Greens put the ‘P’ in phone; New urine-powered phone reduces waste

The Independent reports:

A group of researchers from the University of the West of England have invented a method of charging mobile phones using urine.

Key to the breakthrough is the creation of a new microbial fuel cell (MFC) that turns organic matter – in the case, urine – into electricity.

The MFCs are full of specially-grown bacteria that break down the chemicals in urine as part of their normal metabolic process. The bacteria produce electrons as they consume the matter and it this natural process that creates a small electrical charge to be stored in the MFC.

“No one has harnessed power from urine to do this so it’s an exciting discovery,” said Dr Ioannis Ieropoulos, an engineer at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory where the fuel cells were developed.

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7 thoughts on “Greens put the ‘P’ in phone; New urine-powered phone reduces waste”

  1. This is a little like the Martian joke:
    “The Martians have landed! But it’s okay because they drink sewage and tinkle gasoline!”
    If it works (when have we typed that before?) it could be very interesting indeed. There’s a lot of sewage to treat in urban areas. Even if this just took the treatment plant itself off-line for power production, that would be of some use.

  2. All such devices put bacteria under some sort of stress., to which they respond by quickly evolving to do something else (if the medium is rich) or dying off (if it isn’t). They only run as intended for a limited time — just enough for a demo.

  3. “No one has harnessed power from urine to do this so it’s an exciting discovery.”

    Things must be kinda slow in Bristol.

  4. Just what we need, a phone that requires a health certificate to trade in…..

    Actually this might be pretty useful in survival situations, not that I see a big market in it.

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