Electricity from urine

Global warming is mainly caused by the pollution of the environment through the use of carbon fuels. The world through United Nations has adopted the use of cleaner sources of energy which is meant to reduce carbon emissions. Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) lab has come up with a system which generates electricity through the use of urine and other liquid waste.


How does this happen

The system uses  Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) which can directly convert organic waste into electricity. Urine is fed into chambers  containing electro-active micro organisms.These organisms use the waste and produce electrons as by products. The electrons are then channeled to output electricity that is capable of charging a smartphone as well as light up bulbs.

This system is already in use at Bristol Robotics Laboratory and is being offered in-house for urine donors to charge their phones whilst using the bathroom.

What to expect ahead

The project is being sponsored by a large number of reputable organisations including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The scientists who came up with this new invention have written a paper entitled “Waste to real energy: the first MFC powered mobile phone”. For those who want to dig deeper in to how the technology works, you can download the paper here.

Considering the rise in global demand for energy, this technology can be a real game changer. There is still a long way to go though in making this technology available to the masses.

Our view

Technology can only influence society if it is affordable and available to a large population. Technologies such as the one developed by Bristol Robotics Laboratory will play a pivotal role in the transition to a carbon free world (we are not yet sure if this is possible).

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step – Laozi

This could be the single step we need towards a carbon free world.