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New Fuel Cell Powers Mobile Phones Using Urine

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3-mobilephonesScientists from University of Bristol and Bristol Robotics Laboratory in Southwest England found a way to charge a mobile device using the power of urine. Their study was published in the latest issue of the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics.

The team created a fuel cell, which uses bacteria to break down urine and create just enough electricity to power a mobile device just enough to send a SMS, make a quick call and briefly browse the web.

The study is unique in many ways. For starters, no one has used the power of urine to generate electricity before. But what makes the findings even more exciting, is that this source of energy is for certain unlimited.

The method involves growing of bacteria on carbon fiber anodes, and keeping them in ceramic cylinders. When urine passes through these cylinders, the bacteria brake down the chemicals resulting in the production of small electrical charge, which is then stored on a capacitor.

Ioannis Ieropoulos, an engineer and one of the inventors, is certain that the new fuel cell can be used for various applications. The technology called microbial fuel power stack (MFC) has the size of a car battery.

The team is now working on polishing the process so that they can design a MFC, which can charge the battery of a mobile device fully. They hope that soon their technology will be used to power various domestic devices.

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