Four Nigerian teen girls have wowed visitors to Maker Faire Africa by creating a generator that is powered with pee. Using a resource that everyone has, the girls developed a generator that produces six hour of power for one liter of urine. At only 14 and 15 years old, the students are an inspiration for renewable energy developers everywhere and one can only imagine how useful a pee-powered energy generator would be in natural disasters or emergency situations.
Duro-Aina Adebola, Akindele Abiola, Faleke Oluwatoyin and Bello Eniola aren’t even college grads — the young inventors barely in their teens! Growing up in a region with little natural resources, the girls were inspired to take on the challenge of creating an alternative energy system that could be further developed to solve energy solutions in their community.
The girls’ device removes valuable hydrogen from the urine, isolating it so it can be used as an energy source. The average person produces about two liters of urine a day, so the girls’ generator can easily be operated by an individual. One liter is put into an electrolytic cell, which separates the hydrogen. The hydrogen is then purified with a typical water filter, and extracted into a gas cylinder. The hydrogen’s journey is not over yet, though; it is then squeezed into another cylinder of liquid borax, which removes any excess humidity from the hydrogen. The hydrogen, now pure, can then be used in the generator.
Although the system produces six hours of electricity, it is not a stand-alone generator, as it requires electricity to initially power the electrolytic cell. Hydrogen is also volatile, so containing any amount of the pure gas is risky. But still, it’s a pretty impressive accomplishment for three girls who aren’t even old enough to legally drive. We can only imagine the great accomplishments in renewable energy they will achieve in the future.