Thursday, September 4, 2014

Pee Power

A recent article in the Economist touched on one of this blog's favorite subjects: toilets.

Well, not toilets, exactly, but rather the question of what might be done with the 6.4 trillion liters of urine produced every year. (I think a good portion of that comes at halftime of English football matches, but I digress).

Researchers at the University of Bristol have developed a simple fuel cell utilizing microbes to turn urine into electricity. Besides being a (very) renewable energy source, the broader economic impacts might help drive construction of more toilet facilities.

More people in the developing world have access to a cell phone than a toilet. A business could well profit from a facility allowing a user to safely dispose of waste, and boost their phone's charge at the same time. Nothing like the profit motive to get those toilets built!

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