A group of teenagers have brought attention to a fuel source you might not have expected. A group of four young women have designed and built a power production system that uses pee. The urine is placed in an electrolytic cell which separates the hydrogen and oxygen out of the water-containing fluid. Hydrogen is a powerful energy carrier that has shown great potential in being a future fuel but obtaining it in its purest form is difficult and expensive. The hydrogen then goes on to a water filtration phase for further purification. The next phase is a borax solution bath to remove any water vapor the hydrogen gas has picked up along the way. After this phase is complete, the hydrogen gas enters the combustion chamber which then powers the converted generator. Some electricity generated is pulled to start the process over again at the “water splitting” electrolytic cell. With this system, a liter of urine can provide up to six hours of electricity! This is a huge improvement over the 7 liters needed by gasoline to obtain the same run time.
An additional benefit to burning the cleaner hydrogen instead of traditional fuels is the zero emission of carbon monoxide. The only significant product of hydrogen combustion is water vapor and traces of nitrogen oxide (which is dangerous but still less dangerous than what is found in traditional fuel combustion.).
This kind of system can be useful in areas where traditional fuels are very expensive or hard to come by. Although a large percentage of the generated electricity is needed to separate a water molecule into hydrogen and oxygen, the reduction in harmful pollution offered by this alternative process is a great advantage.
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