Pee power: Researchers discover how to convert urine into electricity

Thank you, science

Researchers at the University of Bath have developed a miniature fuel cell that can generate electricity from urine. This process is an affordable, renewable and carbon-neutral way to produce power. 

It is hoped that the device could be developed to produce electricity to remote areas at a low cost. Each device costs between £1 and £2. 

The miniature fuel cell uses the natural processes of 'electric' bacteria to turn organic matter, such as urine, into electricity. The urine will pass through the fuel cell, thus causing a reaction. The bacteria then generates electricity which can be used or stored. 

The fuel cell measures one inch squared and makes excellent economic sense. At present, one micro fuel cell can generate 2 watts per cubic metre, which is enough to power a mobile phone. 

Lead author and CSCT PhD student, Jon Chouler said: "Microbial fuel cells could be a great source of energy in developing countries, particularly in impoverished and rural areas. To have created technology that can potentially transform the lives of poor people who don't have access to, or cannot afford electricity, is an exciting prospect. I hope this will enable those in need to enjoy a better quality of life as a result of our research."