Urine Luck! African Teens Create Pee-Fueled Generator

By Nick Venable | Published

Remember that spaghetti sauce volcano you made for that one science fair when you were the only person from your team that showed up, and your project blew up and ruined Mr. Mendleson’s suede shoes? Well, even if it worked correctly and you hadn’t given those classmates of yours burns on their faces, it would still be a piece of shit compared to these four 14- and 15-year-old girls from Africa, who have added their own spin to the phrase “waste not, want not.”

Last week was the annual Maker Faire Africa, held in Lagos, Nigeria. The event gathers inventors and handcrafters from across the continent to showcase their designs and creations, which are more about helping society rather than vomiting out products to fill late-night infomercial slots. I’d call the entrants Imagineers if I didn’t think somebody had invented a search program that would single me out and slap me with lawsuits.

For the event, 14-year-olds Duro-Aina Adebola, Akindele Abiola, Faleke Oluwatoyin, and 15-year old Bello Eniola created a urine-powered generator, something that probably should have been invented the day after normal generators were invented. I guess because here in America we worry about the strength of our toilet’s water flow when it flushes, rather than utilizing anything we drop down into it.

Here’s a breakdown of the process. Urine is put into an electrolytic cell, which breaks the urea down into hydrogen, nitrogen, and water. The hydrogen is purified through a water filter before being pushed into a gas cylinder, where it then travels into a cylinder of liquid borax, which removes moisture from the the hydrogen gas. This purified hydrogen is pushed into the generator, and electricity is made. On average, one liter of urine can put out up to six hours of power.

There’s no word on what kind of future this technology may have, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s quickly patented and bought out. The next time a hurricane comes, there may be a completely different reason for all the bottled water in the grocery stores to be gone. We can’t be playing Assassin’s Creed 3 in the dark, can we? And yes, we’re playing on our PeeS3.