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06-28-2015, 09:27 PM
There’s nothing like young minds unfettered by the process of trying to get an idea through corporate approval for rising to a challenge. Remember the four students from Doregos Private Academy in Lagos who achieved fame last year for their urine-powered generators? Apparently the idea hasn’t quite caught on yet because the generators create a rather unpleasant smell (quelle surprise…). At least that’s what we’re told by contemporaries from the same college who have been in Los Angeles this week with another idea for generating cheap electricity which they showed off at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
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Opeyemi Belo and Kpakpando Akaeze have taken a similar generator to the one which was converted to run on urine and re-engineered it for a more conventional – but almost equally abundant – pair of alternative power sources: discarded motor oil or ionised water.

The generator is modified to include a catalytic cracking chamber which stores the oil or water. It’s fired up with petrol for five minutes, in order to produce energy for heating the catalytic chamber up and starting a reaction via electrolysis. Once the reaction is underway, hydrogen or propane is released from the chamber and used to fuel the generator – waste heat from the generator keeps the reaction going.

According to the pair, just over a litre of ionised water can keep the generator running for six hours, compared to seven and a half litres of petrol. Carbon emissions are also reduced from just under 2 000ppm to 2.2ppm parts using ionised water, and 524ppm for used motor oil. Ionising the water is a simple and cheap process, the boys say, as they simply need to add a sodium sulphate salt.

Apparently, it was the smell of the urine generator that led the boys to seek alternative fuels with similar properties which would also produce hydrogen under electrolysis.

Sadly, Belo and Akaeze couldn’t bring the generator with them to LA – we’re going to follow up for more details, and hopefully to see the miracle generator in action. There’s obvious questions around its safety and sustainability that need to be asked – after all, it’s impossible to get more energy out of the electrolytic engine than is put in – but it’s a promising project all the same and fantastic to see these kids innovating with it.

http://www.htxt.co.za/2014/05/19/video-intel-isef-free-electricity-from-discarded-motor-oil/

http://www.vanguardngr.com/2013/02/research-devt-four-nigerian-students-generate-electricity-from-urine/