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Urinal uses fuel cells to generate steady "stream" of electricity

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posted on Mar, 7 2015 @ 08:31 PM
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from GIZMAG
Pun INTENDED! lol


Human urine has been turned into all sorts of things over the centuries. Alchemists distilled phosphorous from it, it was once used for the production of gunpowder, tanners employed it in great vats to tan hides, and it has served as the basis of a myriad chemical substances, including the first types of plastics. Now yet another use for this ubiquitous liquid has been created. Researchers working at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) have built a urinal that converts urine directly into electricity.

"We have already proved that this way of generating electricity works. Work by the Bristol BioEnergy Centre hit the headlines in 2013 when the team demonstrated that electricity generated by microbial fuel cell stacks could power a mobile phone. This exciting project with Oxfam could have a huge impact in refugee camps," said Professor Ieropoulos.



Staff and students are asked to donate as often as they can, which shouldn't be too much trouble with the prototype erected right outside the student union bar at the university. To ensure that the trial resembles real life as closely as possible, the toilets are built to look just like those supplied by Oxfam to refugee camps. Except that, in the interests of science and donator curiosity, there is also a clear plastic screen through which users may observe the MFC that turns the urine into electrical power.

"The microbial fuel cells work by employing live microbes which feed on urine (fuel) for their own growth and maintenance. The MFC is in effect a system which taps a portion of that biochemical energy used for microbial growth, and converts that directly into electricity – what we are calling urine-tricity or pee power," said Professor Ieropoulos. "This technology is about as green as it gets, as we do not need to utilize fossil fuels and we are effectively using a waste product that will be in plentiful supply."

Getting the huge number of toilet/fuel cell combinations out to the field will be a big enough logistical problem in itself, let alone the cost of doing so. Which is why it is also exceptionally important that this technology be both affordable to create, and generate electricity for as long a period as possible. The team at UWE Britol thinks this is achievable.

"One microbial fuel cell costs about £1 (USD $1.50) to make, and we think that a small unit like the demo we have mocked up for this experiment could cost as little as £600 (USD $900) to set up, which is a significant bonus as this technology is in theory everlasting," said Professor Ieropoulos.

The short video below shows interviews with the UWE Bristol team and some pictures of the system in place at the university.


LIFE changing for so many people on so many levels. This is just brilliant.
How to get this running on a larger scale is the next question... I see no reason why we all couldn't power our homes off a machine like this.
To me this is Nobel peace prize deserving.
edit on 3/7/2015 by DjembeJedi because: (no reason given)

edit on 3/7/2015 by DjembeJedi because: (no reason given)

edit on 3/7/2015 by DjembeJedi because: (no reason given)

edit on 3/7/2015 by DjembeJedi because: (no reason given)

edit on 3/7/2015 by DjembeJedi because: (no reason given)




posted on Mar, 7 2015 @ 08:52 PM
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Good idea I hope it works out.

I will admit the idea made me cringe a little with the electricity pee thing not because I found it gross but because I imagined peeing on an electric fence in a pasture.



posted on Mar, 7 2015 @ 09:12 PM
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a reply to: Grimpachi

Oh, Ummm, don't do that!!! Believe Me, not a good idea!! I grew up on a farm and had to try it one night. You know, bored I guess. I never did it again!! LMFAO!!!!!!



posted on Mar, 7 2015 @ 09:25 PM
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a reply to: SyxPak

We had a Irish Setter named Duffy. She loved to roll in cow dung so had to carry around dog shampoo. After Duffy had a roll in a field it was down to the creek to wash it out. There was an electric fence that ran the length and Duffy brushed up against it all wet. Still standing in the creek not even touching Duffy at that point I think my hair stood up. I can't even imagine what Duffy felt.

I didn't fish the ponds on that property anymore and Duffy never looked at so much as a wire the same again.



edit on 7-3-2015 by Grimpachi because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 7 2015 @ 09:43 PM
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a reply to: DjembeJedi

I'm ... scofff! Uh.
I tip my hat towards science. It was theorized that Darth Vader powered his suit by this method.

Just my observation. Why is a first world idea being tested in a third world country. What benefits does this African establishment have with electricity? Surely the plumbing is up and coming. But of that video clip... I saw no live STREAMING electrical grid...

Still an up for science. Soon bars across the world can rely on patrons for a power source...

S&F... this would also help in space travel too...



posted on Mar, 7 2015 @ 09:43 PM
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a reply to: DjembeJedi

I think i will just categorize this one under another use for beer



posted on Mar, 7 2015 @ 09:46 PM
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originally posted by: hopenotfeariswhatweneed
a reply to: DjembeJedi

I think i will just categorize this one under another use for beer

Now theres Always a reason for another BEER!

edit on 3/7/2015 by DjembeJedi because: (no reason given)

edit on 3/7/2015 by DjembeJedi because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 7 2015 @ 09:50 PM
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a reply to: Grimpachi

Our Dogs did that too! I always wondered why. I mean they liked being petted, I thought!? LOL!! Well they are dogs afterall.
LOL! Yah I bet She didn't like any wires after all that right? LMAO!!! Some things, Ya just never forget, right?! LOL!!!



posted on Mar, 8 2015 @ 12:00 PM
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originally posted by: Bigburgh
a reply to: DjembeJedi

I'm ... scofff! Uh.
I tip my hat towards science. It was theorized that Darth Vader powered his suit by this method.

Just my observation. Why is a first world idea being tested in a third world country. What benefits does this African establishment have with electricity? Surely the plumbing is up and coming. But of that video clip... I saw no live STREAMING electrical grid...

Still an up for science. Soon bars across the world can rely on patrons for a power source...

S&F... this would also help in space travel too...


I don't get what you're asking. What benefit would they have from electricity?

I think they'd use electricity much like we do.

They mentioned that it was useful for refuge camps. I don't know how much power it puts out, but people need power for medical facilities, lights, warmth, refrigeration to help food supplies last longer etc. Depending on the output and priority of the needs associated, it could be a huge benefit.



posted on Mar, 8 2015 @ 03:56 PM
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Finally! A proper reason to 'go' on the electric fence...multitasking at its finest...maybe someone could figure out a way to power my smartphone the same way (of course, it would have to be waterproof)...

Å99



posted on Mar, 8 2015 @ 04:17 PM
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Pretty cool. I would have thought such a system would only be capable of generating a mere trickle of electricity.



posted on Mar, 9 2015 @ 09:27 AM
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originally posted by: Bigburgh
Just my observation. Why is a first world idea being tested in a third world country. What benefits does this African establishment have with electricity?

Electric lights maybe?
Electric water pumps?



posted on Mar, 10 2015 @ 12:16 PM
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originally posted by: Orwells Ghost
Pretty cool. I would have thought such a system would only be capable of generating a mere trickle of electricity.
Did something convince you otherwise?

I don't see any details on the power output, which is important to know for something that generates electricity. I'd like to know how much power it produces, and I suspect it's unimpressive because if it was impressive, it would probably be mentioned. I'd also like to know what maintenance is involved, or maybe that's something they are learning about in the trials.
edit on 10-3-2015 by Arbitrageur because: clarification




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