Video Quick Bit: Power Harvesting Hacks

Majenta Strongheart is back again, this time taking a look at some of the coolest power harvesting projects in this year’s Hackaday Prize.

The entire idea of the Power Harvesting Challenge is to get usable power from something, be it solar energy, a rushing waterfall, or fueling steam turbines with hamsters. [Cole B] decided that instead of capturing energy from one of these power sources, he’d do it all. He created Power Generation Modules, or Lego bricks for harvesting power. There’s a hand crank module, a water turbine module, and enough modules to do something with all that captured power like a light module and a USB charger module.

But maybe you don’t want to generate power the normal way. Maybe you think spinning magnets is too mainstream, or something. If that’s the case, then [Josh] has the project for you. It’s the P Cell, a battery fueled by urine. Yes, it’s just a simple copper zinc wet cell using urea as an electrolyte, but remember: in the early 1800s, human urine was a major source of nitrates used in the manufacture of gunpowder. Why not get some electricity from something that is just sent down the tubes?

Right now we’re in the middle of the Human Computer Interface Challenge. Show us that you have what it takes to get a computer to talk to a human, get a human to talk to a computer, or even recreate one of those weird 3D CAD mice from the early 90s. We’re looking for any interesting ways to bridge that valley between people and their devices. Twenty Human Computer Interface Challenge submissions will be selected to move onto the finals and win $1000 in the process! The five top entries of the 2018 Hackaday Prize will split $100,000!

5 thoughts on “Video Quick Bit: Power Harvesting Hacks

  1. “Why not get some electricity from something that is just sent down the tubes?” Because it is far more valuable as a plant fertilizer? The energy avoided by not creating urea from natural gas vastly offsets the tiny benefit from using it as an electrolyte.

  2. “It’s the P Cell, a battery fueled by urine.” No it’s fueled by reduced zinc and copper, the urine is as useless an electrolyte as you could possible get for this chemistry. All the electricity comes from the refined metals, there is absolutely no energy supplied by the urine it just barely enables enough corrosion to get a voltage potential. There is probably microamps of short circuit current produced by those two wires. Why is this so hard to understand?

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