Science Invents a Way to Power Cars With Your Pee

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Science Invents a Way to Power Cars With Your Pee

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A new cost-effective way to produce hydrogen from urine means that road-trip bathroom breaks and road-trip refueling could both someday be a thing of the past.

Imagine this: You're on a road trip with some buddies, when suddenly, it's time to answer nature's call - you have to go, bad, but there aren't any pit stops for miles. So you pull over to the side of the road, make sure there aren't any other cars coming, unzip and do your business - right in the gas tank. "Good timing," your friend says to you when you get back in the car, "The tank was starting to run low."

Is it kind of weird? Absolutely. Is it an impossibility? Far from it: In the ever-going race to find alternative energy sources, scientists at Ohio University have discovered a (relatively) easy way to produce hydrogen from plain ol' urine - the most abundant waste product on the planet.

The process revolves around a special catalyst, discovered by Ohio U's Gerardine Bottle, which uses electrolysis to break down the urea in urine into its composite parts. Unlike regular water, which has a mere two hydrogen atoms per molecule, urea has four - and they're less tightly bonded to the molecule than the two in water, making them easier to separate.

There's some science-y talk (as related on PhysOrg) about how it would be fairly cost-effective to get large-scale tests started, since the electrolysis involves the use of a new, inexpensive nickel-based electrode (no, not the Pokemon) - and similar electrolysers are already being used around the world for other purposes that don't involve turning pee into usable hydrogen. It goes a bit over my head, but hey, if it's a potentially inexpensive solution to the alternative energy problem, then that's a good thing, right?

It isn't like the human race isn't already busy producing millions of gallons of urine every day - might as well do something with it.

(PhysOrg via Inhabitat)

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Wow...I am stunned...I love the idea of Hydrogen power and I will pee as many times as necessary for this to succeed.

((On a serious note...wow! Ohio U SMRT!))

Is this site about video games?

I think it would be great if one day when we find the aliens and exchanges of information take place they ask us, "This method of transportation you call a car; what does it run on?" our response will of course be "Oh those, they're piss powered. Watch I'll show you! *unzips pants*"

Ah science, isn't it a wonderful thing?

ReturnPostage:
Is this site about video games?

Yea, but techie talk is welcomed as well.

This leads me to ask, how does the power output of an H-cell compare to the electricity required to fill it?

..That is very smart indeed. Pee is usually wasted in toilets for obvious reasons, our bodies needing to release it because it is liquid waste pretty much. Now our pee can have of use for cars (lol the way I am talking sounds weird, doesn't it?)

Besides that.. I really admire whoever came up with this idea to begin with. Also I got a laugh from the electrode thing mentioned that it's not the Pokemon haha. Thanks for the Thread, it's very cool to see we're getting somewhere. Now we can stop spending $78 a week or more on Gas (well, in America it is very expensive).

ReturnPostage:
Is this site about video games?

This is a site about games, but more importantly it's about gamer culture. Which means, we on occasion write about things like comic books, movies, anime, scientific breakthroughs, etc - anything that gamers might find interesting or cool.

Writing our names in the snow or making lemon snow cones for our friends will no longer be time honoured traditions. I wonder how much beer you will need to drink to fill your tank?

Thanks, Escapist. You helped me finally win an argument against my dad.

Too bad hydrogen is rather shit when it comes to powering engines, compared to..You know..Gasoline?

I think it's safe to say that whoever came up with this is a real whiz.

Ba dump tish.

John Funk:

ReturnPostage:
Is this site about video games?

This is a site about games, but more importantly it's about gamer culture. Which means, we on occasion write about things like comic books, movies, anime, scientific breakthroughs, etc - anything that gamers might find interesting or cool.

Are you trying to say there are people who don't find pee powered cars interesting?

XxRyanxX:
..That is very smart indeed. Pee is usually wasted in toilets for obvious reasons, our bodies needing to release it because it is liquid waste pretty much. Now our pee can have of use for cars (lol the way I am talking sounds weird, doesn't it?)

Besides that.. I really admire whoever came up with this idea to begin with. Also I got a laugh from the electrode thing mentioned that it's not the Pokemon haha. Thanks for the Thread, it's very cool to see we're getting somewhere. Now we can stop spending $78 a week or more on Gas (well, in America it is very expensive).

How much do you get for $78?

An automotive device powered by liquid human waster product?
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I swear I saw a comedy sketch about just such a thing recently...

Tulks:
This leads me to ask, how does the power output of an H-cell compare to the electricity required to fill it?

Ah, but you're looking at it the wrong way. You won't run hydrogen through a fuel cell to produce electricity to harvest hydrogen from the urine. Even if it was somehow net effective in production, you wouldn't have a lot left over for running the motors. Or the through-put would exhaust both your tanks real quick, either or.

But, say you do what a lot of hybrids already do: run the motors as generators to supply braking force. Instead of charging a battery, get some hydrogen from the storage tank.

I do wonder how many miles could be added per fill-up with such a method. That, and what exactly you would do with all the ammonia and other contaminates in the urine.

EDIT: Also, while it is true that the power density of hydrogen is laughably low compared to gasoline (as is just about any power density...) there is research under way on methods to vastly increase storage capacity of hydrogen without using high-pressure tanks.

I'm rather interested in how many miles one would get for a gallon of piss, on an average car.

What is there to say but:
image

This is the most.... hopeful piece of news I've seen in awhile.

So.. the car has to break down the urea into it's components. Then uses the hydrogen to power the car, and has enough left over to break down more urea?

Here's the fun part.. hydrogen motors typically output water. We're getting dangerously close to a perpetual motion machine ala the Matrix.

Femaref:

XxRyanxX:
..That is very smart indeed. Pee is usually wasted in toilets for obvious reasons, our bodies needing to release it because it is liquid waste pretty much. Now our pee can have of use for cars (lol the way I am talking sounds weird, doesn't it?)

Besides that.. I really admire whoever came up with this idea to begin with. Also I got a laugh from the electrode thing mentioned that it's not the Pokemon haha. Thanks for the Thread, it's very cool to see we're getting somewhere. Now we can stop spending $78 a week or more on Gas (well, in America it is very expensive).

How much do you get for $78?

Well, at almost every gas station it is about $3.85 so.. about 4 gallons which lasts about 2-3 days before needing to refill the car. I don't own it, but I sure do hate it when spending so much cash at these places.

XxRyanxX:

Femaref:

XxRyanxX:
..That is very smart indeed. Pee is usually wasted in toilets for obvious reasons, our bodies needing to release it because it is liquid waste pretty much. Now our pee can have of use for cars (lol the way I am talking sounds weird, doesn't it?)

Besides that.. I really admire whoever came up with this idea to begin with. Also I got a laugh from the electrode thing mentioned that it's not the Pokemon haha. Thanks for the Thread, it's very cool to see we're getting somewhere. Now we can stop spending $78 a week or more on Gas (well, in America it is very expensive).

How much do you get for $78?

Well, at almost every gas station it is about $3.85 so.. about 4 gallons which lasts about 2-3 days before needing to refill the car. I don't own it, but I sure do hate it when spending so much cash at these places.

I'm pretty sure the US has really cheap petrol prices... The UK is stupidly high, someone who drives will tell you ho much a litre.

(based on the ramblings of my Geography Teacher anyway)

Now there's something for all the Snipers in the world.

Teehee, see what I did thur?

Tulks:
This leads me to ask, how does the power output of an H-cell compare to the electricity required to fill it?

Kwil:
So.. the car has to break down the urea into it's components. Then uses the hydrogen to power the car, and has enough left over to break down more urea?

Here's the fun part.. hydrogen motors typically output water. We're getting dangerously close to a perpetual motion machine ala the Matrix.

Most likely, one processes the urine before goind right into the tank. Sorta like distilling ureum from raw sewage (or some service that collects urine?) and sending it to a processing plant and selling the hydrogen at gas stations, if we can find something the bloody stuff doesn't escape from.

ssManae:

Tulks:
This leads me to ask, how does the power output of an H-cell compare to the electricity required to fill it?

Ah, but you're looking at it the wrong way. You won't run hydrogen through a fuel cell to produce electricity to harvest hydrogen from the urine. Even if it was somehow net effective in production, you wouldn't have a lot left over for running the motors. Or the through-put would exhaust both your tanks real quick, either or.

But, say you do what a lot of hybrids already do: run the motors as generators to supply braking force. Instead of charging a battery, get some hydrogen from the storage tank.

I do wonder how many miles could be added per fill-up with such a method. That, and what exactly you would do with all the ammonia and other contaminates in the urine.

EDIT: Also, while it is true that the power density of hydrogen is laughably low compared to gasoline (as is just about any power density...) there is research under way on methods to vastly increase storage capacity of hydrogen without using high-pressure tanks.

I actually wasn't thinking of using the power from the cell to produce more fuel. My question was more, wouldn't it be more efficient to not produce the hydrogen, and just run the car electrically?

I had forgotten about recouping energy through regenerative braking, though.

Well, that kinda takes the piss.

...Sorry.

Anyway it has good potential.

If only we could do something about the turds.

I...hmmm...

I'm not sure what to say here. It's clever, it re-uses human waste, and we probably won't have to smell it because of everything being self-contained.

However, my mind can't get over how this seems a bad idea on the grounds that it's YOUR PISS. The grease car, I understand. Peeing to make it go? I dunno...

XxRyanxX:
Well, at almost every gas station it is about $3.85 so.. about 4 gallons which lasts about 2-3 days before needing to refill the car. I don't own it, but I sure do hate it when spending so much cash at these places.

McCa:
I'm pretty sure the US has really cheap petrol prices... The UK is stupidly high, someone who drives will tell you ho much a litre.

(based on the ramblings of my Geography Teacher anyway)

A quick calculation gives a petrol price of US$9.21 a gallon here in the Netherlands at the moment. 1.70Euros a litre if someone want to check.

OT: "free" energy here we come, I'm pretty sure urea isn't about to run out any time soon.

XxRyanxX:

Femaref:

XxRyanxX:
..That is very smart indeed. Pee is usually wasted in toilets for obvious reasons, our bodies needing to release it because it is liquid waste pretty much. Now our pee can have of use for cars (lol the way I am talking sounds weird, doesn't it?)

Besides that.. I really admire whoever came up with this idea to begin with. Also I got a laugh from the electrode thing mentioned that it's not the Pokemon haha. Thanks for the Thread, it's very cool to see we're getting somewhere. Now we can stop spending $78 a week or more on Gas (well, in America it is very expensive).

How much do you get for $78?

Well, at almost every gas station it is about $3.85 so.. about 4 gallons which lasts about 2-3 days before needing to refill the car. I don't own it, but I sure do hate it when spending so much cash at these places.

That doesn't make much sense, what is $3.85? A gallon? Anyway, as a comparision, the tank of my car has 60 litres, that's about 15 gallons, we pay 1.55€/l atm, so that's 93€ = $130 resulting in $8.66 per gallon.

Well this news has to herald an all time low for gas station employees.

This is OLD AS HELL.

I saw this on tomorrows world like 8 years ago.

gigastar:
Well, that kinda takes the piss.

...Sorry.

Anyway it has good potential.

If only we could do something about the turds.

Well, sewer shit after passing through sewage station treatent can be used as manure (although, people prefer cow crap for some reason...) also it can produce methane.

Nowadays, almost only the science news are capable of producing hope in me. Keep them coming.

Considering he different shit that we eat and drink, I'm pretty sure pee is too inconsistent for this to be realistic. That, and the sheer quantity needed is far more than we produce... unless someone can prove me wrong with reliable statistics?

I've got a different question:

First off is, how will men fill this sucker up on those cold snowy frozen winter mornings?

Second, how are women going to fill this thing up in the first place? It's kind of a sexist car, isn't it?

Third, won't the exhaust smell? I don't want to ride around in a place that smells strongly of piss.

Fourth, what if you get a boner while your tallywhacker is in the pissing hole? Generally, that won't happen, but what if it becomes a common joke amongst women to find a fellow who's filling up and does something in front of him to get him hard?

Realitycrash:
Too bad hydrogen is rather shit when it comes to powering engines, compared to..You know..Gasoline?

yeah but we dont have an efficient method of creating more raw petroleum, so make do with what you have ya know? and we make piss tons of..... well piss daily, so im sure quantity can make up for quality until tech develops to allow hydrogen to be closer to gas's efficiency.

i think a stalin quote fits here nicely (no im not a communist, my european history teacher is, so i hear this shit). but back to the quote
"quantity is a quality all its own"

I've been saying for years that we need to re-route the sewer systems and throw in a few catalysts then boom methane power for the city! yet my council rep never listens to me....

In all seriousness though why the hell not? this theory makes about as much sense as some others I've heard.
reduce, reuse, recycle!

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