Dead battery? Scientists use human urine to charge cell phones

Urine might be all that you need to charge your phone / CREDIT: Metro File Photo
Urine might be all that you need to charge your phone / CREDIT: Metro File Photo

Recycling has taken on a completely new meaning in the form of a urine-powering cell phones. You heard that right; your cell phone could be completely charged by your very own pee.

According to PC Magazine, a group of British scientists at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory is experimenting with a process that turns urine into a battery-charging mechanism.

“Using the ultimate waste product as a source of power to produce electricity is about as eco as it gets,” Ieropoulos told the magazine.

The scientific team has been working for quite some time on their version of the microbial fuel cell (MFC). The idea has been pondered for centuries, however actual usage has never come to fruition until now.

MFCs essentially use bacteria to break down organic material and create power. The bacteria need the right power to create useful amounts of electricity, and the ultimate the Bristol scientists believe that human urine will do the trick.

“Urine is chemically very active, rich in nitrogen and has compounds such as urea, chloride, potassium and bilirubin, which make it very good for the microbial fuel cells,” Ieropoulos said.

Ieropoulos believes that this collection innovation could be placed in public bathrooms, in an effort to keep urine for reuse. Eventually he believes that enough urine could be produced that it could power lighting, toothbrushes and of course cell phones.

For a better look at the Ieropoulos’s urine-power system, check out the Bristol Robotics Laboratory video here.

Follow Courtney M. Fowler on Twitter: @Court_Nation


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