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Urinal power plants to juice up Lollapalooza-dwelling robots

Trent Wolbe
July 28, 2010
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Do you have to relieve yourself? Is your robot low on batteries? Your previously problematic world could soon be harmonized in one magical step. The Bristol Robotics Lab has been feeding funny trash to its Microbial Fuel Cells for quite some time -- rotten fruit, decomposed-in-sludge fly juice, grass clippings -- things like that. The Lab has now found that the nitrogen-urea-chloride-potassium-bilirubin cocktail present in urine is a particularly useful waste fuel which will play nicely with stacked fuel cells, as long as the fuel is, um... flowing. They've already partnered with waterless urinal manufacturer Ecoprod to create a portable urinal power plant that "could be used [...] at music festivals and other outdoor events," and hey, if HP can power their data centers with excrement, who can take offense to this?

[Image of Dr. Ioannis Ieropolous holding a microbial fuel cell courtesy of University of the West of England]



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