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November 10, 2012 at 2:08 pm #257407DennisMember
Six hours’ power for one trip to the bathroom! African teenage girls create ‘pee-powered’ generator
Who says teenage girls don’t like science? Four entrepreneurial Nigerian teenagers have demolished the oft-quoted stereotype by inventing an electricity generator powered by urine.
Although Nigeria’s economy is on the rise, more than half of the country’s 162 million citizens have no access to electricity, and even those who do can’t guarantee having power every day.
However four teenagers just couldn’t wait, and have found their own solution – using a resource that is free, unlimited, easily obtainable, and does not depend on the Government.
Fourteen-year-olds Duro-Aina Adebola, Akindele Abiola, Faleke Oluwatoyin, and 15-year-old Bello Eniola presented their invention at the Maker Faire Africa entrepreneurs event, in Lagos, southern Nigeria on 5 and 6 November.
According to the Maker Faire blog, urine is put into an electrolytic cell, which cracks the urea into nitrogen, water, and 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, and one litre of urine provides six hours of electricity.
Co-founder of the two-day event, Erik Hersman, said the event showcased practical innovation.
The Maker Faire blog described the generator as ‘possibly one of the more unexpected products’ at the event.
While the system does have one-way valves for safety, more robust measures may be needed before it can be sold widely.
As the writeup noted, ‘Let’s be honest that this is something of an explosive device.’November 10, 2012 at 6:29 pm #528976BobbeeMember
:jawdrop: :jawdrop: :jawdrop: Amazing!!!!!!!
:tup:November 10, 2012 at 7:37 pm #528977AlanEParticipant
Very interesting however the article also comments that the process may use more energy than it creates. But still could be worthwhile developing. And full marks to the girls for their initiative!
“Hydrogen, of course, carries explosive risks, so the girls used one-way valves as a security measure (whether that is safety precaution enough is unclear). But don’t start saving your bladder output just yet.
The blog doesn’t mention where the energy needed to power the electrolytic cell comes from, or whether the electrolytic cell uses more power than the machine generates.”November 11, 2012 at 1:05 am #528978SnagsMember
I wouldn’t get my hopes up
It is tempting to think that this hydrogen would be produced by electrolyzing water using renewable energy sources, such as wind.
To see how realistic this approach is, it is important to analyze the overall energy balance, and henceforth the amount of energy that would need to be produced for the fuel to be used on a wide scale.
A common dream is having a solar panel on the roof of a home to electrolyze water, producing hydrogen for a fuel cell vehicle.
It’s a nice dream, but not particularly realistic.
As a real world example, consider Honda’s facility in California, US that requires an 8 kW solar array to produce enough hydrogen to drive one small hydrogen vehicle roughly 10,000 kilometers per year.
Such an array could power several homes, but is only enough for powering one small car.November 11, 2012 at 10:49 am #528979DennisMember
The main point is that praise be given to those that try and invent or develope any form of energy that maybe better than what we have. As far as the pro’s and con’s of producing hydrogen at home to run a car is concerned. The general public are not often told the truth in regard to the costing of producing hydrogen or their own electric power. Its all about a fee being put on energy to make the fat cat fatter. The use of on board hydrogen producers are already in use. I am not refering to the bottle unit under the bonnet that adds an extra bit of hydrogen to the air intake. Same as electricity, we have solar, wind, hydro etc but are we limited to these not likely. There is much better science available but people only want to rip off everyone else so why give it to them.
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