If Elon Musk had to go to the bathroom on Mars, that would probably be the best choice. The „Lunar Lander“ is a toilet in the form of a space shuttle, which generates electricity from urine. The unusual concept was designed by the Viennese design agency Eoos for the showroom of sanitary ware manufacturer Laufen in Vienna. Laufen produces the ceramic cylinder for the fuel cells that generate the electricity.
Bristol Robotics Lab developed Pee Power
Lunar Lander is unfortunately only a design concept, but the technology Pee Power is actually in use. It was developed at the University of West England at the Bristol Robotics Lab. The process pre-cleans the wastewater and removes dangerous patogens. An assembly consists of 22 fuel cells, each consisting of a ceramic cylinder and two carbon electrodes and are lapped by urine.
Microorganisms break down electrons in the urine. The generated electricity is stored by an electronic circuit in a battery. From the 22 fuel cells enough energy can be obtained that an LED lamp (8 watts = 60w light bulb) can glow for about 30 minutes. It is also conceivable to charge smaller electronic devices.
Bill & Melinda Gates program
Pee Power has been part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s „Reinvent the Toilet“ program and is already in action – for example in a school in Uganda, where the toilet system provides itself with light all night long. The technology is also practical for festivals and refugee camps.