Saturday, 2 May 2015

Extracting the Urine

I came across an interesting couple of stories.

The world believes that we are facing an energy crisis. And the World is correct. In the main based upon the premise that its due to the dwindling stocks of non renewable energy.  Small scale solar and large scale river turbines as well as wave action are just some of the inventive ways under investigation into alternative energy. What are needed are resources that do not damage the environment and help to counteract the problem of diminishing resources. 

What's needed is new thinking to capture the renewable energy. One of these ways to generate energy is by using human and animal  urine. It sounds a little nasty, but the story is quite remarkable. A group of 14 year old’s from Lagos, Nigeria, (Duro-Aina Adebola, Akindele Abiola, Faleke Oluwatoyin, and Bello Eniola) developed a urine powered generator. One that can provide up to 6 hours of power on 1 liter of pee.

The system that works like this: Urine is put into an electrolytic cell, which separates out the hydrogen. The hydrogen enters a water filter for purification, which then gets pushed into a gas cylinder. The gas cylinder pushes hydrogen into a cylinder of liquid borax, which is used to remove the moisture from the hydrogen. This purified hydrogen gas is pushed into the generator.

Prior to the development of this technology, a firm called E3 Technologies, LLC, based in Athens, Ohio, developed a similar technology called the “Greenbox.” It’s designed to clean commercial and agricultural waste water and produces hydrogen energy. The process has been patented. It is a low energy electrolysis process that converts ammonia and urea in waste water to hydrogen, nitrogen and pure water. The electric current in the device creates an electrochemical reaction that oxidises urea and turns it into carbon dioxide which is then moved into the electrolyte material in the machine. This technology was developed by Professor Gerardine Botte, a chemical engineer at Ohio University.

However, what these kids are doing is taking urea electrolysis and making hydrogen and then using that hydrogen to make electricity. – Gerardine Botte

The implications behind this technology, or any clean energy technology for that matter is far reaching. We are constantly presented with better ways of doing things, but rarely do we see a quick implementation or production of these technologies. The urine powered generator technology has many applications. Agriculture and waster water treatment operations for example, not to mention the construction industry all deal with the disposal of ammonia.  Why not use this ammonia for energy generation in multiple ways? 

Imagine if the waste from your toilet visits was transported into a tank which converted it into energy to power your own house. What if all the toilets in your city all led to one spot which converted the waste to harness immense power? I know it’s not that easy, but the technology is there.

If we want to help our planet we must move away from the use of unsustainable energy technologies such as oil and nuclear. Energy generation practices that aren’t clean should be banned or limited in use. The cleaner and greener options are already here, we just need the information to reach more people.

Everybody on the planet should have access to clean green power, we have the solutions to make this possible. The implications of some clean green energy generation techniques are far reaching, and would eliminate poverty worldwide.

Then I found this - a new Invention - A Battery Powered by Urine

Scientists in Singapore have invented a battery powered by urine. "We are striving to develop cheap electricity upon contact with biofluids such as urine" says Ki Bang Lee, PhD, MS, in a news release. Lee is a principal research scientist at the Institute of Bioengineering where the battery was developed. The battery is described in the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering.

How It Works

The battery sandwiches copper, paper laced with copper chloride, and magnesium between two plastic layers. The "sandwich" is later laminated. "When human urine is added into the battery... the urine soaks through the paper between the magnesium and copper layers. The chemicals dissolve and react to produce the electricity. In tests, the battery cell produced a maximum of 1.47 volts, dropping a bit with time but keeping a constant voltage of 1.04 volts."

Part of their paper describing the battery was presented in Kyoto, Japan, at the 4th International Workshop for Power Generation and Energy Conversion Applications.

I bet you thought I was taking the piss.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please put your name to your comment. Comments without a name may automatically be treated as spam and might not be included.

If you do not wish your comment to be published say so in your comment. If you have a tip or sensitive information you’d prefer to share anonymously, you may do so. I will delete the comment after reading.