Urine eyed as possible power source

July 31, 2010 at 3:20 PM
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BRISTOL, England, July 31 (UPI) -- British researchers say they are looking at urine as a possible energy source for fuel cells that could power autonomous robots.

Scientists at the University of Bristol say the waste product could serve as the fuel for microbial fuel cells, which use bacterial cultures that digest waste to create power, ScienceDaily.com reported Wednesday.

A team at the university's Bristol Robotic Lab has spent more than 3 years developing EcoBot-III, a robot that can power itself by converting waste such as rotten fruit and grass clippings into power.

As part of their research to find the best waste materials that create the most energy, they will look at urine as a "food" for the microbial power units, the team leader says.

"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," Dr. Ioannis Ieropoulos says.

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