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Chinese scientist working in UK invents battery that runs on wee

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Not Just for Treating Jellyfish Stings; Urine Powered Fuel Cells

by Justin Manger on August 27th, 2010


Is the urea – also called carbamide – found in urine a waste that may be too precious to waste? NewScientist hints that it might be a new source of fuel for producing renewable energy. “An adult produces enough urine each year to drive a car 1678 miles (2700 km) on energy from the urea it contains, according to calculations by Shanwen Tao, who develops urea-powered fuel cells at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, UK.” Dr Shanwen Tao and his research partner Dr Rong Lan have developed a prototype (diagram below) that does just that. Dr. Tao explains how he came upon the idea:


“Growing up in rural eastern China I was aware of the use of urea as an agricultural fertiliser. When I became a chemist and was looking at fuel cell development I thought of using it in the process. We are only at prototype stage at present, but if this renewable material can be used as a commercially viable and environmentally friendly energy source then we will be absolutely delighted, and many people around the world will benefit.”



But how is it collected?

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