back to article Boffins want toilets to become POWER PLANTS

Dr Ioannis Ieropoulos and colleagues from the University of the West of England's Bristol outpost and the Bristol Robotics Laboratory have claimed a world's first: powering a mobile phone with human urine. Detailed in the paper Waste to Real Energy: the first MFC powered mobile phone in the journal Physical Chemistry Chemical …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More info needed.

    Specifically, does it generate more energy than I take out of my smartphones battery when going for a 'visit'?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More info needed.

      does it generate more energy than I take out of my smartphones battery when going for a 'visit'?

      That depends - do you use hands free ? :)

  2. Great Bu

    Brings a new meaning...... a partial loss of grid electrical power being referred to as a 'brown out'.....

  3. I think so I am?

    what, No

    I think their taking the P*ss

    1. C 18

      Re: what, No

      I too was surprised that that pun hadn't cropped up sooner.

      As for the article itself, powerful shit... no doubt...

  4. JimmyPage Silver badge

    Why am I reminded ....

    of the line from H2GT2G about needing a receipt every time you go to the toilet ?

  5. rcorrect

    Support green energy and have yourself a beer!

    1. relpy

      Damn you Sir!

  6. relpy

    I got a Wii-U advert with this...

    Beer - renewable energy.

  7. 7teven 4ect

    Back of a loo-roll calculation:

    Urine is 95% water

    Therefore it is ~5% 'food'

    Let food have an average calorific density of 3 calories per millilitre.

    The average daily urination volume is 1500 ml.

    5% of 1500 is 75. Multiplying by 3 gives us 225 calories in a day's urine.

    That's roughly 10% of our dietary needs.

    Saving 10% off our total energy bill related to getting food from field to stomach.

    Which is massive compared to the amount of energy we can probably extract from waste urine using MFCs.

    Two pieces of advice:

    1. Drink urine

    2. Never admit it

    The author does not drink has own urine.

    1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: Back of a loo-roll calculation:

      I suspect that you have over-estimated the calorific content of a day's urine. The presence of nutrients such as sugars and proteins in the urine is normally a symptom of illness, so presumably the 5% should be mostly urea.

      It's also not clear whether you're talking calories (i.e. energy to boil a cc of water), or Calories (used in dietary calculations, but strictly kilocalories).

      1. 7teven 4ect
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Back of a loo-roll calculation:

        Thank you for wiping that for me.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Back of a loo-roll calculation:

        Biologists don't do The Register, but if they did, they'd surely point out that there is no evidence in the animal kingdom of the use of urine as a source of calories where calories are scarce while there is plenty of evidence in of the use of urine as a source or water when that's scarce (another option is to excrete a urea paste and hold onto your water like many desert lizards do).

        calories with a small c would be closer the mark. 0.225 calories per day's urine - about the same calories you'd find in 2/3 of a sunflower seed.

        Would you bother with a sunflower seed if it was the size of a 4-pint bottle yet had the same calories as 1 and a third sunflower seeds?

        It's no joke. I have a friend who went insane because of that confusion over calories vs kilocalories.

  8. TeeCee Gold badge

    "...pee-powered phone..."

    Come that day, piss will be Apple Juice.

  9. Evil Auditor Silver badge


    How does this compare to peeing on a micro turbine/propelling a dynamo? Or extracting energy from the heat of sewage?

    Not that any of these would exclude the use of MFCs or each other. I'm only wondering where the highest potential is and hence worth exploiting.

    (Beer icon as beer would probably be a major source of energy in this regard.)

  10. John 110

    I've said it before and I'll say it again

    Bob Shaw


    That is all

  11. Stevie Silver badge


    Saw this "power your house with your own excrement" idea worked out in The Domebook (or was it The Whole Earth Catalog?) in 1974.

    I still think the idea is a pile of crap.

  12. Brian Miller

    All hail our machine overlords

    First it was machines eating corpses on the battlefields, and now they're going to be milking us for urine between battles.

    I don't like the future. I don't like it one bit.

  13. Tapeador


    piss on ya


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