I've discussed in the past the utility of urine in providing nitrogen to plants and even hosted a challenge for those who wanted to try it out (all the gory details of using your urine as a fertilizer are on the challenge page).
Well, it turns out that the hydrogen content of urine could save our hides. Research done at Ohio University has concluded that urine-powered cars, homes and personal electronic devices could be available in six months with new technology developed by scientists there.
From the article on Organic Consumers Association's website:
Using a nickel-based electrode, the scientists can create large amounts of cheap hydrogen from urine that could be burned or used in fuel cells. "One cow can provide enough energy to supply hot water for 19 houses," said Gerardine Botte, a professor at Ohio University developing the technology. "Soldiers in the field could carry their own fuel."
Pee power is based on hydrogen, the most common element in the universe but one that has resisted efforts to produce, store, transport and use economically...
One molecule of urea, a major component of urine, contains four atoms of hydrogen bonded to two atoms of nitrogen. Stick a special nickel electrode into a pool of urine, apply an electrical current, and hydrogen gas is released.
Indeed. In fact, a pee-powered vehicle could theoretically travel 90 miles per gallon. And, apparently, converting pee to hydrogen takes only 3% of the energy than converting water does. Now, that's something I can get behind. Or whatever the proper preposition is here.
But don't start stocking up now. Initially, urine collected from farms would provide the right scale for mass production. Then again, who knows, maybe you'll be seeing home urinefuel processing kits sooner rather than later.
Check out the article for more details.