OK. You actually have to urinate on some microbial fuel cells firstWe’ve heard of festival goes trying all sorts of ways of powering their mobile phones but this one takes the biscuit. A team of experts from the University of the West of England and the University of Bristol working together as the Bristol Robotics Laboratory have discovered a way to charge mobile phones using human urine. They’ve been able to charge a Samsung phone by putting urine through a cascade of microbial fuel cells. Well, the one thing you’re never short of at music festivals is definitely piss.
Currently the technology is unable to fully charge a handheld device but it generated enough electricity to send text messages, browse the internet and make a brief phone call.
“We are very excited as this is a world first – no-one has harnessed power from urine to do this,” explained Dr Ioannis Ieropoulos, from the University of the West of England who made the discovery.
The microbial fuel cells act as an energy converter, which turns organic matter directly into electricity, via the metabolism of live microorganisms.
Essentially, the electricity is a by-product of the microbes’ natural life cycle, so the more they eat things like urine, the more energy they generate and for longer periods of time.
This is the first time they have been able to directly charge a mobile phone battery, however.
As Friends of the Earth observed, it is hard to think of a more ec-friendly (or Green) way of generating power than making use of the one thing which we will never run out of – human urine.