guys about two years ago, when they announced the development of a fuel cell, powered by urine, which can provide sufficient amount of energy to charge your mobile phone. Now, their invention is not only polished up and refined, but it is also integrated into a design that can be put in direct use and make a difference.
A fully functioning prototype of a urinal, which contains bacteria that breaks down the chemicals in urine and releases energy during this process, is now placed in the campus of University of the West of England in Bristol. The electricity from urine is then stored in a capacitor within a microbial fuel cell (MFC), which pretty much maintains itself.
Thanks to Oxfam, an aid agency, which helped in the development process, and with funds provided by Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, the units, which provide “everlasting source of power” are now ready and fully operational. These are extremely suitable for areas where power supply is limited, such as refugee camps, and hold a huge potential to revolutionize clean energy production.
According to the team behind the invention, one electricity from urine generator will not cost more than £600 ($914 or 827 Euros).
Urine has been used on numerous occasions before to produce fresh drinking water, eco-friendly building cement, fertilizer for urban roof-top gardens, but it seems it has always been just that little bit away from being part of a real product that hits the market shelves.
Considering that around 6.4tn litres of urine is produced by people on annual basis around the world, it was about the right time that someone tapped in this precious renewable energy resource. It seems, we can finally say that this time we have the real deal.
Image (c) UWE Bristol