Coming soon: The Internet of Pee-Powered Things

University of Bath researchers demonstrate urine-powered fuel cells

Coming soon: The Internet of Pee-Powered Things

Building the Internet of Things is a dirty job, but someone's got to do it.

Researchers at the University of Bath have revealed a breakthrough -- cheekily dubbed "pee power" -- involving the use of urine to power electronic devices in remote locations.

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You can read the details in their paper, titled "Towards effective small scale microbial fuel cells for energy generation from urine." But in a nutshell, they've figured out how to build one-inch-square fuel cells that cost a buck or two and that get their buzz from urine, which interacts with "electric" bacteria. So-called microbial fuel cells are seen as being a carbon-neutral source of power generation, and could be used to provide juice to devices such as smartphones.

While their current microbial fuel cell can generate 2 watts per cubic meter, they're looking to boost the power to get the cells at least a little closer to alternatives like hydrogen or solar-powered cells.

Dr. Mirella Di Lorenzo, lecturer in the University of Bath's Department of Chemical Engineering, said in a statement: "If we can harness the potential power of this human waste, we could revolutionise how electricity is generated."

Well, sounds like they've got a good aim.

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