“I need to pee.”
“My phone is dying.”
They’re such familiar phrases — everyday mini-crises of modern life, and that makes them a perfect match. It’s one made not in heaven but in a British laboratory. And what a beautiful scientific marriage it is, reported Credit.com
Using ‘pee power’, scientists have been able to provide three hours of phone calls for every six hours of charge time, all from 600ml of urine, according to Engineering and Technology Magazine.
A miniature fuel cell that costs less than £2 (R38.00) and can generate electricity from a single visit to the toilet has recharged a smartphone for the first time.
“Although it was demonstrated in the past that a basic mobile phone could be charged by microbial fuel cells, the present study goes beyond this to show how, simply using urine, a microbial fuel cell system successfully charges a modern-day smartphone,” Professor Ioannis Ieropoulos of the University of the West of England in Bristol told the magazine.
Each of the fuel cells costs between £1 and £2 and works by using natural biological processes of ‘electric’ bacteria to turn urine into electricity.
Urine passes through the microbial fuel cell for this reaction to happen, with the bacteria then generating electricity.
This can be stored or used to directly power electrical devices.
Credit.com added that while those scientists continue to refine their impressive problem-solving skills, it’s kind of fun to think of some other (less important) things we could do with “Urine-tricity,” as Ieropoulos calls it.
It’s not too much of a stretch to think people would pee as a means to power their smartphones. Plenty of people would rather spend money than wander the world with a dead phone, considering you can buy charger cables pretty much anywhere, as well as device-charging phone cases and portable chargers. There’s also the common tactic of buying a coffee, beer or snack to justify your use of an establishment’s power outlets. At least pee power allows you to charge your phone by taking advantage of something you already need to do, as opposed to whipping out your credit card to solve your battery-life woes.