Mexican engineer extracts gas from urine to heat shower

Mexican engineer Gabriel Luna-Sandoval has invented a machine that he said can transform urine into a biogas to serve as a house
Mexican engineer Gabriel Luna-Sandoval has invented a machine that he said can transform urine into a biogas to serve as a household heater to take hot showers or cook

Mexican engineer Gabriel Luna-Sandoval was urinating one day when he realized that the yellow liquid could be of "vital" use elsewhere.

Nine years later, he invented a machine that he said can transform into a to serve as a household heater to take hot showers or cook.

But the 41-year-old researcher from the University of Sonora State, in northern Mexico, is also shooting for the stars with his .

Luna-Sandoval has extracted oxygen from urine, and he said that astronauts could take a small device in space to create O2 with their own bodily fluid in case of emergencies.

He's not just—to say it cleanly—urinating in the wind.

The idea has been taken seriously by the Mexican Space Agency, which told AFP in a statement that it is a "great innovation" with "high viability to be considered in space technology and for space walks."

No stench

But the first application for his invention would be more terrestrial.

Instead of using liquefied petroleum gas, which is widespread in Mexican homes but contributes to climate change, people could have a special container to transform their urine into a biogas.

The mechanical engineer created a clear acrylic container, which looks like a square vase, in which urine is poured.

Mechanical engineer Gabriel Luna-Sandoval created a clear acrylic container, which looks like a square vase, in which urine is p
Mechanical engineer Gabriel Luna-Sandoval created a clear acrylic container, which looks like a square vase, in which urine is poured

His prototype, which measures about 20-square-centimeters, has stainless steel electrodes to send electricity into it in order to separate oxygen and hydrogen, with the latter becoming a biogas.

The container would be connected to a home's pipes through which the biogas would travel to heat the water in the kitchen and bathrooms.

Families wouldn't have to worry about their food or showers having the stench of urine: The biogas has no smell.

A tight seal also ensures that the smell of urine doesn't escape the container, though cleaning it would entail having to withstand the smell.

When nature calls, a man could fill the container by using a special urinal with a tube linked to the machine, Luna-Sandoval said. It would be more complicated for a woman, who would have to urinate into a container and then pour the content into the cube.

'Not absurd'

Luna-Sandoval recalled the day he got the idea, when he realized that the "vital liquid" could be used for science.

At the time, he thought about colleagues who were doing urine therapy, the practice of drinking one's own urine in the belief that it can cure ailments.

"Between jokes, they told me that it's salty," he said, and that made him realize that urine was an electrolyte.

The invention requires just 13 to 21 milliliters of urine for a 15-minute hot shower. Cooking beans for one hour demands only 70
The invention requires just 13 to 21 milliliters of urine for a 15-minute hot shower. Cooking beans for one hour demands only 70 to 130 milliliters of the golden liquid
"How much urine goes to waste?" he wondered.

An adult produces 1.4 liters of urine per day, or 25,550 liters in the span of 50 years.

His invention requires just 13 to 21 milliliters of urine for a 15-minute hot shower, he said. Cooking beans for one hour demands only 70 to 130 milliliters of the golden liquid.

The container, which is patented, can be filled with an adult's urine in the morning.

He's looking at other uses. The hydrogen that is created in the could be used for engines with internal combustion and he will test it on small electricity generators.

His invention caught the attention of the governmental National Science and Technology Council, which featured Luna-Sandoval in an article for its official publication.

Ulises Cano, a member of the National Researchers System of Mexico, said Luna-Sandoval's invention "is not absurd."

While Cano did not review the invention, the electrochemistry expert said it is "technically viable, but you would have to look at its economic viability."


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© 2016 AFP

Citation: Mexican engineer extracts gas from urine to heat shower (2016, June 9) retrieved 27 May 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-06-mexican-gas-urine-shower.html
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Jun 09, 2016
What's the difference between using urine and salt water then? Why is urine better? Mexico is also bordered by seawater on two sides. Why not use that instead?

Jun 09, 2016
His invention requires just 13 to 21 milliliters of urine for a 15-minute hot shower, he said. Cooking beans for one hour demands only 70 to 130 milliliters of the golden liquid.


Early in the article it mentions "biogas" and later it just says "hydrogen". What is different about Urine that makes it any more useful than plain water? Where is the energy gain when electricity is used to produce Hydrogen?

Jun 09, 2016
His invention requires just 13 to 21 milliliters of urine for a 15-minute hot shower


No way is there enough energy in urine to power a hot shower for 15 minutes.

Absolutely no way. Nada, zilch, nyet.

It would put the urine on par with nuclear bombs in energy density.

The urea is being used as a convenient expendable electrolyte in a perfectly normal electrolytic cell, which uses electricity from the grid to produce hydrogen, which is then used to heat water or cook like regular LPG - except being hydrogen it's much more dangeours to use.

Jun 09, 2016
So, he uses electricity to extract hydrogen and oxygen, so that he can then burn hydrogen and oxygen back into H2O? Wouldn't directly using electric power for heating be more efficient?

Jun 09, 2016
For example, suppose your shower puts out 10 liters per minute. That's 150 liters for 15 minutes.

Heating 150 liters from 15 C from the ground temperature to a comfortable 37 C at the shower takes 14 MJ of energy, or approximately a pint of gasoline.

So unless you pee super-concentrated gasoline, your urine will not heat up your shower.

Wouldn't directly using electric power for heating be more efficient?


Yes it would, and using a heat pump with electricity would be even more effective. The whole thing is either a mistranslation or a complete misunderstanding on the part of the reporters, or a scam.

Jun 09, 2016
As inventions go, I can conclusively say, this one is piss-poor.

Jun 09, 2016
As inventions go, I can conclusively say, this one is piss-poor.
A-G

Actually, it does make sense, even if unappetizing...LOL

As for the female contribution to the urine supply, in many back-packing supply stores such as Eastern Mountain Sports, there are plastic cups with an outlet for urine to pass through for female use. The cups are specially made to conform to the female labial area so that the urine flows directly into the cup and out through the special opening that somewhat resembles a short penis.
I bought one for my wife so that she can use it on our trips to the lake where she doesn't have to pull down her hiking shorts or long pants in order to relieve herself. After her initial shock, she decided to try it and pronounced a great device. It can be done while standing.
I've heard that some women would not use the cup and might prefer to squat to urinate. That would be unacceptable for the purpose of collecting urine, unless the female is very careful.

Jun 09, 2016
So, he uses electricity to extract hydrogen and oxygen, so that he can then burn hydrogen and oxygen back into H2O? Wouldn't directly using electric power for heating be more efficient?

- JongDan
Or how about using a small solar panel to concentrate free sunlight to separate and extract the gases?

Jun 09, 2016
What's the difference between using urine and salt water then? Why is urine better? Mexico is also bordered by seawater on two sides. Why not use that instead?
- Gigel
Because urine is created several times a day by all mammalian life forms. Why let that urine go to waste where it will eventually wind up in the oceans. contributing to its acidity?

Jun 09, 2016
"Instead of using liquefied petroleum gas, which is widespread in Mexican homes but contributes to climate change, people could have a special container to transform their urine into a biogas."

Somebody pinch me. Hillary just told Trump to delete his account on Twitter. That's two things in one day I've read that completely beggars belief

Jun 10, 2016
I bought one for my wife so that she can use it on our trips to the lake where she doesn't have to pull down her hiking shorts or long pants in order to relieve herself. After her initial shock, she decided to try it and pronounced a great device. It can be done while standing
Sure you did pussytard. Much more plausible that you bought it for use by yourself, to reduce trips from couch to toilet as I'm assuming this requires great effort on your part.

You're so transparent, much like the heads of 900 ft tall martians to be found in NASA photos by those who know what they're looking for.

Jun 10, 2016
Why let that urine go to waste where it will eventually wind up in the oceans. contributing to its acidity?
-Yes because as we know urine deposited on land does not decompose as it soaks into the soil or into pussytards catbox and thus remains urinated during its long trip toward the sea.

But then most mammals take the time to hold it until they can get to the ocean. As we all know.

Because mammals are a very polite and decent genus you see.

Er clade?

Jun 11, 2016
The pseudo penis device could ease the problem that is worrying everyone in America at the moment the need to provide additional "bathrooms" for males that think they are female and females that think they are male.

Jun 11, 2016
The pseudo penis device could ease the problem that is worrying everyone in America at the moment the need to provide additional "bathrooms" for males that think they are female and females that think they are male.
- Gino
LOL it's made of plastic but it isn't flexible enough to put into a woman's purse, but it fits into a backpack. My wife has a good sized backpack for when we're hiking in the mountains or around the lake. I bought it for her so that she wouldn't have to expose her butt in case other hikers happened to be nearby.
I get to carry the cooking supplies in my backpack, plus the tent & groundcloth, etc.

But there was an article, I think it was in Physorg some time ago...that caffeine was found in a stream or river that runs into the ocean somewhere out West. Maybe Cali, Wash State or Oregon - I don't remember. But it said that the caffeine that was in the water came from houses nearby. I probably leached into the groundwater from septic tanks.

Jun 11, 2016
If Hillary becomes POTUS, it will be against the law to prevent transgenders from using whichever toilet they decide to go into. I'm not sure about Bernie Sanders - HE might be less of a Liberal wrt tranny toilet invasions.
As for myself, if a woman who thinks she's a man goes into the mens' toilet while I'm standing in front of the urinal doing my business, she can stand there watching me all she wants - I won't mind. LOL

Jun 11, 2016
@Gino
OK here is the article that I read about caffeine going into the ocean.

http://io9.gizmod...l-waters

AND

http://www.foodbe...terally/

AND

http://news.natio...science/

Jun 12, 2016
I probably leached into the groundwater from septic tanks.


Or people throwing used up coffee grounds in the compost, and runoff from landfills etc.

Urine however is not a major component for ocean acidification, or even of the local waterways. Urea gets eaten by microbes.

Jun 12, 2016
But there was an article, I think it was in Physorg some time ago...that caffeine was found in a stream or river that runs into the ocean somewhere out West. Maybe Cali, Wash State or Oregon - I don't remember. But it said that the caffeine that was in the water came from houses nearby. I probably leached into the groundwater from septic tanks
But caffeine is not a primary constituent of urine pussytard.

Does wearing a lab coat help you pretend to be a scientist while you post? Or do you just pretend your moomoo is a lab coat?

Jun 15, 2016
I probably leached into the groundwater from septic tanks.


Or people throwing used up coffee grounds in the compost, and runoff from landfills etc.

Urine however is not a major component for ocean acidification, or even of the local waterways. Urea gets eaten by microbes.
- Eikka
This is specifically about HUMAN urine. I NEVER said that human urine is a major (or primary) component for ocean acidification. Human urine is found in septic tanks and sewers, which urine is almost exclusively flushed into. The caffeine may or may not affect ocean wildlife adversely.
Urea is not the problem, it is the caffeine that is the issue with regard to ocean acidification in the general areas where the caffeine gets into ocean water.
There is a difference between human urine and caffeine. As you said, urea is consumed by microbes. But it is caffeine that is contaminating the oceans and harbors, not urea.

Jun 15, 2016
But caffeine is not a primary constituent of urine cuz my mama's pussy smells like dead fish.

Does wearing a lab coat help you pretend to be a scientist while you post? Or do you just pretend your moomoo is a lab coat?
- Theghostofotto
You are lying again, Otto. I never said that caffeine is a primary constituent of urine.

HEY OTTO, you STILL didn't provide any evidence that I, or anyone else but YOU claimed belief in 900 FOOT GLASSY HEADED MARTIANS (LAYING DOWN) ON MARS. WHERE IS YOUR EVIDENCE WITH THE CORRECT LINK, STUPID? AND EXCERPTS ARE UNACCEPTABLE AS PROOF. WE ALL WANT TO SEE YOUR PROOF!!

NOW GO FIND IT!! OTHERWISE, STFU

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