Smartphone about to die? Head for the urinal! 

That’s some serious resource being flushed down the toilet, and I’m not even talking about Bear Gryll’s crazy survival strategy in a waterless desert. This is a survival strategy for a more dire situation. Because while we just might survive dehydration, we cannot possibly survive without a dead mobile phone.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that scientists have devoted their time and effort to finding new sources of energy to bring your phone back to life when it is dwindling out of it. And it’s renewable too – as long as you stay adequately hydrated!

Researchers at the University of the West of England have created a new way to charge smartphones – using urine. The mechanism involved transforms urine into electricity using a microbial fuel cell (MFC) that employs live microbes which feed on urine for their own growth and maintenance. In breaking down and processing the urine they produce electrons which can then be harnessed into electricity.

Professor Ioannis Ieropoulos, Director of the Bristol Bioenergy Centre, said: ‘This project is all about generating electricity from waste material. The MFC is, in effect, a system which taps a portion of that biochemical energy.”

Just over half a litre of urine is enough for six hours of charge time, which can power a smartphone for three hours.

The team has already powered mobile phone but has now developed the technology far enough to fuel power-hungry smartphones.

Wondering if this interestingly produced electricity has a special name? Yes it does. Make space in your dictionary for Urine-tricity, or ‘pee power’.


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