Your Next Car may well Run On Pee-Pee
Automologist MAC looks into what could be the fuel of the future…and there is plenty supply of it, anywhere in the world.
Peeing into a fuel tank may well become a much needed ritual rather than an adolescent act of vandalism, if we are to believe researchers at the Bristol-based University of West England. Some (supposedly) clever boffins over there have been developing a methodology for turning human pee-pee into electricity.
In some ways it was technology waiting to happen; after all, urine is just chemicals in solution, one element of which is carbon; so, if you can figure out how to get the pee-pee to be properly behaved, it can become a fuel like any other, with the benefit of it being in a liquid format to begin with. What is more, there seems to be an endless and very replenishable supply, with the world creating some 10.5 billion litres of the green stuff every day.
The potty team from Bristol developed a Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) system that strips the hydrogen out of the urine, sadly not very efficiently at the moment; this however didn’t stop the team from moving to field trials at the recent Glastonbury Music Festival, where the MFC was able to collect enough of the green stuff to power the lights in the loos where the fuel was being collected. Although, this does seem to me to be more of a ruse to get free tickets to a major music festival for the researchers than anything else.
Right now the technology is in its infancy and only capable of creating enough juice to charge a cell phone but the idea has been able to attract the support from the Gates Foundation and may well be deployed by Oxfam to bring pee-pee power to refugees; after all, as one wag put it: “the sun may not shine, the wind may not blow but rivers of urine will continue to flow.”
Of course, even with this technology being in its infancy, it made me wonder how much pee would you need to charge a Tesla; according to the research team, this would be at least 100 muddy English music festivals. So, for now the prospect of a Pee-powered car may just be a pipe dream, but who knows with the march of science, it may be advantageous to drink and drive. And with an endless supply of your favourite beer, you may be able to drive forever…and I look forward to a time when we may measure electrical charging in terms of Glastonbury’s.
top image: onegentlemanbiz.com