A team at the University of Bath claims to have designed a new sort of urine-powered battery, giving rise to a future in which drunken businessmen will be attempting to urinate into unreasonably small holes atop their iPhone 12s in train doorways in order to get enough power to last them the commute home.
The team says it has tinkered with the existing microbial fuel cell concept to create an affordable device that might cost as little as £2 per pop, making it ideal for trickle-charging low power devices in rural areas. The assembled chemistry students have created a one-inch device that uses a renewable carbon catalyst at the cathode that does away with the need for platinum, helping make it more affordable, replaceable and environmentally sounder.
Sadly, output is currently limited to around 2 Watts per cubic metre, meaning no one's going to be running a gaming rig or the underfloor heating from it just yet.
The report's lead author Jon Chouler is well chuffed with it all, though, saying: "Microbial fuel cells could be a great source of energy in developing countries, particularly in impoverished and rural areas. To have created technology that can potentially transform the lives of poor people who don't have access to, or cannot afford electricity, is an exciting prospect. I hope this will enable those in need to enjoy a better quality of life as a result of our research." [Eurekalert]