We’ve heard all about wind and solar power, hydroelectricity and geothermal energy. But how about tofu power? Some of the most interesting new innovations in the clean energy industry come from unexpected sources. Here, we’ll introduce you to a few of the most unusual ways to power a factory or light up a village.
Students and staff at the University of the West of England have figured out how to make good use of the natural result of downing a pint or two. They’ve created a pee-powered urinal stall for their Student Union bar. The stall uses live microbes that feed on urine to power a microbial fuel cell, which, in turn, provides electricity. The project is a collaboration between the university and Oxfam, which says the pee-powered toilet could be a model for similar units in refugee camps, where dark stalls at night are a safety hazard. Since humans collectively produce nearly 3 billion gallons of urine each day, this has much wider implications for clean energy as well.