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Lose the power cord, soon you might be able to charge your phone with — your pee.
Yep. You read that correctly, scientists in England have developed a way to transform urine into electricity.
Using a special machine called a “microbial fuel cell” that contains waste-eating electro-active bacteria, scientists at Bristol Robotics Lab have created a way to charge phones and power some lights using urine. So how does it work? The small bacteria consume the waste out of urine, and as a result, electrons are left over as a byproduct. By being put through an electrical circuit that the scientists created, these electrons create electricity.
A good amount of electricity, in fact. Only two liters of urine can produce 30 to 40 milliwatts of power — enough to slowly charge a smartphone, power a phone’s display or power lights for portable toilets.
And who better to test the new innovation than beer-drinking music festival goers? That’s right — the engineers will debut their new pee-to-power invention in portable restrooms at the Glastonbury Festival in Somerset this week.
In the long-run, scientists hope the new invention will be used in poorer countries to create clean and renewable energy.