This innovative approach will change the way you see sewage!
The fuel cells are already unique in that they contain bacteria — bacteria normally found growing on the metal underside of ships and oil-rigs in the ocean. They grow on electrodes, and feed on organic matter in urine as it flows past them, producing a small current of electrons.
Loannis Leropoulos, director of the Bristol Bioenergy Centre and leader of the project, claims the process cleans the water as well as generating energy. His team has used this process to charge a smartphone, although it took them 64 hours to complete. The process is slow and inefficient at the moment but the team believes they can boost the power of the fuel cells through future experimentation.
This technology will be monumental for areas of the world where 2.5 billion people do not have access to safe sanitation. There are also areas, many of them the same areas, where 1.2 billion people do not have access to power. These fuel cells have the potential to solve both of these problems.
Leropoulos’ team is attempting to use the same process with solid human waste. Faecal sludge is more enriched than urine and can allow the microbes to produce more power.
Urine and feces are not the only forms of human waste that researchers are learning to harness. “Fatbergs” also hold a lot of potential. Fatbergs are large formations of congealed grease, oil and fat, which accumulate in and clog sewers in most major cities. These unattractive sounding globs of foulness can be processed to make biodiesel fuel, which can be mixed with normal diesel and used in buses and trucks.
If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.
Here are some numbers:
- 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
- Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
- Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
- Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
- Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
- We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)
As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.
Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!