London: NASA astronomers are trying to turn pee into pure drinking water. Back on earth, pee can soon be commercially used to charge smartphones and tablets.
Researchers at Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) in Britain are now working on the second phase of a project called `urine-tricity` to turn urine into electrical power.
“`Urine-tricity` successfully demonstrated the charging of a commercially available mobile phone, using Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs) fed with real neat urine,” a statement from the BRL website read.
“Urine-tricity++ follows on as Phase II of the project, with the aim to develop MFCs into a mature sustainable energy technology with a direct application in everyday life that could change the way people perceive waste and energy,” it added.
When urine flows through an MFC, the microbes consume it as part of their normal metabolic process.
This then frees electrons. Electrodes within the cell gathers these electrons and when they are connected to an excellent circuit, a current is generated.
The continuous flow nature of the MFC technology facilitates continuous growth of the constituent biofilm organisms, which clean the input, and can be subsequently used as fertiliser.
In essence, the more powerful the MFC is, the greater are the rates of urine utilisation, the website added.