How many liters of urine are produced every day in the world? This seemingly gross question may very well hold the answer to fuel crisis that we all are facing. Approximately, 10.5 billion liters of urine are produced every day which is (for comparison’s sake) enough to fill above 4,000 Olympic sized swimming pools. This much amount goes to waste every day, but, now scientists are hoping that they can use this to generate power; power for homes, cities and vehicles. A team from Korea University has come up with a plan that talks about how carbon atoms can be recovered from human urine and then used to produce electricity that is cheap.
This will be achieved by replacing the platinum catalyst that is used in fuel cells currently with carbon that is naturally found in human waste. Fuel cells are quite promising and convert chemical energy into electrical energy by a reaction that occurs between hydrogen and oxygen.
Scientists believe that they can use fuel cells on a larger scale to power up homes and vehicles by generating electricity; however, the current drawback to this approach is the fact that these fuel cells are expensive and the high cost prevents development of fuel cells on a commercial level. By using the approach explained here, Korean researchers are quite hopeful that they can lower the price for the fuel cells.
This particular study was led by Jong- Sung Yu from Korea University according to whom, there are plenty of other environmental benefits which accompany this approach. The carbon, he further stated, obtained from the urine can also be used for battery applications apart from the intended use in fuel cells.