Here's some news from Africa that will be of interest to all of the people waiting in line for gas to use in their generators.
4 teenagers discovered a method to utilize a liter of urine as fuel to obtain six hours of electricity from their generator. 14-year-olds Duro-Aina Adebola, Akindele Abiola, and Faleke Oluwatoyin, and 15-year-old Bello Eniola showed their development today at Maker Faire Africa in Lagos, Nigeria, a yearly occasion implied to showcase ingenuity.
Here's how the urine-powered generator works, as described by the blog on the makerfaireafrica.com site:
- Urine is put into an electrolytic cell, which separates out the hydrogen.
- The hydrogen goes into a water filter for purification, and then into a gas cylinder, which looks similar to the kind utilized for outside outdoor grill.
- The gas cylinder pushes the filtered hydrogen into another cylinder which contains liquid borax, in order to eliminate wetness from the gas. Borax is a natural mineral, frequently used in laundry detergent.
- The hydrogen is pressed into a power generator in the final action of the process.
A huge downside is that hydrogen postures a surge danger. However the women utilized one-way valves throughout the device as a precaution.
The concept of utilizing urine as fuel is not new. The ladies have actually developed an useful way to put the idea into action, though. Their approach for using urine to power a generator is one the typical home can appreciate.
Power generators are used much more commonly in Africa than here, where they are relegated more to emergency situation usage, as in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The Maker Faire Africa blog site states power outages take place numerous times a day in Lagos, so all those who can pay for a backup generator have one.
Still, innovation needs to evolve further prior to such a system is possible, at least as far as applications like powering generators go.
Gerardine Botte, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Ohio University, is amongst those dealing with useful ways to make urine into a more useful hydrogen source, basically by turning power into a byproduct of wastewater treatment. She says it takes more energy to extract hydrogen from urine than you end up getting in return as electricity. The energy equation gets even more skewed by the inadequacy of the generator utilized in the girls' job.
" Initially glance, they're not having a net gain in energy," Botte states. "But I believe it's important to say that these little ladies, attempting to do something like this, should have a lot of credit."
The concept behind the modest urine-powered generator is along the lines of Botte's own thinking, and her research study is everything about reliable methods to break urine down into its beneficial components.
Botte's method is to use electrolysis of urea as a method of wastewater treatment. She says her process for converting urine into drinkable water is more cost effective and more energy effective than present wastewater treatment techniques. Pure hydrogen is produced as a by-product and can be utilized in generating electricity.
" You can not get net energy gain, but there is no more effective way to obtain clean water from urine," Botte states.
Botte established E3 Clean Technologies in 2011 to work on scaling the procedure for usage by municipalities and others.
The U.S. Department of Defense is experimenting with a portable system from E3 at military bases in remote locations, as both a method to deal with wastewater and create power. The system, which Botte calls GreenBox innovation, converts a soldier's urine into drinking water.
" At forward operating bases, the main requirements are water and fuel," Botte states. "With this task, they're doing both: using less energy to reutilize water sources."
So, when put in the context of wastewater treatment, the idea of utilizing urine as a hydrogen source to produce energy has terrific capacity.
Given that wastewater treatment plants currently gather the raw material required-- urine-- drawing out hydrogen from it makes good sense, Botte states. Doing so could regain some of the huge quantities of energy currently being invested all over the world to treat waste.
" You will never get more energy out than you put in," she states. "But it is an unique and stylish method to deal with urine waste, which will permit you to co-generate electrical power."
To provide you a sense of how much energy it is possible to recapture from this approach of dealing with urine, Botte states this:
" At Ohio University, where there have to do with 22,000 trainees, if we would gather the urine and produce hydrogen, we would be able to produce sufficient electrical power to maybe power about 100 to 150 residential homes for a year, continuously."
Think about that prior to you dismissing this story. This is exactly what the enterprising teens did with their own task.
Perhaps, as the innovation evolves, it might be used to cars at some point. Gasoline-powered internal combustion engines can be converted relatively quickly to operate on hydrogen, which raises the question of whether there is potential for pee-powered vehicles in the future.
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