Who says teenage girls don’t like science? Four entrepreneurial Nigerian teenagers have demolished the oft-quoted stereotype by inventing an electricity generator powered by urine.
Although Nigeria’s economy is on the rise, more than half of the country’s 162 million citizens have no access to electricity, and even those who do can’t guarantee having power every day.
The federal Government was urged to privatise the body that supplies electricity and refurbish and improve generation equipment. However four teenagers just couldn’t wait, and have found their own solution – using a resource that is free, unlimited, easily obtainable, and does not depend on the Government. Fourteen-year-olds Duro-Aina Adebola, Akindele Abiola, Faleke Oluwatoyin, and 15-year-old Bello Eniola presented their invention at the Maker Faire Africa entrepreneurs event, in Lagos, southern Nigeria on 5 and 6 November.
Sharing ideas: the Lagos event aimed to promote practical innovation
According to the Maker Faire blog, urine is put into an electrolytic cell, which cracks the urea into nitrogen, water, and hydrogen. The hydrogen goes into a water filter for purification, which then gets pushed into the gas cylinder. The gas cylinder pushes hydrogen into a cylinder of liquid borax, which is used to remove the moisture from the hydrogen gas. This purified hydrogen gas is pushed into the generator, and one litre of urine provides six hours of electricity.
Co-founder of the two-day event, Erik Hersman, said the event showcased practical innovation.The Maker Faire blog described the generator as ‘possibly one of the more unexpected products’ at the event. While the system does have one-way valves for safety, more robust measures may be needed before it can be sold widely.