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Dr Ioannis Ieropoulos, from the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, claimed harnessing power from "the ultimate waste product" was "a world first". "One product that we can be sure of an unending supply is our own urine," he said. "By harnessing this power as urine passes through a cascade of microbial fuel cells (MFCs), we have managed to charge a Samsung mobile phone." The scientists believe the technology has the future potential to be installed in bathrooms to harness the urine and produce sufficient electricity to power showers, lighting or razors as well as mobile phones.
"Making a call on a mobile phone takes up the most energy, but we will get to the place where we can charge a battery for longer periods. "The concept has been tested and it works - it's now for us to develop and refine the process so that we can develop MFCs to fully charge a battery."
The electricity is a by-product of the microbes' natural life cycle, so the more they eat things like urine the more energy they generate and for longer periods of time.