Hot News About Urine Power

The Brits have made another scientific breakthrough. A few years ago we wrote Electrical Power from Urine? about some pioneering British research in producing electricity from urine. It’s a potentially unlimited power source.

Now we have more news to report. We found this at PhysOrg: Power-generating urinal pioneered in Britain. Once again, the Brits are leading the way. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

British scientists on Thursday unveiled a toilet that unlocks energy stored within urine to generate electricity, which they hope could be used to light remote places such as refugee camps. Students and staff at the University of the West of England in Bristol are being encouraged to use the prototype urinal, which has been developed with aid agency Oxfam and is currently located on campus.

According to Wikipedia, Oxfam is “an international confederation of 17 organizations working in approximately 94 countries worldwide to find solutions to poverty and what it considers injustice around the world.” That explains the reference to refugee camps. Then PhysOrg says:

If the unit is found to provide a reliable source of power, the researchers hope it can be installed in refugee camps to provide a constant supply of electricity — and light. “It is always a challenge to light inaccessible areas far from a power supply,” explained Andy Bastable, Head of Water and Sanitation at Oxfam.

Never mind refugee camps; we want one of those at home! Let’s read on:

Each unit could eventually cost around £600 ($914; 827 euros) to build and install, providing an “everlasting” source of power, according to research team leader Ioannis Ieropoulos.

Ieropoulos was involved in the research we wrote about in our earlier post. PhysOrg continues:

The units contain bacteria that breaks down the chemicals in urine, in the process releasing energy in the form of electricity which is stored on a capacitor within a fuel cell. “The microbial fuel cells (MFC) work by employing live microbes which feed on urine for their own growth and maintenance,” explained Ieropoulos.

Wow — if there are bacteria that feed on urine, imagine what that means for the abundance of life in the universe. Then they quote Ieropoulos again:

The MFC is, in effect, a system which taps a portion of that biochemical energy. This technology is about as green as it gets, as we do not need to utilise fossil fuels and we are effectively using a waste product that will be in plentiful supply.

Well, we wouldn’t go so far as to call it green, but we know what he means. Hey, speaking of “green” energy, the Brits are also showing the way in a related area, as we wrote in Breathtaking British Breakthrough. You remember that. It was about Britain’s first bus powered entirely by human and food waste, called a poo-powered bus.

But work in that exciting field is also going on in the US — at the University of Florida, as we recently wrote in Poop-Powered Spacecraft. Nevertheless, at this time it must be conceded that the Brits are number one — not only in number one, but also in number two.

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3 responses to “Hot News About Urine Power

  1. I am swelling with pride in my adopted country.

    Britannia rules the waves!

  2. “Used to light remote places such as refugee camps”!?! Why limit the use of this breakthrough technology to such a small application?

    Look, it’s in England, where there’s a pub on every corner, and a few more in the middle of the block to boot. So, what is consumed in vast quantities in pubs? Ale! And what does that consumption result in? Yes! Vast quantities of pee! So what’s in England’s future? Pee-powered pubs, of course! And with enough consumption of ale, all of England can be pee-powered!

    Drink hearty! Save the environment!

  3. Once again, Pope Retiredsciguy has spoken great words of deep wisdom.

    And as many a wag has scrawled on the walls of many a pub loo:

    You don’t buy beer, you only rent it