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Energy

Could Urine Be Australia’s Next Renewable Source Of Energy?

Advancements in technology have seen energy produced in all sorts of ways including through wind and solar, but did you know there are other ways for us to produce energy?

Energy is responsible for keeping our lights on, charging our everyday appliances and devices through electricity poles and wires and for some Australians, through rooftop solar panels. 

While there are the obvious methods of generating energy such as through a coal fired power station, wind and solar, did you know there are other, weirder and undoubtedly more interesting methods of generating energy. 

One of the more interesting methods is via water tunnels which we call hydroelectric systems. This method occurs when water flows downhill through pipes and tunnels, turning a generator and converting the gravitational pull into mechanical and electrical energy. 

Surprisingly, this method of energy generation accounts for seven percent of Australia’s energy consumption. 

If you think that’s interesting, researchers are currently working on using trains to generate energy. Experts believe by replacing the sleepers on a railroad (the wooden slats that sit between the metal tracks) with a high-tech version which can harvest the energy from the trains, they may be able to store this energy in a battery. 

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But wait – it gets more interesting. A team of ambitious engineers believe they may have figured out how to generate energy from urine. 

“The electricity is generated from what’s called a microbial fuel cell,” Cosmos Magazine journalist Petra Stock said. 

It’s an electrical circuit powered by living microbes feeding on the waste.

Cosmos Magazine Journalist Petra Stock

“As bacteria dig in on one side of the system, they convert chemical energy into usable electrical energy, giving off electrons which flow into the clean compartment.”

Cosmos Magazine journalist Petra Stock explains in simpler terms how scientists are using urine to generate energy, who is already using this form of energy and why it could be Australia’s newest form of renewable energy. 

Tune into the full chat below…

Huh? Science Explained is here, the twice-weekly podcast brought to you byLiSTNRand Cosmos.