The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is known to fund some of the most innovative projects around the world. One of these projects involves using human urine to create electricity.
The mission is to improve human sanitation, especially in areas that lack a reliable water supply. Scientists at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory in Bristol, England have found a way to make enough electricity using human urine to power a smartphone. The scientists demonstrated their battery and won a huge grant from the Bill Gates Foundation to advance the technology further.
The project revolves around the microbial fuel cell, which contains micro-organisms that break down the urine and produce electricity. The whole system involves piping the urine through tubes into a series of fuel cell converters which contain the microbial fuel cell. The urine which has been broken down is collected in bottles and, according to the scientists, is safer to dispose of than the initial urine samples.
The biggest challenge is to connect enough fuel cells to create a useful amount of electricity. This is possible if the technology is installed in human sanitation plants across the world. With this new method of producing electricity, we can produce electricity and sanitize our waste simultaneously.