Monday, August 10, 2009

How the Future Can Be Powered by Energy from Urine

We all regard urine as waste material. In fact, once we get it out of our system, we stay clear of it. But the fact is that there's treasure in urine. Scientists from Ohio University are devising ways of extracting hydrogen from it and using this gas as a source of energy for house heaters to car engines. The basic technique of extracting hydrogen from urine uses electrolysis. This process breaks down urine's main component, urea, producing useful hydrogen. Gerardine Botte, the lead researcher, says that urea gets adsorbed on to the nickel electrode surface of an electrolytic setup. This then relays the electrons needed to break down the molecule.

Botte says one cow (or the urine from one) is enough to heat the water of 19 houses. So ten cows, including bulls, can heat up to a hundred houses. That's already the size of a village! Animals are urine factories, dumping tons and tons of it into the environment. In cities, especially in depressed areas, the smell of human urine can be prevalent. If the urine from all the urinals in a city can be collected, that's probably enough to provide a big percentage of energy to the overall requirement of the whole city. In the future, the hydrogen that will be used for fuel in automobiles may be coming from urine.

How cow dung can save the environment.