These Teenage Girls From Africa Made A Urine Powered Generator

When I was a teenager, I don't think I ever imagined doing anything other than playing video games and eating junk food. Luckily, these teenage girls weren't me because they've developed a generator that can be powered with urine. Yep, it's pee-powered.

Duro-Aina Adebola, Akindele Abiola, Faleke Oluwatoyin and Bello Eniola are 14 and 15-year-old kids from Nigeria who've cooked up a system where 1L of urine can get you six hours of electricity. That's the best use of pee I can think of. Here's how it works:

  • Urine is put into an electrolytic cell, which separates out the hydrogen.
  • The hydrogen goes into a water filter for purification, which then gets pushed into the gas cylinder.
  • The gas cylinder pushes hydrogen into a cylinder of liquid borax, which is used to remove the moisture from the hydrogen gas.
  • This purified hydrogen gas is pushed into the generator.

The girls made the pee-powered generator for Maker Faire Africa and you can read up more about their project here. [Maker Faire Africa via Neatorama]


    "cooked up a system where 1L of electricity can get you six hours of electricity. "
    I never knew electricity could come in liquid form!

    "1L of electricity can get you six hours of electricity"... Think you mean "urine".

      *sigh* The previous comments didn't load.

    Wow, surely you're taking the piss!!!

    I'm skeptical. I'm sure the article neglects the part where they were assisted by a team of experienced chemical engineers.

      Why chemical engineres? I made hydrogen and chlorine gas when I was in grade 7 for a school project using salty water and 2 car batteries. Its not that hard.

    So.. Local Council Sewage Department... what exactly is the practicality of this kind of system?
    Converting waste into water and energy is what you guys do right?

      too many bureaucrats and red tape for this to happen in Australia.

    Slight problem - the electrolytic cell used to separate out the hydrogen unfortunately requires electricty. So basically, they're using electricity to make the chemicals to make electricity....and given the inherant losses in any kind of system like this, they're actually not "making" anything.

      +1, also, what is "pushing" the liquid through ? A pump maybe ?

        What "Liquid" are you referring to? Hydrogen is a gas unless they have a cryogenic plant there to liquify it.

        The process listed in the article is that the hydrogen gas gets pushed through the filter then through the liquid borax then into the generator.

        Gas is not that hard to "push" around. The pressure of the Hydrogen gas from the decomposition of ammonia in the urine in the first chamber would suffice.

          Are they using pure pressure from the electrolytic conversion to move the hydrogen through the system ? I'm trying to understand how they developed enough pressure so they could "power" the generator, using such a small system.

          Looking at the generator, it looks like a standard petrol generator to me. How much pressure could the conversion create to store any meaningful amount of hydrogen in the cylinder ?

          Last edited 12/11/12 1:47 pm

            pressure from the unit that I created to decompose salty water into chlorine gas and hydrogen gas built enough pressure to partially inflate party balloon, which i then set on fire to prove that it was hydrogen gas. Then you have a suction action from the generator to assist. You are right though looking at the setup they have I cant see the small amount of urine they have providing enough Hydrogen to power the generator for 6 hours. Unless they store the gas use it to power the generator for an hour or so to charge batteries. /shrug. have to investigate further.


              I like this little kit, lots of fun to show to the kids.

                Thank you so much. I now know one of the presents I'll be getting for my kids this Christmas.

      The amount of energy needed to separate the Hydrogen from the Ammonia in urine is fairly small. the energy released by combustion of Hydrogen in the generator makes more than enough power to run the electrolysis chamber and power lights or what ever.

    As i am NOT a chemistry expert type guy in any way, I am happy to be corrected, but I am of the understanding that the hydrogen would actually be coming from the water that makes up the urine.
    So they could use pretty much any liquid that's mostly made up of water.
    The fact that they are using urine seems somewhat superfluous to me.
    Have they not simply found a way to get hydrogen from water that's "tainted" with urine?

      No the Hydrogen comes from the decomposition of the Ammonia in the urine. Ammonia being 1 Nitrogen atom ans 3 Hydrogen.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now