A Urine Powered Generator

A urine powered generator

Possibly one of the more unexpected products at Maker Faire Africa this year in Lagos is a urine powered generator, created by four girls. The girls are Duro-Aina Adebola (14), Akindele Abiola (14), Faleke Oluwatoyin (14) and Bello Eniola (15).

1 Liter of urine gives you 6 hours of electricity.

The system works like this:

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

Along the whole way there are one-way valves for security, but let’s be honest that this is something of an explosive device…

Comments
168 Responses to “A Urine Powered Generator”
  1. chris says:

    Well done girls!!

    This is a very good step in the very right direction!
    Follow your dreams and go further, you are right, not the others
    who will tell you that you are silly!

    Maybe you can change the world!

  2. jeff says:

    This will never generate any net energy; it would be violation of the first law of thermodynamics. Electrolysis is using energy to break water (urine) apart into oxygen and hydrogen, combustion of hydrogen (with oxygen) recombines the two releasing the same energy. In the ideal (without losses) it would net zero energy.

    Bummer… but the important thing here is that young people are interested in science and engineering!

  3. Mardie says:

    The thing that is a bit misleading here is the label “Electrolytic Cell”. It isn’t a true electrolytic cell, that’s just what the girls called it. It is simply a vessel containing urine where natural bacterial action was allowed to occur resulting in a flammable mixture of gasses (not only hydrogen) that was then collected and purified to run a generator. Remember the movie Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome where electricity was generated from pig excrement? It is the same thing. Also not mentioned is how long it took to collect the gas.

  4. Joseph says:

    gasoline doesn’t “stick” to your skin; it soaks into it, ensuring that the skin burns too. Of course, hydrogen does no such thing.

  5. S Ilangovan says:

    The invention by these young girls is wonderful. this kind of inventions should bu given importance and support so as to increase enthusiasm. However an alternative to fuel has been identified

  6. Akanimo Sunday says:

    The editor’s slant is very noticeable here.Of all the world stands to gain from here,what you can only see is an explosive device. Very bad taste. Good one girls.

  7. john - Yaounde - Cameroon says:

    Congrats!
    Strange how people who cannot even fix a broken chair criticize the ingenuity of four young colleges kids, girls for that matter. Those who invented the plane did not have it all right the first time. I praise your ingenuity, no matter how simplistic. Keep up, keep on, keep moving girls, You are the present and the future of Africa

  8. val says:

    Re Casual Reader’s query of why urine would be advantageous over water,

    1) according to http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/news/2009/july/02070902.asp , the hydrogen in urea is far far more accessible with far less energy
    but more importantly

    2) in many parts of the developing world water is not at all easily accessible, and clean water even less so.

  9. billy says:

    du courage et felicitation

  10. Rohit says:

    pretty awesome work. A real use of education, that very few people do.

    Regards,
    Rohit
    India

  11. Skeptic says:

    I dare say congratulations to the girls for this science experiment. However, we need to emphasize the need for rigor in Africa’s research efforts.

    See article here:

    http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/futureoftech/african-girls-pee-powered-generator-raises-questions-1C6956099

    The girls be commended for practicalising a science they read about but definitely did not invent.

  12. Vi says:

    We should have something like that under every toilet. :P

  13. ARW says:

    Great work ladies, this will solve the problems of electricity not being use when a natural disaster hits and the going problem of human feces around the globe to not destroy the water we drink. Keep up the great walk!

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