Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Taking the piss

I genuinely think this is genius: two groups of scientists are planning to make hydrogen from urine.

Botte recognized that urine contains two compounds that could be a source of hydrogen: ammonia and urea. Place an electrode in wastewater, apply a gentle current, and voila: hydrogen gas that can be used to power a fuel cell.

There's no shortage, it's free, and takes less energy to produce than hydrogen from water. Every building can have a plant in the basement. Pubs will be exporting power, I'd think.

An office building with 200 to 300 workers could generate 2 kilowatts of power. The approach could also address pollution associated with animal feedlots. The urine produced by 1,000 cows could generate 40 to 50 kilowatts of power, Botte estimates - getting rid of noxious ammonia in the process.

Petrol stations will be replaced by lay-bys populated by men peeing into the fuel tank. Some kind of adaptor will be needed for women of course. Want to go faster? Bring some kids along and get them excited (or scared).

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