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How pee-powered fuel cells can generate electricity

How pee-powered fuel cells can generate electricity

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Making energy from urine may be one way of turning human and animal waste into an energy source. Scientist at Bristol Robotics Laboratory created mic...

Making energy from urine may be one way of turning human and animal waste into an energy source. Scientist at Bristol Robotics Laboratory created microbial fuel cells (MFCs) that use bacteria to break down molecules found in urine. The fuel cells run on uric acid, creatinine, and small peptides.

In the lab experiment, the scientists developed a fuel cell that can produce a current of 0.25mA for 3 days from 25ml of urine, according to the Royal Society of Chemistry.

However, a scientist at Cornell says even if the process works, it needs to get past the yuck factor. People may not even want to separate their urine, not to mention that it might not even make sense economically.

It's not the first time urine has been used to recycle waste: NASA scientists figured out how to recycle urine into drinking water. That last application though, is a little harder to stomach than simply using urine for energy.

via Royal Society of Chemistry

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Boonsri Dickinson

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Boonsri Dickinson is a freelance journalist based in San Francisco. She has written for Discover, The Huffington Post, Forbes, Nature Biotech, Technewsdaily.com, Techstartups.com and AOL. She's currently a reporter for Business Insider. She holds degrees from the University of Florida and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure