Being able to charge and use your smartphone during emergencies is important. Most of us don’t mind using a solar charger to get the job done. A group of researchers at the University of the West of England are taking a different approach. They are working on a urine-powered smartphone charger. The system uses a microbial fuel cell that turns urine into electricity.
The MFCs have bacteria that break down the chemicals in urine and generate small electrical charges. Here is what Dr Ioannis Ieropoulos, an engineer at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, had to say about this:
No one has harnessed power from urine to do this so it’s an exciting discovery … The beauty of this fuel source is that we are not relying on the erratic nature of the wind or the sun; we are actually reusing waste to create energy. One product that we can be sure of an unending supply is our own urine.
The device is almost as small as a car battery but needs to be much smaller in the future. The concept has been tested and works. But it can be improved in some areas. You are going to need a ton of urine to fully charge an iPhone with this but the urine phone charger could work well in remote locations of some developing countries. Considering that we have seen athletes drink their own urine to improve their performance (e.g. Machida), this idea does not surprise us at all. How about you?