It might sound like something from a sci-fi movie but urine powered batteries are a reality, and Bill Gates is funding them.
The Bill Gates Foundation is funding further research by Bristol Robotic Laboratory who discovered the new power source. It’s efficient enough to charge a smartphone which the scientists have already shown off. But how does it work?
Using a Microbial Fuel Cell micro-organisms take the urine, break it down and output electricity - to put it simply. On a scale large enough to charge a smartphone there are several cells into which the urine is passed via tubes. The unit creates electricity and also expels a broken down version of the waste making it safer to dispose of.
While we don’t expect to see people carrying around urine bags instead of charging blocks anytime soon, this could be a great technology for areas of the world where electricity is hard to obtain. This technology could be implemented on a large scale for both treating waste and powering the grid in the future.
This is a really huge step in the direction of a truly carbon neutral future where nothing goes to waste.