A microbial fuel cell which generates electricity from urine was recently developed by researchers at University of Bath, Queen Mary University of London and the Bristol Robotics Laboratory. They have used Titanium wire and carbon cloth as the cost-effective alternate materials to platinum. To speed up the reaction and generate more power, ovalbumin present in egg white and glucose were used as catalysts. Electrode size has been increased from 4 mm to 8 mm. In countries like us where population of both human and animals is very high in number, this research may give an encouragement to utilize the waste generated by these groups to produce electricity, which is very much high in demand. This can reduce pressure on conventional electricity generation, which requires huge volumes of water or coal for its generation and these are in short supply. The day may not be so far to address the problem of urinating in public in cities and towns. Local bodies instead of charging for urination, they can pay money to collect the urine and use it for electricity generation, provided it is economical. They can rename public toilets from ‘Pay & use’ to ‘Use and get’. This step may discourage urination in public to a great extent.
Dr S V N Vijayendra, Mysuru