Science, it seems, has found yet another renewable energy source.
A new type of fuel cell has been developed by scientists Britain’s University of Bristol that releases electrical energy through the breakdown of human urine by bacteria. The cell can provide enough energy to power a mobile phone. Water is stored in one side of the power cell and urine at the other; at the point where the two liquids meet, bacteria helps produce the voltage, ABC News notes.
While the new power cell does create electrical power, researchers say it requires a constant supply of nutrients to feed the bacteria. This renders it relatively inefficient.
So don’t look for urine-powered smartphones to hit store shelves any time soon. Still, research into using human waste to produce electricity is continuing and could eventually become useful power source in underdeveloped regions.
Last year, a solar-powered toilet that converts human waste into hydrogen that can later be used to produce electricity won a $100,000 prize from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.