We each produce 2.5 litres of the stuff a day and a total of 6.4 trillion liters globally, but until now it has been widely regarded as a rather unpleasant waste product.
However, a team of UK scientists reckon they may have found an extremely useful application for urine by turning it into electricity.
Dr Ioannis Ieropoulos and his team of scientists at the University of the West of England, Bristol, published research investigating whether urine could be used in microbial fuel cells.
The paper concludes that urine is rich in chemicals that can effectively be used in the cathode half of a fuel cell to react with bacteria in the anode.
The initial tests confirmed that urine-powered fuel cells are technically feasible, and the team now hopes to scale up a prototype system capable of powering homes, businesses or even a small village.
It’s not quite as miraculous as turning water into wine, but turning urine into electricity is equally unexpected. Perhaps even more unexpected was the testing ground for this rather unusual concept: Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Due to a shortage of public restrooms, the festival’s revelers often resort to relieving themselves in public just like in Nigeria. A press release from J. Walter Thompson Brazil notes that, “the stench is impregnated through the city for days,” and the situation is so bad that the city has invested heavily in an awareness campaign.