Bill Gates Funds Pee-Powered Smartphone Battery

Bill Gates Funds Pee-Powered Smartphone Battery

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has award a grant to Bristol Robotics Laboratory to develop a battery fueled by human urine.

When Bill Gates isn't busy being a secret Reddit Santa, he heads the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with his wife, Melinda. The foundation has just awarded a research grant to Bristol Robotics Laboratory in Bristol, England, to further develop a technology that converts human urine into electricity that can be used to powered a smartphone. You read that right: a pee-powered smartphone battery.

The scientists have already demonstrated how their pee-powered battery, dubbed the "Microbial Fuel Cell", can work to power your smartphone. In simple terms, Inside of the cell are micro-organisms that take the urine, break it down and output electricity. In addition, the unit expels a broken down version of the urine, which make it safer to dispose of.

If you're thinking you can't possibly extract much electricity out of a number one, you'd be right, as the scientists say the biggest challenge is to string enough of these converters together to provide a useful level of electric output.

If saving up your pee in bottles seems like a far-fetched and possibly inefficient way of making electricity compared to traditional means, but the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation specifically looks for inventions that would help third-world countries who don't have easy access to luxuries such as electricity.

It could also find use in first-world sanitation plants, as both a way to make waste safer to dispose of, and generate a little bit of extra power on the side.

Source: Business Insider

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So how much wee wee do you need to power a Wii U?

Now they just need to invent another microbe which takes that broken down urine and converts it into Mountain Dew and the road's open for perpetual gaming!

Didn't some kids develop a water filtration system or something that used a urine battery or something a little while back? Or something?

awesome. just think about all the piss being pissed away everyday all around the world, and not just human piss. Fck oil, au de loin baby.

Hagi:
Now they just need to invent another microbe which takes that broken down urine and converts it into Mountain Dew and the road's open for perpetual gaming!

Wait ... you're telling me that Mountain Dew ISN'T urine already?

Seriously though, this sounds like an interesting idea provided the amount of converters needed don't use more resources to build or do more environmental damage than useful electricity attained by another means.

Psychobabble:

Wait ... you're telling me that Mountain Dew ISN'T urine already?

I think he means a device that will add the artificial colour. I mean, my urine's not green.

Seriously though, this sounds like an interesting idea provided the amount of converters needed don't use more resources to build or do more environmental damage than useful electricity attained by another means.

This is aimed at countries lacking in other means, though. I doubt it'd catch on much of anywhere else.

Zachary Amaranth:

Psychobabble:

Wait ... you're telling me that Mountain Dew ISN'T urine already?

I think he means a device that will add the artificial colour. I mean, my urine's not green.

Seriously though, this sounds like an interesting idea provided the amount of converters needed don't use more resources to build or do more environmental damage than useful electricity attained by another means.

This is aimed at countries lacking in other means, though. I doubt it'd catch on much of anywhere else.

Not green? Huh. Guess I need to start taking better care of myself then.

Well imagine what would happen if it turned out to be a huge benefit for the first world. Imagine how things would change. First off think of the horror and indignity of being abducted into an alley by catheter toting hobos so they could drain your highly valued "liquid gold" so they could then sell it to buy drugs.

Hagi:
Now they just need to invent another microbe which takes that broken down urine and converts it into Mountain Dew and the road's open for perpetual gaming!

In order to turn urine into Mountain Dew, you just mix it with High-Fructose Corn Syrup.

I misread the title of this story and I'm not disappointed they aren't developing bee-powered technology.

I can see the possibilities in this technology, though. Not as much in phones you can pee in as advances in sanitation plants.

Alright, so from the paper: using 6.5ml of urine they were able to charge a cell phone long enough for a 4.33 minute phone call. That's not a lot of urine, wikipedia says the average human produces 1 to 2 liters, so scale up to about 150-300 times, which means the average person can charge a phone long enough for a 650 to 1300 minute phone call per day, not too shabby. The article uses a bunch of volt and amp numbers I don't really understand (the battery was 3.7V and 1A, each recharge was .3V), but the minutes thing gives a good idea of the kind of output you'd get. I can't imagine that the whole setup would save even a dollar a day (I don't even use a dollar a day of electricity), so deploying it in regions without stable power grids seems like the right idea, where more cost efficient options might not be feasible.

Now, each charge took about 12 hours, so to use up all the urine produced in a day, you'd need at least 150-300 individual 6.5ml cells per person refilled twice/day. These cells are not too small, so that adds up, but we can assume they'll figure out either a more compact or speedy design in the future. Even so, electricity is cheap, so the efficiency needs to dramatically increase (unlikely, given the urine thing) or the production costs need to pretty low.

I fell like there only doing this so they can literately piss on there competition.

at least dropping your phone in the toilet won't be such a bad thing anymore.

So, you find your latest Microsoft thingy not working and, in a fit of anger, you drop your pants and piss on it as a demonstration of how much you hate those bastards, and low and behold the damn thing works again?

There are some straaange anecdotes incoming because of this, I'm sure.

Christ, proof-read your articles.

 

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