Teens in Africa create generator powered by urine

8 Nov 2012

The students with the generator that's powered by urine. Image via Maker Faire Africa

Yes, you read right. Four teenage girls from Africa have come up with a urine-powered generator system, which has been gathering attention at Maker Faire Africa, the event for inventors and creative thinkers being held in Laos, Nigeria, this week.

Maker Faire Africa is part of the Maker Faire movement for people who make things to show off their ingenuity and inventions. Indeed, Science Gallery played host to Dublin’s first-ever Mini Maker Faire this past July.

The urine-powered generator that made its debut in Laos this week is the brainchild of four teenagers – Duro-Aina Adebola, Akindele Abiola, Faleke Oluwatoyin and Bello Eniola – came up with the invention that could help to spur on future inventions in Africa where power outages are a regular occurrence.

Apparently, one litre of urine is enough to power the generator to give six hours of electricity.

So, how does the system work? It seems the urine is put into an electrolytic cell, which separates out the hydrogen. Then, a water filter purifies the hydrogen, which then gets propelled into a gas cylinder. It then pushes the purified hydrogen gas into a further cylinder of liquid borax. This process is carried out to remove the moisture from the hydrogen gas.

Finally, the purified hydrogen gas is pushed into the generator. And voila! Energy powered by urine …

Other inventions that have been attracting attention at the Laos event include ‘FarmKing’, a processing prototype for root crops and grains that has been created by 65-year-old engineer Sulaiman Famro to process starch.


Sulaiman Famro with his ‘FarmKing’ prototype. Image by Maker Faire Africa

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic