If you were awarded a EPSRC Career Acceleration Fellowship Grant worth 564,561 British pounds, what would you do with it? Well, Dr. Loannis Leropoulos has decided to take his grant money, and use it to research the potential in using urine to generate energy!
With a rather prominent energy crisis looming, some truly outrageous ideas on alternative energy have emerged. But none as intriguing (or do I mean as nauseating?) as this. Leropoulos and his team hope to, through their research, explore the use of urine to power Microbial Fuel Cells.
Leropoulos explains (via Science Daily): “Over the years we have fed our MFCs with rotten fruit, grass clippings, prawn shells and dead flies in an attempt to investigate different waste materials to use as a ‘food source’ for the Microbial Fuel Cells. We have focused on finding the best waste materials that create the most energy. Urine is chemically very active, rich in nitrogen and has compounds such as urea, chloride, potassium and bilirubin, which make it very good for the microbial fuel cells. We have already done preliminary tests which show it being a waste material that is very effective.”
Could it be, we’re looking at a one shot solution for the energy crisis, and a sanitary sewage system overflow? Leropoulos and his team are seeing what they can do. But for now, could I be the only one wondering if their research facilities have toilets?