Urine-powered mobile phone in the works

Scientists in the UK have been able to generate enough electricity from human urine to charge a mobile phone.

The system, unveiled by a team from the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, uses microbial fuel cells as an energy converter, turning organic matter directly into electricity via the metabolism of live microorganisms. So far, enough power has been generated to enable the phone to make a brief phone call, send text messages and browse the internet. "We are very excited as this is a world first," said project leader Dr Ioannis Ieropoulos. "No one has harnessed power from urine to do this so it's an exciting discovery." The researchers are now working on scaling up the electricity output from the fuel cells. They believe the technology has the potential to be installed into domestic bathrooms, producing electricity to power showers or lighting as well as mobile phones.