Charge Your Phone With Urine? Scientists Say It’s Possible Using Microbial …

July 18, 2013 by  
Filed under Solar Energy Tips

Often forget your phone charger? Well, scientists in the United Kingdom have devised a way to conceivably charge a mobile phone with something for users on the go — or, more aptly, for users who have to go.

Researchers at the University of the West of England say it’s possible to charge a phone with urine by using microbial fuel cells (MFCs), which convert waste into electricity.

The team tested the potential of urine power to energize a Samsung mobile device, effectively using the mechanism to make a phone call, send texts and browse the Internet, according to the Press Association. So far tests have been successful, but the team still needs to perfect the method so that MFCs can provide a full battery charge.

Ioannis Ieropoulos, Ph.D., a senior research fellow at the university, compared the unusual design to other alternative forms of charging, such as solar power.

“The beauty of this fuel source is that we are not relying on the erratic nature of the wind or the sun, we are actually re-using waste to create energy,” he said, according to the Telegraph.

The research is part of an ongoing project funded by the Bill Melinda Gates Foundation and U.K. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Though Ieropoulos has labeled the urine-powered charger a “world first,” the concept of turning human excrement into battery power has been introduced in the past.

In 2005, scientists in Singapore unveiled a battery that could be activated by biological fluids. Yet, unlike the U.K. team’s tech, the Singapore team designed the urine-powered battery with the intention of designing a disposable power source for medical kits, National Geographic reports.

However, it seems, scientists have struggled to apply such urine power practically. As one chemical engineer pointed out in November, after three teenage girls unveiled a urine-powered generator, such mechanisms fail to provide enough energy output to match the input.

So while a urine-powered phone charger sounds like a resourceful — albeit gross — renewable energy source, it may not be feasible for the typical mobile user.

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow

  • Don’t Wait To Charge

    Charge your phone frequently. Recharging when the phone is almost dead too often will make the battery do more work and lower its life expectancy. Charge when your phone is 40 percent full, not 10 percent.

  • Don’t Vibrate

    It takes more energy for the phone to vibrate than to ring.

  • Kill Unnecessary Apps

    Apps running in the background of your phone will make it run out of juice faster. Shut down all the apps you don’t need to keep it going a little longer.

  • Turn Off Wi-Fi

    If you don’t need to download big files, and you aren’t performing some crucial task online, turning off WiFi will let the battery rest.

  • Disable Location Services

    Apps that use location are constantly communicating with cell towers to pinpoint where you are. While they’re doing it, your battery is dying. Turn them off in settings when you need to get that last bit of life.

  • Dim The Screen

    Dim the brightness of your screens to give battery life a boost. Lowering the default brightness will ensure that the phone uses less charge over time.

  • Lock Your Screen

    Locking the screen on your phone not only keeps strangers from snooping, but will also keep the phone from turning on–and using power–if it accidentally brushes up against things.

  • Get Accessories

    While some people already tote around chargers in the dire case that their phone might die, an easier way to prepare is to outfit your phone with a “battery extender case” that packs a spare battery within its skin. When your phone’s battery runs out, it will draw power from the case battery.

  • Get A New Battery

    After two years, there’s a good chance your battery is running on its last legs. At this point, it might be better to replace it in order to get the full battery life you once had.

  • Put The Phone In Airplane Mode

    Even when you’re not up in the air, putting your phone in Airplane Mode will keep the battery from dying, as it prevents the phone from receiving and sending signals. Of course, when it’s in Airplane Mode you won’t be able to call, text, or get online, so this may be a last resort.

  • Keep Your Battery Cool

    Overheating can damage your phone’s battery cells and make it die faster after a charge. Keep your phone out of the sun and other hot places. A phone that gets too hot while in use could be experiencing some kind of charge malfunction and should be checked out.

  • Turn Off Push Notifications

    The function that allows your phone to automatically download new email, and notifications from third-party apps, also makes your battery run out faster. If your phone’s almost dead, go to settings to turn off this feature.

Comments are closed.