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. Good thinking on their part. Ingenieus but, Is it effective?

  2. Frank Monye says:

    Thomas Edison, the Wizard of Menlo Park, who patented almost a thousand inventions in the US, did not have as much education as these four pretty lassies have. Basic inventions of this nature are like the acorn which grows into a mighty oak. Albert Einstein started like this in 1905 with his E = mc2
    which today is the very basis of all nuclear-powered inventions. This basic cannibalization of the electricity generating set has the potential of becoming the very basis of all urine-powered inventions in Nigeria and the world!

    Congratulations, my dear brainy lassies!

    Frank Monye

  3. Marius says:

    The article mention an “electrolytic cell”

    Since a electrolytic cell like which is used in this case is not a galvanic cell. Galvanic cell are like a battery that discharge, it converts chemical energy to electrical energy.

    If a battery charges it acts as an “electrolytic cell” that converts electrical energy to chemical energy. In order to produce the hydrogen in an “electrolytic cell” you need to feed it with electrical energy. This critical scientific fact has been left out of this article to create the impression that they convert urine into electrical energy using “electrolytic cell” and I do not believe that.

    If it’s a electrolytic cell they have to supply it with electrical energy to create the chemical energy (hydrogen) which they convert back into electrical energy in the generator. This experiment will loose a great deal of energy in the process not to mention how useless the high speed of hydrogen combustion will be on such an engine.

    Urine can also be seen as organic waste filed with bacteria and that makes me think that if organic waste is converted into chemical energy then the concept is “Microbial electrolysis cell” MEC and not “electrolytic cell”. But a Microbial Fuel Cell MFC can convert virtually any organic waste directly into electrical energy without the generator.

    Perhaps it is a MEC and not a electrolytic cell as mentioned- you can order MFC hobby Kit for $44 online and turn soil into electricity in a small fancy little container. But electrolytic cell will require energy to be supplied and large amounts in order to get energy out. Electrolytic cell is not particularly a source of energy. a MEC or even better an MFC can work at a sewage plant, even MFCs are used at waste water outlets at where large amounts are produced, this concept is nothing new. Don’t just teach the girls how to Google, teach them how to use a credit card and save a hell lot of effort. I will give them 9/10 for patience for getting it to work.

  4. P.S. Taker says:

    So, 14 year old girls who started going to school a year or two ago and don’t have electricity in their own homes have figured out how to create hydrogen gas from urine, extract the moisture from the H2, then pressurize it in the fuel system of an Internal combustion engine? Oh and at last years Maker Faire Africa they created the worlds first fusion reactor and two seven year old boys cured Cancer. Piss off.

  5. Jim says:

    This is fake. Electrolysis cells require more energy put in than can be used.

  6. Amin says:

    Now my urine is energy, 2$ per/L
    Customer…

  7. dangermanumber6 says:

    All you naysayers. The urine is being used as the electrolyte solution, because that’s what urine is, and electrolyte solution is what’s in all car batteries. When you charge a car battery, Hydrogen is produced and vented through the caps or the top. You’ll notice they’ve removed the top off their battery and it looks like they sealed it with some sort of blue stuff. The generator is charging the battery which only needs about 15v to do so. Sure they probably had to start the generator with something other than the urine in the car battery system, like a previously filled tank of hydrogen, but once it’s started, you can switch to the urine system. You could start the hydrogen production with a bike generator system as your initial source. As for the pressure of the gas, overcharging can blow up a battery with gas pressure itself as I found out in 8th grade when we made our own batteries, and I figured I’d “supercharge” mine with twice the voltage. The container was about the size of a small V-8 can and clear plastic so I could see the bubbles, so I’m sure a liter of electrolyte/urine at 25-30v would produce a good amount of hydrogen. It’s not a perpetual motion machine because you need to add more urine, so those comparing it to that or splitting water molecules are comparing apples to oranges. It’s total doable in my opinion.

  8. surendar says:

    good innovation, done in european or us grt discovery but in africa none to regonise . still thanks for share this info, congrats to all for innovators.

  9. victor says:

    Genial, felicitaciones.

  10. BB says:

    Sounds like another Nigerian scam!!!!!

  11. from USA says:

    Well done! Keep up the good work. What wonderful examples these resourceful young leaders are setting for girls everywhere.

  12. david says:

    Hola, desde chile las felicito revisare en detalle su proyecto…excelente…sigan trabajando…no najen las manos….

  13. Trane says:

    I’m so tired of “skeptics” always “poo-poo-ing” the accomplishment of powering a device with something other than fossil fuels. FIRST OFF, it’s an amazing accomplishment to fuel a generator with urine, regardless of the need to have electricity at the front end for electrolysis…. maybe you can use solar or manual crank generation. SECONDLY, the success is in converting human waste into useful power, regardless of the need for liquid borax and electrical current at the start… you end up with less urine and more power!

    Congratulations to these beautiful and intelligent women!

  14. Snoppy says:

    You would generate more electricity by pissing into an impeller and generating electricity like a waterwheel. Of course, with all things it’s the thought that counts and not the results.

  15. Bill says:

    No Way! Bogus! There is no way this contraption produces enough hydrogen to directly feed the generator to replace the energy which was formerly provided by atomized gasoline. This is bogus.

  16. Tom says:

    Girls, I’m proud of you.

  17. Nafikile Mwangomile says:

    very gifted girls,they need more encouragement on this.bravooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. Jon Haines says:

    Just watch the BBC News Team pick this up as a “revolutionary” story… I’m impressed with the girls efforts but energy doesn’t come from nowhere. Many of the more astute comments here highlight the need for electricity to electrolyse the urine, others point to various other websites who have already highlighted the promise of H power from urea (‘though to claim the major constituent of urine is urea is wrong – it is still predominantly water!) so this is hardly revolutionary. The girls could perhaps have indicated that the source of energy for the electrolysis comes from solar or wind generation, which would help make their case stronger – at least you can store hydrogen, whereas you cannot store wind or solar energy… Good luck and keep working on it, but it is not yet the revolution the headline leads you to believe in.

  19. Bryan N. Tegomoh says:

    I BELIEVE IN AFRICANS IN WAYS THAT DRIVES ME CRAZY. THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING F GREAT THINGS TO COME.

    LETS KEEP ON, WITH OUR INNOVATIVE SPIRIT AND CREATIVE POTENTIAL.

    PLEASE LET OUR YOUNG PEOPLE BE AWAY OF THE CHALLENGES AHEAD AND WORK HARD TO SECURE THE FUTURE OF AFRICA.

    GOD BLESS!!!

    BRYAN T.

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  3. […] debuted their pee-powered contraption at Maker Faire Africa in Lagos, Nigeria, CNET reports.The Maker Faire’s blog summarizes how it works:Urine is put into an electrolytic cell, which cracks the urea into nitrogen, water, and hydrogen. […]

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