Feeds

Teen project sparks WORLD-WIDE PEE-POWERED HYPEGASM!

Urine generator will save the world, apparently

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

File this one under “pending”: a group of African students has shown a hydrogen-powered generator at Maker Faire Africa in Lagos that uses urine as its fuel source.

Maker Faire Lagos put the story here, crediting Duro-Aina Adebola, Akindele Abiola, Faleke Oluwatoyin and Bello Eniola with the build.

And what a sensation it’s made: Engadget, CNET, DigitalJournal, io9 and others give the general gist that pee will save the world.

The basics are clear enough. Urine contains hydrogen, which can be extracted by electrolysis. If you’re then careful enough, you can most certainly store the gas, and burn it in a generator.

Three of the African school-girls with their generator kit.

Source: Maker Faire Lagos

Where The Register would like help from someone with the right training is in this rather startling claim: that one liter/litre (strike out whichever spelling you dislike) of urine is sufficient to run the generator for six hours.

That’s got some debunkers working overtime. There’s a critique of the apparatus here, for example – but it seems to me to miss the point: there’s quite an abundance of hydrogen in water, the main constituent of urine.

To cite the Fountain of All Knowledge, Wikipedia, you don’t need a high voltage to separate hydrogen from water, so I can accept it as “plausible” that you could run the hydrolysis kit from portable solar or wind (with an efficiency loss along the way).

Why not simply use solar/wind power to directly provide 240V? Well: hydrogen (if you’d solved the storage safety problem) is a handy way to store a fuel against needing power when the sun’s not shining or the wind isn’t blowing. Fair enough …

And El Reg can also understand why, in a place like Africa where water is scarce, it might be preferable to use recycled rather than potable water.

It looks to El Reg like the whole thing has been seized on as a “save the world” technology, rather than being praised for what it is: a pretty good teenage science project that should get full marks in its own right, without gadget-fans’ myth-making. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
Software bug caught Galileo sats in landslide, no escape from reality
Life had just begun, code error means Russia's gone and thrown it all away
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.