Yay or Nay: Urine-powered cellphone charger

Urine-powered cellphone charger

Urine-powered cellphone charger

A research group from the University of the West of England has developed a machine that would charge cellphones using your own urine. The secret to this urine-powered cellphone charger is a microbial fuel cell (MFC, pictured below) the researchers have created, which converts organic matter like urine into electricity.

The MFC is made up of lab-grown bacteria that break down the chemicals found in urine as part of their metabolic process. These bacteria produce electrons while consuming the urine, which then creates a small electrical charge that the MFC stores.

The microbial fuel cell found in urine-powered cellphone charger

Once the MFC processes the urine, the electrical charge is then stored in a capacitor. Researchers tested their urine-powered cellphone charger using a commercially-available Samsung mobile phone. The test was a success, but the electricity in the fuel cell is good enough to last a single phone call.

Researchers believe this technology can be installed in future bathrooms and would also help charge up electric razors and toothbrushes. They also hope it would be especially useful in developing countries.

“The beauty of this fuel source is that we are not relying on the erratic nature of the wind or the sun; we are actually reusing waste to create energy,” said Dr. Ioannis Ieropoulos, an engineer at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory where the fuel cell were created. “One product that we can be sure of an unending supply is our own urine.”

The current version of their urine-powered cellphone charger is about the size of a car battery, but the researchers believe it can be made smaller and more portable in the future.

Another reason to consider charging your cellphone with pee: it costs cheaper. Each fuel cell costs about $1.50 to make.

The research received funding from the public money provided by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Source: The Independent

Leave a Reply

Back to top