Saw this pop up on reddit – Four teenagers in Africa invent a Urine powered generator and a BBC article with a picture but no description.

Students with their Urine powered generator at Maker Faire Africa in Lagos

Students with their Urine powered generator at Maker Faire Africa in Lagos

Now on the face of it it ticks a lot of boxes – developing nation ingenuity, young kids sticking it to the energy companies and the green credentials (hey – urine’s a renewable resource right?).

But I’m not so convinced.

The claims

The claims is that “1 Liter of urine gives you 6 hours of electricity.”

Wow, 1 Litre of urine and 6 hours of electricity.

The following is on the site explaining it.

The system works like this:

Urine is put into an electrolytic cell, which separates out the hydrogen.
The hydrogen goes into a water filter for purification, which then gets pushed into the gas cylinder.
The gas cylinder pushes hydrogen into a cylinder of liquid borax, which is used to remove the moisture from the hydrogen gas.
This purified hydrogen gas is pushed into the generator.
Along the whole way there are one-way valves for security, but let’s be honest that this is something of an explosive device…

What is in Urine?

Going to that bastion of semi-reliable information (wikipedia) – I find that:

Urine is an aqueous solution of greater than 95% water, with the remaining constituents, in order of decreasing concentration urea 9.3 g/L, chloride 1.87 g/L, sodium 1.17 g/L, potassium 0.750 g/L, creatinine 0.670 g/L and other dissolved ions, inorganic and organic compounds.

Ok, so nearly all water – and 9.3 g/L of urea. Hrmm.. On the face of it and with limited research into the chemical energy in urea – that’s not sounding like something that is likely to power a generator with a 10-40% efficiency (and that’s being very generous with the range).

The apparatus

Let’s take a look at the picture from here.

The setup

The setup

Now it looks to me like a very daggy looking battery (the “electrolytic cell”), several water filter holders, a modified gas cylinder, some tubing, clamps and a generator. The bit from the generator to the electrics is pretty non-contentious – have seen similar things – a light to provide some load/indicator that energy is getting through and some powerpoints to plug the stuff in you want power to.

The “electrolytic cell”

Can’t really see what’s inside that or how it is filled up with urine etc – but keep in mind it’s got to be well sealed enough to pressurise the gas cylinder via the water filter thing in between. Also curious about the wires leading from it to the generator. What’s up with that?

Close-up of the battery and generator

Close-up of the battery and generator

Have they just hooked up the battery to an inverter perhaps? Surely people will expect the generator to be running while it is powering the lights. Or is it supposed to close the loop on supplying power back to produce hydrogen?

Water purifiers

Next in the chain is the first of the water filters. What’s it for? “The hydrogen goes into a water filter for purification, which then gets pushed into the gas cylinder.”
Ok, let’s go with that. First up it has no filter in it. Next up: it’s not pushing liquid through and a “water filter” only makes sense if you’re pushing water through it – I’m not sure what the point of it is – surely the gas would just bubble straight through to the exit? e.g. the liquid in it is irrelevant like blowing into a glass with a straw not in the water – the air doesn’t magically go down into the water – it just stays at the top. If you filled it to the top you might get a bit of water blown out initially but then it would have cleared a path. If it had a hose down it you’d get a sheeha/bong type result – but how it is currently I don’t see how it does anything. It’s ok, these kids don’t hang out with the drop-out pot-heads enough to know how to fashion a bong out of an Orchy bottle. Even if you tipped it upside down during operation it would proceed to blow out all the water until it was clear and then the gas would flow straight through.

Here’s how they are usually set up to filter water:

Water filter.

Water filter.

So water comes in – is pushed or pulled through the filter – and then flows out. If you don’t have the filter there – the water just flows straight out.. If you tried blowing air through – it’d just flow straight to the exit.

So you could take that out of the system – a sign of many “perpetual motion” and “free energy” machines where they stick a big coil, magnet or a mystery big resistor or something in there.

The gas bottle
There’s some things wrong with the gas bottle too.

Some suspect bits on here too

Some suspect bits on here too

No clamp on the “input” – which I’m not sure what that is and how it works. Looks like a repair job, but not sure what that other bit is – looks like a plug or something on the side of it. The corrosion might be because they welded the wrong metal on there? But generally you don’t want too many valves/openings in your tank as it is a point of failure – certainly not a big drain sized opening or whatever that is.

Another water filter

Then there’s the next bit – don’t have any idea why you would have filters on the stuff going out to the atmosphere (I presume that’s what that is).

What is all this on the end?

What is all this on the end?

Huh? Why would you care about filtering whatever comes out that bit – either they’ve hooked up their sham rig incorrectly (e.g. this stuff with the filters should be hooked to the electrolyte cell or to the gas tank or somewhere that makes sense. Double filtering something that is going nowhere – why? Again, those could be removed for the same impact.

And finally – 6 hours of running a generator on a litre of petrol is probably pushing the friendship a bit – 6 hours of running a generator on 95% water content – unless it’s uranium or fairy dust disolved in it is probably a stretch.

Conclusion

While I’d love to believe the story – I just don’t buy it. There’s either something very wrong with their setup or it’s just pointlessly complex for no apparent reason.

I’m labelling this a quack gadget – in line with the perpetual energy machines, magnet only motors.. Urine powered generators are in good company.

But happy to be proved wrong and we can finally harness the grubs who piss in the street and the urinal at the pub could run the lights.

Anyone else got any thoughts?

Edit: article talking about potential for using urine talks about needing electricity to separate the hydrogen. I don’t buy that this will be capable of producing the volume and the pressures required. And another talking about batteries – but again, that was just a chemical reaction like any battery. And another talking again about electrolysis of it being a bit easier than water – but that all needs power.

49 Responses to “Urine powered generator? They’re taking the piss!”

  1. on 07 Nov 2012 at 16:19Bob

    I totally agree. This is a scam.

  2. on 07 Nov 2012 at 21:36James

    Nathan,

    That “double filter” is an intake (or exhaust) tube. Those are one-way valves… not filters.

  3. on 07 Nov 2012 at 23:32Nathan

    Again – how does that work – they are for letting in air to mix with the hydrogen? The pressure from the outside would need to be higher to get in. Or if they’re one way valves going out – wouldn’t the high pressure hydrogen push out that way rather than through the generator? Wouldn’t you put those between the gas tank and the battery?

  4. on 08 Nov 2012 at 00:42cornpop

    That’s a R22 Freon bottle. The dish is there in case of ever pressurization, mandated by the DOT for transport in case of fire. The corrosion is due to Freon mixing with humidity to create acid. This acid is what corroded the tank around the dish.

    The pressure only needs to be about 6 ounces per inch. The intake will create 15 .in Hg of vacuum while being cranked. In a propane truck motor the tank pressure is about 100-200 psi, but it’s regulated down to 6 ounces per inch. The same principal applies to methane generators or wood gasification. Liquid fuel needs to be pumped through a small orifice at around 9 psi to atomize properly and mix with the air. An already gaseous fluid does not.

    Seriously. You are way off on how ‘gaseous fuel delivery’ works at a basic level.

  5. on 08 Nov 2012 at 00:42cornpop

    (ever) over*

  6. on 08 Nov 2012 at 03:07eldorel

    I can answer a few of the questions that are being asked.

    First, the only thing you need to get hydrogen from urine/urea is to apply voltage. That’s what the wires from the generator to the “battery” are for.

    Using urine as a source of urea for Hydrogen production is a very well known process, and has been done many times before.

    http://phys.org/news165836803.html

    Secondly, the water filter cans are probably being used as gas submersion filters, similar to the way a water-based dust filter works.

    ( you have a tank of water, the incoming air hose goes to the bottom of the tank and is allowed to bubble to the top. Particulate matter is left in the water. )

    From what I can tell, they are using the first filter to remove most of the contaminants that are also produced from the electrolysis.

    (I’m also going to guess that the water in the first container contains an acid to neutralize some of them and get closer to pure hydrogen)

    The gas tank is probably just for hydrogen storage, but as someone else already commented that tank is an old refrigerant recovery tank. They are used to remove used freon from air conditioners instead of letting it leak into the atmosphere.

    The opening on the left is where the input vavle would be mounted.
    The silver “plug” is an emergency pressure release. It pops out when the tank is over pressurized to prevent an explosion.

    There has been no actual modification to the tank, they simply unscrewed the pressure valves and glued in sections of copper pipe.

    The 2 extra parts attached to the second water filter are one-way valves, and are probably being used to introduce air the the system.

    The fact that the water in this tank is absolutely filthy contributes to the theory that they are filtering out dust from unfiltered atmosphere.

    Hydrogen does not burn without oxygen, so they are mixing the hydrogen into the filtered atmosphere inside the second filter.

    Modifying an engine to run of of combustible gas is simple a matter of attatching a hose to the fuel input. The hose is sized to limit the amount of gas.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5S01xBUnd08

    As long as the fuel/gas/etc burns when you apply a spark, the engine doesn’t care what it’s burning.

    As for your pressure concerns, the act of starting the generator creates a vacuum and sucks the gas into the engine. After the first explosion, the engine maintains that vacuum.

    This negative pressure keeps the entire system pressurized enough to pull air and hydrogen through the one way valves in the rest of the system.

    I still think it’s probably a scam, but only because of the amount of efficiency they are claiming.

  7. on 08 Nov 2012 at 11:25KB

    I don’t think those are one way valves. If you blow up the picture they look like filters for a small engine.

  8. on 08 Nov 2012 at 20:03Ken

    While I think it is a perpetual motion machine, I can explain better the reasons for the parts.

    1. The black battery looking thing is the place where hydrolysis takes place and produces browns gas which flows out the tube.

    2. The browns gas from the hydrolysis is bubbled through the water in the filter to remove impurities.

    3. The green gas tank is just a reservior for the browns gas.

    4. The borax filter appears to be half full of urine, but that is supposedly the reaction of borax with the water vapor in the browns gas.

    The tube branching off to the atmosphere is a pressure release value. It is a safety device to allow the browns gas to vent if the pressure builds up too high.

    5. The gas feeds into the generator at low pressure.

    The obvious question which the article does not answer is – what is the dc power source for the hydrolysis?

    If the generator is the power source for the hydrolysis then this is a perpetual motion machine, and it will not work due to the second law of thermodynamics.

  9. on 08 Nov 2012 at 20:41Richard

    seriusly?
    Some scepticism is good, but some of you seem to forget that this in no way is a “perpetual motion machine”. The system is feed by the continuously ADDED energy of NEW URINE – 1 litre is enough to run the system for 6h, then you have to add new “fuel”. The extracted energy from the urine is enough to run the electrolysis in itself and gives a surplus that can be used for… whatever you want – lighting a lightbulb in this case.
    As i said – Some scepticism is good, but so far I can´t find any problem with this invention.

  10. […] para enganar pessoas online.Será que é verdade, será que é mentira? O que é que vocês acham?Fonte Tweetar Tags: eletricidade, estudantes, gerador, invenção, Nigéria, urina, xixi Acerca de […]

  11. on 09 Nov 2012 at 10:05layogenic

    Nobody was claiming this to be a fix-all, clean-energy solution to the world’s problems. This was a project done by four 14-15 year olds who successfully produced power via piss. Everybody’s need to look smarter than a group of teenagers (and generally failing, I might add) is really sad, especially when starting from erroneous assumptions about the project.

  12. […] are applauding the girls’ work, others have expressed skepticism of their contraption. On one science-minded blog, believers and not-so-believers are currently engaged in a lively and thorough deconstruction of […]

  13. on 09 Nov 2012 at 19:28nikiema

    envoyez moi des documents je suis interessé

  14. […] your local hardware store”. While Engadget seems to believe that the apparatus can actually work, Nathan Lee, after going through the images and figuring out what exactly is being done there, has other […]

  15. […] Summoning Pound's ghost Lifetime From the comments section, looks like the article is a fraud. Nathan Lee – Urine powered generator? They’re taking the piss! I knew something was funny when they claimed that a bunch of teenage African girls invented […]

  16. on 11 Nov 2012 at 01:54Dan Keith

    The first thing I noticed was they are from Lagos Nigeria. Nigeria’s bigest money maker is scamming people via the internet.

    Second thing is the reporter was not very careful. To test if this thing really works it would be necessary to stay with it over a day or two and see if the process continues to work, because then you’d be able to tell if they needed to bring in a fresh gas tank, battery, etc. IE: is the device really running on urine or is it actually running on the car battery?

  17. […] is also a good deal of scientific debate and skepticism over whether this is a useful or effective electricity generator. The comment thread below that […]

  18. on 11 Nov 2012 at 02:34DOYEN

    Bravo,les filles,vous continuez l’étude déjà faite par l’université de Los Angeles,à l’origine sur l’urée où il suffit de 0,36 volts de tension entre plaques par rapport des 1,2 volts nécessité pour hydrolyser l’eau en hexohydrogène H2O2(gaz instable ,très difficilement et dangereusement compressible) implosif et unique au monde!produisant beaucoup plus de puissance que l’hydrogène pure(aucune donnée fiable actuellement comme la combustion et le soudage avec le gaz de Brown)N’utilisez plus les filtres,votre générateur devra être protégé et traité au téflon et céramique(bore exagonal) céramiquez d’abord puis téflonnez.Je me joins à des réalisations de 500 CV avec d’autres principes encore plus sur et simple comme bonjour!

  19. on 11 Nov 2012 at 03:27Alkhemist

    If this setup actually works I would consider building one.
    After studying the photos though… some observations.
    If the generator is electric start, the battery could be used to start the urea electrolysis, then starting the generator would continue it.
    I was thinking the inline filters that vent to the atmosphere might be the air intake and two in a row are for regulating the air to fuel ratio.

    But… what makes this whole thing questionable to me is the connections on the last filter (with the brown liquid) shown in the photo with the three young ladies.
    The tubing from the green tank to the filter is connected to a tee with tubing exiting the other side of the tee and connecting to the generator with the down leg of the tee entering the filter. This is a straight path from the green tank to the generator and seems to effectively remove the large filter and the two inline filters from the process.

  20. on 11 Nov 2012 at 05:01Michael Mandeville

    Hrmmmpf. The responses pose more confubalution than the purported invention. Such critical analysis without comprehension of the artifact. Reminds me of Doctors. I actually have built electrolysis units and experimented with them, plus I operated a brown’s gas generator made in China under license form Brown. What are described as filters are not really filtration devices, they are methods to prevent flashback of the ignition of hydrogen. This is a typical aqua gas (or brown’s gas) generator which emits the gases without separation. Flashback is a serious issue in such a device. The “gas bubblers” in this device are not very robust in my opinion but for very low pressure generation they may work well enough. The dangling valve is obviously a pressure release valve. Placing the exit tube in a bucket of water would work even better to isolate the system. I doubt any of those cheap plastic one-way valves work fast enough to cope with the flame propagation rate of hydrogen, which is viciously aggressive. Nevermind, the key issue is the chemistry of the urea in pee. Does urea react electrically with the electrodes of a lead acid battery (a badly used one it appears) to substantially reduce the resistance (thus the current required) involved in splitting water, thus providing a surplus of energy to run the generator AND the electrolysis. Real chemistry facts here allow a REAL critique of the proposed implement. Everything else is irrelevent. I have never thought about pissing into an empty battery shell so I can’t answer this question.

  21. […] it seems that at least one person has an ISSUE WITH URINE POWER, and points out what can be a few fallacies with the girls’ […]

  22. on 11 Nov 2012 at 23:19Ronen

    I agree that this case is probably a scam, but the idea that urine can be used to make energy (while investing substantially lower energy for the electrolysis needed for the the creation of hydrogen), was proved by Gerardine Botte of Ohio University in 2009. See here: http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/news/2009/july/02070902.asp

  23. […] got some debunkers working overtime. There’s a critique of the apparatus here, for example – but it seems to me to miss the point: there’s quite an abundance of hydrogen in […]

  24. on 13 Nov 2012 at 02:02James

    It’s been a while since I did any chemistry, but fortunately Wolfram Alpha’s there to help those of us who can no longer tell the difference between ammonia and amidogen. I may have made incorrect assumptions in my calculation so I’m very happy to be corrected by chemists or anyone who has experience in this area (and I’d appreciate knowing where I made the mistake if you could redo the calculation)

    Wolfram can calculate the amount of Hydrogen gas you’d get from a perfect extraction system (assuming any such perfect system can exist). It’s 312mg per litre of urine. Go to WolframAlpha.com and enter the query “amount of H2 in 9.3 grams of CO(NH2)2″

    According to Wikipedia’s page on Energy Density, 123 kilograms of hydrogen gas yields approximately 1 Megajoule of energy (or 0,28 Kilowatt-Hours of energy). For 312 milligrams, you’d get less than 38400 joules or 0,01075 kWH in ideal conditions (not in a modified petrol engine). So you could run a 20W energy efficient light for a little over a half an hour, or an average 1000W kettle for 38 seconds.

  25. […] are applauding the girls’ work, others have expressed skepticism of their contraption. On one science-minded blog, believers and not-so-believers are currently engaged in a lively and thorough deconstruction of […]

  26. on 13 Nov 2012 at 14:34Curt

    Since the H2 comes from the water in the piss, not the urea, the correct query is “amount of H2 in 1 liter of H2O” which gives 112 gms of H2 or about 360 times the previously calculated amount. So with a properly modified gas motor there is plenty of energy to satisfy the performance claims. The real question as one of the previous commentators mentioned is “will the electrolysis chemistry work”? As with any other “invention” the proof comes when others can duplicate their results. Or not.

  27. on 13 Nov 2012 at 16:00James

    Oh, of course there’s ample H2 in the water. Thanks Curt. I couldn’t see the wood for the trees!

  28. […] are applauding the girls’ work, others have expressed skepticism of their contraption. On one science-minded blog, believers and not-so-believers are currently engaged in a lively and thorough deconstruction of […]

  29. on 13 Nov 2012 at 18:48Nathan

    No one is denying you can split out hydrogen from urine – it’s that the idea that it can be self powered for a start and secondly run for 6 hours on a litre of urine.

    If you can get out more than you put in with this contraption – I’d be very, very surprised. So citing the amount of H2 in water is great – but you need a lot of energy to shake that loose – that’s always been the problem. Then you’ve got to transport and store it without it escaping.

    So urine it might be a better way to produce hydrogen from the same amount of energy (because the H2 splits off urea more easily than from water) – but that’s not what this is trying to do – it’s saying that you can power the thing enough to be self sustaining AND tap additional power to run other things too. If you had it hooked up to a solar cell or wind turbine – then it might be a good way to store up the energy for use at night (if it can work to pressurise the H2 into that tank) – but that’s relying on a lot of extra energy in the equation.

  30. on 13 Nov 2012 at 19:46James

    That’s why I was trying to get to some useful numbers in terms of Joules / kWh. I didn’t want to speculate by saying “surely it’s not enough to run the process of electrolysis or the spark plugs” I wanted to get to some numbers to check how much useful surplus could possibly be generated.

  31. on 13 Nov 2012 at 21:40Tony LEE

    Don’t laugh. Wasn’t it a famous premier of a northern state who was all ready to give barrows of money to a bloke claiming to be able to run a vehicle on water.

    If the green bottle was actually full of liquid propane (and the incoming pipe was just blanked off), I imagine the demo would look pretty authentic if they could crack the valve just enough to provide gas at low pressure into the intake of the generator..

    Regardless, these kids are now famous.

  32. on 15 Nov 2012 at 03:28Luke

    I seriously doubt that this thing could power itself, and I also doubt that that’s the point of it. You could run this thing all day on a solar cell, and by nightfall maybe it will have generated a tank full of useable hydrogen gas. But this is electrolysis, not splitting the atom. There’s no way to get more out than you put in, and the energy for the electrolysis would have to be supplied some other way.
    All that said, this is still a pretty cool invention by some really creative kids, and could conceivably be very useful.

  33. on 15 Nov 2012 at 10:04Ronen

    Hi… I think this issue can be closed. It was just a unserious high-school project, as it is written here: http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/futureoftech/african-girls-pee-powered-generator-raises-questions-1C6956099

  34. on 20 Nov 2012 at 13:29Len

    Look at the pics and tell me why I think it’s a scam.
    The water filter housings I am very familiar with. They are made by Ametek (now Pentek)
    1. The “T” tubes and inlet pipes on the water filer housings are connected to the holes for the mounting brackets for the filter housings. they go nowhere.
    2. The inlet (or outlet [couldn’t tell]) on the cylinder of Dupont R-22 freon is constructed of a pipe mounted on a piece of wood with packaging tape taped to the side.
    3. The breather on the water filter housing with bad tea, water and dirt is made of two fuel filters for a 1968 Ford F-150 that go… nowhere
    4. and lastly – The hose of the clear water filter unit is connected to a battery. Looks like to the electrode. Sure is not the vent (Where you’d expect there to be some hydrogen.)

  35. on 25 Nov 2012 at 10:38Billy

    What s H2?
    H is hydrogen, the 2 comes from the fact it takes 2 hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom to make water. All the talk about H2 this and H2 that, makes no sense at all.

    James: The wikipedia article on energy density says no such thing, so your follow on math is meaningless.

    I’m just as sceptical as the next guy, but lets try and keep the debunking based on reality and not BS.

  36. on 27 Nov 2012 at 01:06James

    Billy. H2 is hydrogen gas. Electrolysis produces hydrogen gas.

    The Wikipedia article on energy density says exactly what I claimed. I wrote “123 kilograms of hydrogen gas yields approximately 1 Megajoule of energy”. Take a look at this table (third line below the table heading): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_density#Energy_densities_of_common_energy_storage_materials

    But, like I was in the beginning, you are missing the main point; you can’t produce more energy as an output from this system because it takes energy to produce H2 (electrolysis) but the energy released by burning the H2 and fed back into the system will not be enough to make up for the energy spent in electrolysis. Again, just to clarify, I’m not making that up. You easily confirm that too on Wikipedia: “Water electrolysis does not convert 100% of the electrical energy into the chemical energy of hydrogen. The process requires more extreme potentials than what would be expected based on the cell’s total reversible reduction potentials” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrolysis_of_water#Efficiency

    I don’t think that the girls’ original claim was for a machine that could provide excess power, it’s more likely that the reporter misunderstood what the girls were saying (because the reporter isn’t likely to be trained in science – as is the case with 99% of all journalists). Scam? Probably no. But is it a practical energy source? Definitely not.

    Read the NBC news article above, three comments up.

  37. on 08 Dec 2012 at 16:38Emmanuel

    my thoughts – not a scam. hydrogen gas bubbles through the water to prevent backflash – definitely a cheap way to implement a safety feature. I don’t think the claim was perpetual motion, or more energy produced than used in electrolysis. I consider hydrogen to be a viable form of energy storage, especially when used with non-store-able, non-dispatchable generating resources (like wind power, which peaks at night, when electrical demand is lowest). Of course, for a demonstration unit at a conference that I traveled to, I would bring a battery, and not a wind turbine. hydrogen burns with no harmful emissions, produced clean water (from waste water in this example), and can be used as a means of energy storage. seems like a good proof-of-concept in my opinion!

  38. on 29 Dec 2012 at 00:59Adonia.com.br

    I found a link with a video… (translatet in german with some english between…:
    http://www.focus.de/panorama/videos/energiequelle-urin-schulmaedchen-in-nigeria-erfinden-den-uringenerator_vid_34459.html

  39. on 29 Dec 2012 at 01:33Adonia.com.br
  40. on 29 Dec 2012 at 02:45Adonia.com.br
  41. on 25 Jan 2013 at 14:39veeguy

    There is absolutely NO QUESTION this device is totally bogus. The “one way valves” are inline fuel filters, the arrow indicates flow direction, not one way valve orientation. The propane/freon tank is not even sealed to the polyethlene tubing. The energy cell appears to be a broken battery case.

    The generator shown is a manual start unit aprox. 4000 watts. I have the same unit. The 4 gallon gasoline tank will run the generator for 4 hours at 50% power (~2000 watts) There is no way a quart of gasoline, let alone electrolyzed urine would run it for more than seconds, if at all.

    There would be nearly NO PRESSURE developed to “store hydrogen” in the pressure tank, let alone a pressure regulator to drop the stored pressure back down to 4″ – 6″ water column pressure needed to feed the engine. In addition, low pressure gas needs large pipes of tubing to supply enough volume to run an engine. There is NO WAY the 1/4″ or 3/8″ poly tubling could carry enough 6″ water column pressure hydrogen to allow the engine to run beyond a burp before starving for fuel gas.

    The “expert” who runs Brown gas generators (yea, right) is so far off the mark it is humorous to read his ramblings. So too is the other “expert” who would mix oxygen with the hydrogen before introducing it to the carburetor/mixer is also quite whacked.

    The plastic filter housings do nothing, perhaps if they had dip tubes on the intake, they would do extremely rudimentary filtering, but not to hardly any effect. The author of the original article is correct in that a hallmark of whacko devices is to hang parts off it to attempt to baffle us with BS. The whole idea looks to be the invention of two middle school girls who haven’t thought out their science project very well. Oh wait, that IS what it is!

    That the “Browns gas” true believers out there try their best with half facts and poorly conducted experiments in an effort to not appear quite as stupid as they truly are.

    This is so stupid in so many ways that anyone looking at it without bursting out laughing is an idiot.

  42. on 20 Feb 2013 at 05:00emily

    The link to the interview posted previously has the answer. In the interview, the girls say, “We have a regular problem of fuel scarcity and epileptic power supply in Nigeria. Nigerians have sought for alternatives using generators but these generators are mainly carbon and fuel based. And fuel is expensive due to the hike in price. There are also many cases of Carbon Monoxide poisoning in our homes so we began to think of what could be done to reduce the death rate from Carbon Monoxide poisoning and also provide cheap alternatives for fueling our generators. We’ve been taught in Chemistry that all waste materials contain energy, so we thought of using this energy to power our generators. We thought of urine, did some research and found that it had hydrogen and oxygen molecules. We also found out that the exhaust of urine is water vapour which is not poisonous. So we opted for urine.”

    So if you have an intermittent power supply, you can electrolyze the urine when you have power, and not kill yourself with CO when you burn it later. These girls were solving a problem that was relevant to them and their community. They rock!

  43. on 14 Sep 2013 at 06:39Wrong, Emily

    The girls didn’t solve ANYTHING, because their contraption CAN NOT WORK.
    Stop praising these people for creating a hoax.

  44. […] any merits of this device actually stem from the implementation of the urine itself.  Going by the arguments of one speculator, it would seem the concept of energy derived by biological excrement of the […]

  45. […] Another observer, Nathan Lee (no relation whatsoever) went even further, and with an energy typical of many of the blogs that have strived to brush off the students’ thoughtful work, gave a full-page account of why this was really nothing more than a “quack gadget” and little more than a “bong [fashioned] out of an Orchy bottle.” He did add, however, that he would be “happy to be proved wrong and we can finally harness the [guys] who piss in the street and the urinal at the pub could run the lights. Anyone else got any thoughts?” […]

  46. on 09 Apr 2014 at 18:28anon

    this is the most ridiculous ”analysis” I have read. you clearly dont know what type of instruments used so how can you know whether its successful or not?

  47. on 13 Apr 2014 at 04:10veeguy

    Some of us use our native intelligence and analytical thinking processes to filter scientifically lacking articles to determine the truth. Obviously you do not…

  48. […] blog are applauding the girls’ work, others have expressed skepticism of their contraption. On one science-minded blog, believers and not-so-believers are currently engaged in a lively and thorough deconstruction of […]

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