30 Aug 2009

Cow's urine: threat to Pepsi or fuel of the future?

India's Hindu nationalist movement has plans for a new soft drink made from cow urine - you can read more in The Times here - but I was also intersted to see that scientists at Ohio University have stumbled on a major breakthrough that allegedly could be the key to bringing hydrogen fuel cells into wide-spread use.

Scientists discovered that placing a nickel-based electrode in a pool of urine and applying a small electrical current produces hydrogen gas. "One cow can provide enough energy to supply hot water for 19 houses," Ohio University professor Gerardine Botte said of the discovery. The scientists are hoping to make commercial version of the technology available by next year. See more here. Is this serious??!!!

One book that sits in my bookcase is entitled 'Liquid Gold: The Lore and Logic of Using Urine to Grow Plants' (see this link for more info) - it tells you how urine—which contains most of the nutrients in domestic wastewater and usually carries no disease risk—can be utilized as a resource in the garden. Well worth a look if you haven't already seen this stuff.

Lastly on this topic, Umbra at Grist discuss whether peeing in the shower does save water - see here and their video here - it seems that there is now even an ad in Brazil encouraging it.

1 comment:

Dorothea said...

How long before gau jal becomes available in new age health stores here? Price it around a few quid for 200ml and they'll lap it up in Islington and Glasto.

I have not forgotten a morning spent painting the earthen kitchen with an auspicious and cleansing cow dung mixture that I was given in one alternative Indian enclave. It does actually look quite beautiful when it's dried and all the particles of grass gleam golden in the sun. How healthy it actually is in our western scientific frame I leave you to decide.

In the eye of the beholder.