UK scientists are claiming a world first in developing a way to charge mobile phones using human urine.
The Bristol-based boffins have been able to charge a Samsung phone by putting urine through a cascade of microbial fuel cells, PA reports
They have generated enough electricity to send text messages, browse the internet and make a brief phone call and plan to develop the technology to be able to fully charge the device.
The discovery has been made by a team of experts working at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, which is a collaboration between the University of the West of England and the University of Bristol.
Dr Ioannis Ieropoulos, from the University of the West of England, is an expert at harnessing power from unusual sources using microbial fuel cells.
"The beauty of this fuel source is that we are not relying on the erratic nature of the wind or the sun, we are actually re-using waste to create energy.
"Using the ultimate waste product as a source of power to produce electricity is about as eco as it gets.," he says.
Dr Ieropoulos said the microbial fuel power stack the team developed generates enough power to enable SMS messaging, web browsing and to make a brief phone call.
"Making a call on a mobile phone takes up the most energy but we will get to the place where we can charge a battery for longer periods."
The microbial fuel cells is an energy converter, which turns organic matter directly into electricity, via the metabolism of live microorganisms.
Essentially, the electricity is a by-product of the microbes' natural life cycle, so the more they consume things like urine, the more energy they generate and for longer periods of time.
The electricity output from microbial fuel cells is relatively small and so far the Bristol scientists have only been able to store and accumulate these low levels of energy into capacitors or super-capacitors, for short charge or discharge cycles.
The project has been funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Gates Foundation and the Technology Strategy Board.