Udaipur : It may sound a little nasty, but the story is quite remarkable. Soon public urinals in Udaipur would be lit up by urine-tricity i.e electricity produced by urine. The Bio-energy research team from the University of West England, Bristol in collaboration with Wells for India, a UK based NGO are initiating to set up the first Pee-power generation plant and first functional urinal in Udaipur citywithin six months under the Swachh Bharat Mission. If the field trials are successful, it would be widely launched across the country.
The research team have been visiting various villages in the district these days to look for possibility of field testing their first trials. During their visit on Saturday, members of the team Clare Backman and Dr. Irene Merino Jimenez met the Zila Parishad officials and were quite satisfied by the response they received from the villagers. “The urine bio-fuel cell technology could be used for many things, such as charging mobiles phones, any applications involving low electricity current” Clare said. “ The pee-power toilet could vastly improve women’s safety in urinal or toilets that often have poorly lit sanitation zones. By lighting we can create a safe environment so that women can go out, use the toilets or urinals at night fearlessly ” informed O.P.Sharma, the Country Director, Wells for India.
How Urine-tricity works?
Urine-tricity has been developed by team of scientist led by Prof Ioannis Ieropoulos at Bristol Robotics Laboratory who developed microbial fuel cells (MFCs) that use bacteria grown on carbon fiber anodes that feed on urine, breaking it down and generating electricity which is stored in a capacitor. The prototype developed by the University of the West England, Bristol, UK have two half cells and a membrane separating the two cells. The microbial fuel cell chassis and membrane is the ceramic material. The outside is the bacterial anode, or the negative terminal of the fuel cell; and the inside is the positive cathode. The ceramic is there to allow to exist as a microbial fuel cell, but also to allow ions to flow through from the anode to the cathode. It’s the continuous cascade of urine through a series of fuel cells that keeps up the electricity production by constantly ‘feeding’ the bacteria.