Pee Power is making energy from urine in Africa

Pee power project electricity

It’s already well known that manure or poop can be recycled for making products like paper
as well as creating biogas power from methane gas.  Turning urine or pee into electricity is another matter. This readily available “resource”, whether it be from animal or human origin, is now being experimented with to actually generate electricity by using our pee’s  basic ingredients to create enough hydrogen to provide electricity for both homes and businesses.

Four teenagers in Lagos Nigeria, working on a school project, created a practical way to separate hydrogen from urine, and then use it to power a generator to create electricity (see photo above). The “pee power” project was entered by the girls in an annual nationwide competition  in Lagos, Maker Faire Africa, and it created enough electrical power to run the generator for six hours from one liter of pee.

The pee-power process occurs like  this:

1. Urine is put into an electrolytic cell, which separates out the hydrogen.

2. The hydrogen is then filtered in a water filter for purification,  and then is sent to a gas cylinder, similar to the kind used for outdoor barbecue grills.

3. The gas cylinder pushes the filtered hydrogen into another cylinder that contains liquid borax, to remove moisture from the gas.

4. In the final step, the hydrogen is sent into a power generator, which creates in electricity.

Although still a long way off from being implemented on a mass scale, this basic way of creating electricity from a substance  normally disposed of  can be a practical way to create electricity in places where normal electrical power has been cut off due to devastation by floods or other natural disasters, including severe storms. It can also be used to create electricity in poor rural agricultural areas that are common in Africa and Asia; including many parts of the Middle East.

The Pee Power idea is starting to take hold. Students and faculty at  Bristol-based University of the West of England are being asked to use a special urinal that sends all the urine collected there to be used to produce hydrogen for powering an electric generator that creates additional electricity for the campus.

If this pee-power prototype project is successful, the idea of using urine produced hydrogen to power hydrogen powered cars is also being considered. Pee as you drive instead of stopping at rest stops? A curious idea.  Not bad ideas for a waste product that normally winds up in the sewers.

Read more on recycling and creating  bio-fuel from excrement:

5 Brilliant Projects That turn Poop into Power

Israel’s 4MW Biogas Plant to Clean Up After 14,000 Cows

What Recycled Paper Products From Poo Look Like

Photo of pee-power project generator by Maker Faire Africa 

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7 thoughts on “Pee Power is making energy from urine in Africa”

  1. I really like your article, hope to try harder, I will always support you.I hope you continue to creation, I have paid attention to you.

  2. The hydrogen is unstable and it’s a basically a bomb that could go off in your face at any moment.

  3. Mochan says:

    It’s funny how this bunk technology keeps getting reblogged every year.

    “is now being experimented with?” It’s not just “now” that this was being experimented on. The original article for this happened back in 2012, three years ago. This is old news, and news that never went anywhere, because if this actually worked it would have made huge headlines by now and the African girls who made it would have won the Nobel prize by now.

    There are two main problems with this right now:

    1. The hydrogen is unstable and it’s a basically a bomb that could go off in your face at any moment.
    2. The electrolysis process required to extract hydrogen from the pee takes more energy than the resulting energy you get.

    Way to not read up and research your blog article.

  4. Jagdishchandra Desai says:

    World is extreme need of such innovative ideas/application/implementation for survival. let these be theory and practical at school level or early college syllabus. It is not difficult to apply such cost effective systems/

  5. dave says:

    This is awesome! Anyone have anymore info or web links for the pee power?
    Curious what the by products are… Are the leftovers still high in urea which could be used as a fertilizer?

    Also wondering about the smell issues. Why wouldn’t cities power themselves this way?

    Congrats for creating such a useful invention, you deserve the noble peace prize!

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