Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh, The Loh Down on Science is a fun way to get your daily dose of science plus a dash of humor in less than two minutes.
Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh
Airs Weekdays 2:43 and 3:43 a.m.

P is for Power

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Can we power our cell phones with fuel cells that are really wee?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, saying:

Yes!  Meaning, not only are the cells tiny, but their power source is, shall we say, free flowing.

That’s according to scientists at the University of Bath, and colleagues.  They’ve developed a fuel cell from microbes.  These tiny creatures are powered by—yes—urine!

What are the perks of this fuel source?  It’s cheap, it will never run out, and it does not produce harmful gases.

Other microbial fuel cells use platinum as a catalyst to drive this electricity-generating reaction.  This fuel cell just needs glucose and a protein found in egg whites. Plus, you need only one of these microbial fuel cells to power a cell phone.  Need more power?  Just stack the cells, one on top of another.

Overall, this could be a great energy alternative, especially in developing areas.

So if you hope to someday charge your phone while watching your kids at the neighborhood pool, "urine" luck!  Oh boy.  Sorry.