Why let your waste go to waste when it could be powering your mobile phone – or even your car?
IT IS a bright spring morning here at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, UK, where I have come to meet my interviewee for this article, Shanwen Tao. Normally when I interview someone, I give them a business card and maybe the latest issue of New Scientist. Today, I give Tao a bottle of my own pee.
Urine might not pack the punch of rocket fuel, but what it lacks in energy density it makes up for in sheer quantity. It is one of the most abundant waste materials on Earth, with nearly 7 billion people producing roughly 10 billion litres of it every day. Add animals into the mix and this quantity is multiplied several times over.
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