DTU Students Create Toilet Mini Generator and Urine Battery

Creating a compact electric generator using the water power of household supply systems and a battery which generates electricity from urine, two DTU students won the 2017 Go Green City Champions Cup, Green Solutions for the City at the National finals in HCMC. The event was organized by the global energy management and automation company, Schneider Electric.
Ông Yoon Young Kim (th? 2 t? ph?i sang), Ch? t?ch Schneider Electric Vi?t Nam trao gi?i Vô d?ch Go Green in the City 2017 cho d?i SV Duy Tân. ?nh: Q.L
Schneider Electric Vietnam Chairman Mr. Yoon Young Kim, second from right, awards the Champion’s Cup to DTU. Photo taken by Q.L

From an experimental project…

Danang has many public toilets which in the daytime flush away large quantities of water. At night however, many of them have no lights, causing difficulties to the public. Nguyen Cong Tin of K18 EVT in the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Nguyen Thi Thanh of K21 UIU visited public toilets and households to study the daily wastewater discharge. Their results showed that, on average, public toilets use 8 to 9 m³ per month, while households of four or more use between 12 m³ and 15 m³ per month. With these quantities, they determined that the water could be used to generate power, which is how the product evolved.

Now that the project has been approved and funded by the DTU Board of Provosts, Nguyen Cong Tin and Nguyen Thi Thanh have spent the last four months researching their project, with the advice of DTU lecturers, in order to begin the manufacture of their product as an environmentally-friendly source of electricity.

Nguyen Thi Thanh explained that, when they first started working, the main difficulty was to clearly define their idea and to test its effectiveness in practice. The group members came up with a great many approaches and decided to simulate models of mini generators fitted to toilet seats. In addition, they had to create a working model and prepare presentations in English. Their time was restricted because exams were coming up and they had to work late frequently.
Nguyen Cong Tin also explained that, for efficiency, they needed to construct two devices, the mini generator and the urine battery.  Their idea was to insert a rotor with a motor in the water pipes, so that the water would turn the rotor and generate electricity. The device can be fitted to any water pipe, tap or sink and implemented widely, not just in public toilets. The battery uses urine to generate power, in the same way as chemical batteries, except that it can be used immediately and continuously.  As public toilets are in continuous use, the urine will be readily available, the battery will never run out and the system can be used for lighting public toilets. The resulting cost is much lower than using solar energy or other sources of power.

…to winning the contest

Nguyen Cong Tin and Nguyen Thi Thanh beat six other leading projects from forty universities nationwide to win the finals and become the 2017 Go Green in the City champions. 

Nguyen Cong Tin said: “Our first feeling was one of utter surprise, because all the projects in the final round were so good. Then I felt very happy that our idea had been recognized and appreciated. Go Green in the City has given us a chance to see the economization of energy from a completely new perspective.”

In addition to a prize of 20 million dong, the DTU champions are to become the only Schneider Electric Vietnam representatives to compete with other teams from East Asian countries in July 2017 for a ticket to the worldwide finals in Paris, France. This is the second time DTU has competed in this contest and come first. In 2016, DTU was the national champion and East Asian runner-up in Go Green City with the project “Eco-Friendly Shrimp Farming with Zero Water Replacement”.

Dr. Le Nguyen Bao, DTU Vice-Provost, said: “In recent years, DTU students have actively taken part in many national and international contests, with very good results. Their achievement in this international contest once again shows the high quality of teaching and research, based on international benchmarks at DTU. ”

(Media Center)

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