Well, you just got to pee it to believe it. That’s what some schoolgirls in Nigeria, Africa are saying. They have created an electrolytic cell that takes in urine and outputs hydrogen.
The teenage girls presented their new invention at the Maker Faire Africa 2012 in Lagos, Nigeria. The girls are Bello Eniola (15), Akindele Abiola (14), Duro-Aina Adebola (14) and Faleke Oluwatoyin (14).
The way the generator works is that urine or urea is poured into the generator. The electrolytic cell separates the hydrogen. The hydrogen is then purified by a water purification system. The hydrogen is then pushed into a gas cylinder.
The hydrogen then goes into a cylinder filled with liquid borax that takes the moisture out of the H2 gas. At this point the hydrogen then goes to the generator which produces electricity.
This invention is not without its problems, however. The safety valves used are questionable as it the fact that electricity is needed to get the electrolysis process started. Also, when urine is electrolyzed then the leftover byproducts are salts and chlorine which will need to be cleaned and disposed of in a safe manner.
But, even with these hurdles one can see why this urine-powered generator would be attractive in some locations. It not only supplies power but helps deal with human waste which can be a real health hazard.
Since we’re a nation of urination it behooves us to take wee steps towards cleaning up our own waste and creating energy while doing so. At least that is what I think.