Production of electricity from urine in Nigeria?
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TOPIC: Production of electricity from urine in Nigeria?

A urine powered generator? 09 Nov 2012 11:34 #2620

  • jkeichholz
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My colleague Erik Hersman of AfriGadget.com/Ushahidi.com recently attended MakerFaireAfrica in Lagos (AfriGadget was part of this event) and ran across a urine-powered generator which he wrote about here: makerfaireafrica.com/2012/11/06/a-urine-powered-generator/


A urine powered generator by whiteafrican, on Flickr

The BBC also picked up this story in the coverage of the event www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-20167122 and the claim that the four girls had "invented" this technology, and also how it should work, generated quite some comments within a few days. A blogger / tech guy from Australia also publicly tried to examine the "how does this actually work?"-part on his site: nathan-lee.com/blog/2012/11/07/urine-pow...yre-taking-the-piss/

I am yet to understand how this really works (the presented setup, that is), but maybe one of you out there can shed some light on this. Also, this being a forum on the reuse of sanitary products, it's probably good to share it with you. All I can say atm is that any publicity that emphasises the value of urine and faeces (waste => food) is good for us, no matter if this particular setup really works. Or?
Juergen Eichholz
watsan eng.
water, sanitation, IT & knowledge management
www.saniblog.org
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Production of electricity from urine in Nigeria? 08 Mar 2013 12:49 #3813

  • jdoczi
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Hi everyone,

My colleague sent me this video today, apparently claiming that Nigerian students have invented a way to produce electricity from urine. The video is in French though, so I did not really understand how the mechanism was supposed to work.

The link is here, and I would appreciate a synposis from a French speaker as to the mechanism and whether it is actually viable! www.lemonde.fr/afrique/video/2013/03/06/....152227018273071#_=_

Thanks and Regards,

Julian Doczi
---
Julian Doczi
Research Officer - Water Policy
Overseas Development Institute
UK

Re: Production of electricity from urine in Nigeria? 08 Mar 2013 13:29 #3816

  • rahulingle
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Peelectricity!!!

“This urine is being electrolysed, releasing hydrogen and oxygen gas, and this then goes into our gas tank. Our gas tank here stores the gases, and anytime we need the gas we can open up the gas tank and release the gas and our generator is powered.”
www.english.rfi.fr/africa/20121125-niger...ower-shortages-urine

  • Unveiled at the Maker Faire Africa in Lagos, the device is able to provide six hours of electricity with one liter of urine.
  • Urine is first put into an electrolytic cell to separate out the hydrogen.
  • Hydrogen goes into a water filter for purification and gets pushed into a gas cylinder.
  • The gas cylinder pushes the hydrogen into a cylinder of liquid borax to remove the moisture from the hydrogen gas.
  • And finally, the purified hydrogen gas is pushed into the generator to create electricity.


designtaxi.com/news/354315/Nigerian-Teen...lectrical-Generator/

Best regards,

Rahul Ingle
Program Advisor "Sustainable sanitation"
GIZ, Eschborn, Germany
and SuSanA secretariat

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
www.giz.de/sanitation
www.susana.org
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Re: Production of electricity from urine in Nigeria? 08 Mar 2013 14:34 #3818

  • joeturner
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I like the last line on the report on the Maker Faire Africa report:

Along the whole way there are one-way valves for security, but let’s be honest that this is something of an explosive device…


It sounds like an electrical current is needed for the electrolysis. I don't know how to calculate the electrical input needed verses the output of the generator, but I'm guessing the latter is not necessarily greater than the former.
I don't work for anyone, I am a philosopher interested to think about how we think about WASH and sanitation. All thoughts are mine alone, I am responsible for any errors.

Previously trained and worked as a Soil Scientist and worked on projects composting sewage sludge.
Last Edit: 08 Mar 2013 14:34 by joeturner.

Re: Production of electricity from urine in Nigeria? 11 Mar 2013 14:52 #3855

  • joekameni
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Hi all,

It is very amazing and a great project.
For people who doesn't read in french, I made this introduction translation

In Nigeria, Lagos, a 14 year old schoolgirl has developed a generator of electricity fuelled with urine rather than the diesel, expensive and polluting.
In a megalopolis of about 15 million inhabitant who live at the rate of the power cuts, the project still experimental stage, amazes but arouses hopes.

Best regards


++++++++++++
Note by moderator (EvM): we asked an expert about this and this is what he wrote:

Regarding the news story from the Lagos Maker Faire, I think it's remarkable that 14-15 year old girls from Nigeria have come together to produce that demonstrator, but there is a few elements to pay attention to. For example, the electrolytic cell by default requires electricity to operate, which as shown from the photos, comes from the generator. So one question one might ask would be, are the 6 hours of operation purely from the 1 litre of urine, or has the generator had some external energy input to begin with? Another thing to consider would be the elements and materials actually involved in the electrolytic cell, water filter and cylinder with liquid borax, what is their cost and what is their useful lifetime? In other words, how much would this system cost and how long would it last running? Although the setup might have been 'prep-ed' for the photo opportunity, there is of course the question of the loose tubes going into the compressed gas cylinder. And finally, 6 hours of electricity can mean a number things, and without proper quantification of this output, it is difficult to be conclusive.

Kind regards,
Yannis

See here: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/98-res...t-of-england-uk#4366
Last Edit: 11 Jun 2013 21:41 by muench.
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